View

If I were more like my mother, I’d know what to do 
with all these ends — chicken bones, tomato stems, 
the inner ribs of peppers. Another thing for the list of things 

I’ll ignore until I can’t: spiderwebs just out of reach, 
the puddles beneath the fridge. Honestly, I don’t 
remember much about her cancer. It happened 

in a different room it was happening so fast.
Last night, in a fit of genius, we nailed the doorstop
to the floor. Now I can see almost everything: 

the triplets in the garden, the women smoking 
on their steps, a collection of silver cans.
The windows of the funeral home on the corner 

are papered over — crosswords and the tabloid ads
for local naked ladies. Where I grew up, the major roads
are lined with these invitations. Trucks 

shudder to a stop. The pawn shops are always open.
The ghost town only miles away has smouldered
for sixty years — fire caught a vein of coal 

and no one can put it out. Here,
I watch the city trains emerge
from underground. We brace against 

the frequency — they pass at different speeds.
You’re going somewhere, aren’t you? The pavement
winks like a lesson, and the mattress they pushed 

from the neighbour’s house when she died
is still on the kerb — folded, holding its
ankles, flashing the whole wide street. 


by Michaela Coplen


Listen to Michaela read ‘View’


We’re excited this week to share the first of two poems from new pamphlets published by our own ignitionpress. This week we feature work by Michaela Coplen from her pamphlet Finishing School, which we’ll be launching alongside Kitchen Boombox by Jacob Anthony Ramírez. Join us online on Saturday 16 July or in person at our London launch on Tuesday 19 July to hear from these wonderful collections! We’re delighted to say that the London event, which will be taking place at the Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury, will also include readings from three other ignitionpress poets: Fathima Zahra, Katie Byford, and Joanna Ingham. Both the online and in-person events are free to attend, and we hope to see you there!

‘View’ is copyright © Michaela Coplen, 2022, and is reprinted here from Finishing School (ignitionpress, 2022).

From the first poem in Michaela Coplen’s pamphlet, ‘the mind begins this squeaking’ — an urgent impulse that never stops. Finishing School charts a young woman’s growth through an abecedarian form, each poem a letter of the alphabet that marks a different stage of learning. Encountering ‘lessons’ ranging from childhood dress-up games, to instances of intimacy, academic interviews, and funeral planning, the subject navigates an education in womanhood and power — developing her own understandings of vulnerability, ambition, escape. You can find out more about the pamphlet and buy a copy (available later this week!) on our website.

Michaela Coplen is a poet and doctoral candidate at the University of Oxford. She earned her BA from Vassar College, where she served as a poetry editor for the Vassar Review. She was appointed a National Student Poet by First Lady Michelle Obama, and has performed her poetry in venues including Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center, and the White House.

In 2018, Michaela was awarded a Marshall Scholarship for graduate study in the UK. She completed her MPhil in International Relations at the University of Oxford in 2020, and has continued her studies as a DPhil candidate. Her poems have been published online with The Atlantic and Poets.org as well as in the Bellevue Literary Review and in The Oxonian Review. She won the 2019 Troubadour International Poetry Prize, the 2020 York Poetry Prize, and is included in Here: Poems for the Planet and the 2020 Best New Poets anthology.

You can read more about Michaela’s work on her website, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Established by Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre in 2017, ignitionpress is a poetry pamphlet press with an international outlook which publishes original, arresting poetry from emerging poets. Pamphlets published by the press have so far received four Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice selections (for A Hurry of EnglishHinge, Ripe, and Sargam / Swargam) and Hinge by Alycia Pirmohamed was also shortlisted for the Michael Marks Poetry Award, 2020. In 2021, the press won the Michael Marks Publishers’ Award. Read more about the press on our website.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.

London Aquatics Centre, Stratford

The first time you wear a bikini
in public, it’s ladies’ hour at the local
pool — your mother’s disapproving
brows follow you. The changing
room is filled with the ghosts of
middle school girls’ staccato laughter.
Your skin winces with no place
to hide. Stand in front of the mirror,
wishing you could be reduced to a sliver
of light. Picture knives caressing your hips,
walk down the hall to a symphony
of rapid Bengali, breathe it all in
and jump. Here, I could be rain
bow fish or electric eel.


by Fathima Zahra

Listen to Fathima Zahra read ‘London Aquatics Centre, Stratford’

This week we’re delighted to feature the final of three poems by new ignitionpress poets Katie Byford, Zein Sa’dedin and Fathima Zahra, all of whom have pamphlets forthcoming from our press. We’re very excited to be launching them (online) on Wednesday 25 August at 7pm BST and hope that you will join us! You can sign up for the Zoom webinar via this link.

‘London Aquatics Centre, Stratford’ is copyright © Fathima Zahra, 2021, and is reprinted here from Sargam / Swargam (ignitionpress, 2021).

Sargam / Swargam evokes a deep sense of precarity in being, belonging and in the very words we choose to mean home. This pamphlet, simultaneously forthright and fragile, touches on themes of girlhood, shame, desire and an uneasy burgeoning into maturity. Through exquisitely-wrought language and precise character observations, these poems capture what it is to grow up in three different locations, illuminating the legacies of that experience. Find out more about the pamphlet on the Poetry Centre website.

Fathima Zahra is an Indian poet based in Essex. She is a Barbican Young Poet and a Roundhouse Poetry Collective alum. She has won the Bridport Prize, the Wells Fest Young Poets Prize and the Asia House Poetry Slam 2019. Her work has been published or are forthcoming in Tentacular Magazine and Khidr Zine; has been anthologised in SLAM! You’re Gonna Wanna Hear This (Pan Macmillan, 2020), A Letter, A Poem, A Home (Red River Press, 2020). She been featured across BBC World News, The New Indian Express and Young Poets Network. Commissions include Poet in the City, Adrian Brinkerhoff Foundation and Bedtime Stories for the End of the World. She has performed at various festivals including Hay, Latitude, VERVE poetry festival, The Last Word and Brainchild. She is currently completing her MA in Creative Writing and Education at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Follow Zahra on Twitter and Instagram and find her on Linktree.

Established by Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre in 2017, ignitionpress is a poetry pamphlet press with an international outlook which publishes original, arresting poetry from emerging poets. Pamphlets published by the press have so far received three Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice selections (for A Hurry of EnglishHinge, and Ripe) and Hinge by Alycia Pirmohamed was also shortlisted for the Michael Marks Poetry Award, 2020. Read more about the press on our website.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.

                 staircase      –      جبل اللويبدة                                 jabal alweibdeh

                                  the tourists are taking over
the square & i’ve seen it

                          past the frenchified streetlamps
& wallace fountains 

                         i’ve seen it by mama’s childhood
home near duwar al hawooz 

                                  i’ve seen it the window sign
          reading ‘شقة للإيجار for expats only’ 

                      i’ve lived my life so far   an archive
of this city    my face my mother’s 

                             mirrored outside its sandstone
walls bas this city holds its people

                                     differently as it always has
it stages its streets like an exercise 

                                        in circumstance its gaze
                 towards whatever else 

                                                       is west of itself

by Zein Sa’dedin
Listen to Zein Sa’dedin read ‘staircase’

This week we’re delighted to feature the second of three poems by new ignitionpress poets Katie Byford, Zein Sa’dedin and Fathima Zahra, all of whom have pamphlets forthcoming  from our press. We’re very excited to be launching them (online) on Wednesday 25 August at 7pm BST and hope that you will join us! You can sign up for the Zoom webinar via this link .

‘staircase –جبل اللويبدة (jabal alweibdeh)’ is copyright © Zein Sa’dedin, 2021, and is reprinted here from Staircase (ignitionpress, 2021).

Staircase is an extraordinary debut, exploring landscape, locality and the constructions of a self that inhabits and manoeuvres through many layered textures – mediated by the cultural influences of music and other artistic forms. Those familiar with the neighbourhoods on the seven hills of Amman will recognize the places named, yet all readers will be entranced by them. The Arabic script interwoven through the poems allows the printed word to reflect the literary contours and evocative images contained within this intensely crafted work.

Zein Sa’dedin is a poet, editor, and educator from and currently based in Amman, Jordan. She is the founding editor-in-chief of BAHR // بحر – an online literary and creative platform dedicated to championing writers and artists from Southwest Asia and North Africa in all their languages. Zein holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of St Andrews and a BA in English Literature with Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. She currently teaches English language as well as the occasional writing workshop. Zein is also working to establish a bilingual literary journal from, within, and for SWANA and the Levant. Her poem, ‘the sea is the most flexible of things,’ was the recipient of the 2019 Third Coast Poetry Prize. Zein’s work has appeared in harana poetry, The Shuruq Festival, Zarf PoetryThird Coast MagazineCordite Poetry ReviewMuzzle MagazineWinter TangerineSukoon MagazineJaffat el Aqlam, and others.

You can follow Zein on Twitter and Instagram.

Established by Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre in 2017, ignitionpress is a poetry pamphlet press with an international outlook which publishes original, arresting poetry from emerging poets. In the future, we plan to work with established poets who are developing interim or special projects. Pamphlets published by the press have so far received three Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice selections (for A Hurry of EnglishHinge, and Ripe) and Hinge by Alycia Pirmohamed was also shortlisted for the Michael Marks Poetry Award, 2020. Read more about the press on our website.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.

Salt Creatures


We try at first to still the rush, the roar, but
as the swell reaches our chins we reconsider.
We will be sanded down, polished like seaglass

—the current rips and foams around us, 

capricious. We boast burns shaped like open mouths,
blood-bright anemones on our necks, breasts; fingers swim.
I will drift with you over the ocean’s edge

—our shoulders gleam, dolphin backs silver 

and leaping. Held in an exhaled breath, small mercy,
our closeness carves a grotto between us, shivering with thunder.
You are a salt creature, let your spine dissolve
—we curl up in a periwinkle. 

It dawns. You ebb and unravel, leave me clutching at
cloudy handfuls of sand, that curdle in the air as I retrieve them.
You will hear my breath in every murex shell

—the sea cave in me roars, cracks—opens.

by Katie Byford
Listen to Katie Byford read ‘Salt Creatures’

This week we’re delighted to feature the first of three poems by new ignitionpress poets Katie Byford, Zein Sa’dedin and Fathima Zahra, all of whom have pamphlets forthcomingfrom our press. We’re very excited to be launching them (online) on Wednesday 25 August at 7pm BST and hope that you will join us! You can sign up for the Zoom webinar via this link.


‘Salt Creatures’ is copyright © Katie Byford, 2021, and is reprinted here from He Said I Was a Peach (ignitionpress, 2021).

In her new pamphlet, He Said I Was a Peach, Katie Byford’s vital poems resound with a chorus of restless voices. Stifled by male power and drunken violence, the women of these verses nevertheless speak, alive in Byford’s compelling writing. Persephone defies her ‘mud king’, Pygmalion’s creation describes her own drowning, Clytemnestra plots revenge in a hotel bathroom. Encountered alongside stories from contemporary life, myth embodies profound wounds which will not heal. Yet in this pamphlet, the women can be heard, enduring in their pain and fear and calling us to see them differently.

Katie Byford is a poet and filmmaker from London. She has a BA in Classics from Durham University, where she received the Maltby Exhibition Prize for her dissertation on Sappho’s work as translated and interpreted by contemporary poets and artists. She regularly delivers guest lectures at Durham on the use of Greek and Roman sources in her poetry. Katie’s poem ‘Appetit, for Persephone’ placed first in the open category of the 2020 Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition; her poem ‘Son, for Thetis’ was also shortlisted. She was part of the Barbican Young Poets from 2011 to 2014, and since then has worked extensively with the Barbican Centre, most recently delivering workshops and performing commissions for 2019 exhibitions AI: More than Human and Lee Krasner: Living Colour. Other commissions and performances include those at Durham Castle, the Wellcome Collection, Spread the Word and the Houses of Parliament. Her work has featured in MagmaPopshotModern Poetry in Translation and anthologies Hallelujah for 50ft Women (Bloodaxe Books) and She is Fierce: brave, bold & beautiful poems by women (Macmillan). Find out more about Katie on her website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Established by Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre in 2017, ignitionpress is a poetry pamphlet press with an international outlook which publishes original, arresting poetry from emerging poets. Pamphlets published by the press have so far received three Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice selections (for A Hurry of EnglishHinge, and Ripe) and Hinge by Alycia Pirmohamed was also shortlisted for the Michael Marks Poetry Award, 2020. Read more about the press on our website.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.

from Aurora Leigh

Books, books, books!
I had found the secret of a garret-room
Piled high with cases in my father’s name;
Piled high, packed large, – where, creeping in and out
Among the giant fossils of my past,
Like some small nimble mouse between the ribs
Of a mastodon, I nibbled here and there
At this or that box, pulling through the gap,
In heats of terror, haste, victorious joy,
The first book first. And how I felt it beat
Under my pillow, in the morning’s dark,
An hour before the sun would let me read!
My books! At last, because the time was ripe,
I chanced upon the poets.
                                         As the earth
Plunges in fury, when the internal fires
Have reached and pricked her heart, and, throwing flat
The marts and temples, the triumphal gates
And towers of observation, clears herself
To elemental freedom – thus, my soul,
At poetry’s divine first finger touch,
Let go conventions and sprang up surprised,
Convicted of the great eternities
Before two worlds.


by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

News from the Centre! We are delighted to say that one of our recent ignitionpress pamphlets, Hinge by Alycia Pirmohamed, has been shortlisted for the Michael Marks Poetry Award! The winner from the five pamphlet shortlist will be announced on 14 December, and you can register for the free online event via the Michael Marks website, where you can also find details of the pamphlet and publisher shortlists. You can learn more about Alycia’s pamphlet and buy a copy on our website (scroll down the Pamphlets page).

This week’s choice of poem is a bit of a departure for the Weekly Poem, since we normally feature contemporary writing. However, this excerpt from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s verse novel Aurora Leigh is one of the pieces featured in our latest podcast, in which we meet the poetry anthologist Ana Sampson. Ana recently edited She Will Soar: Bright, Brave Poems about Freedom by Women (Pan Macmillan, 2020) and in the podcast she talks about how she goes about editing anthologies, how she chooses poems, and why it has been particularly important for her to edit two anthologies that include only works by women. You can listen to the podcast on our website and find it via the usual podcast providers – just search for ‘Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre’.

We are delighted to say that this podcast also features a very special guest reader: the internationally-acclaimed actress Romola Garai, who reads this extract, ‘The Sea-Shore’ by Letitia Elizabeth Landon, and ‘Sonnet XXXI’ by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

This extract from Aurora Leigh (1856) is in the public domain. It appears in She Will Soar: Bright, Brave Poems about Freedom by Women (2020), edited by Ana Sampson.

Pan Macmillan writes: ‘With poems from classic, well-loved poets as well as innovative and bold modern voices, She Will Soar is a stunning collection and an essential addition to any bookshelf. From the ancient world right up to the present day, it includes poems on wanderlust, travel, daydreams, flights of fancy, escaping into books, tranquillity, courage, hope and resilience. From frustrated housewives to passionate activists, from servants and suffragettes to some of today’s most gifted writers, here is a bold choir of voices demanding independence and celebrating their hard-won power. Immerse yourself in poems by Carol Ann Duffy, Christina Rossetti, Stevie Smith, Sarah Crossan, Emily Dickinson, Salena Godden, Mary Jean Chan, Charly Cox, Nikita Gill, Fiona Benson, Hollie McNish and Grace Nichols to name but a few.’

Elizabeth Barrett Browning received an excellent education at home from her adoring but overprotective father, and published poetry from her teens onwards. Despite living as an invalid and recluse – perhaps devastated at her brother drowning, perhaps injured in a fall from a horse – her poetry was hugely popular. She attracted fan mail from Robert Browning – then an aspiring poet, six years her junior – and their relationship revived her sufficiently to elope with him to Italy, get married and have a son. Her father never forgave them. A greater celebrity than her husband during their lifetimes, Elizabeth also involved herself in contemporary politics. She was a passionate critic of slavery and child labour, and her epic poem Aurora Leigh was remarkable for its strong heroine and contemporary setting.

Ana Sampson is Deputy Publicity Editor at Quercus Books and a poetry anthologist. By the end of 2021, she will have edited eleven poetry anthologies, including I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud, that came out in 2009 and was the third bestselling poetry title that year; Ten Poems for Breakfast, a pamphlet published by Candlestick Press; Poems to Learn by Heart, published by Michael O’Mara Books in 2013; and – most recently – two anthologies of poems by women, published by Pan Macmillan: She is Fierce: Brave, Bold and Beautiful Poems by Women, which contains 150 poems and came out in 2018, and She Will Soar: Bright, Brave Poems about Freedom by Women, which was published in September this year and includes 130 poems. Ana’s books have sold over 230,000 copies and she makes frequent appearances in the media and at book festivals to talk about poetry and women’s writing. Ana lives with her husband, two young daughters and two middle-aged cats. You can find out more about Ana’s work on her website and follow her on Twitter.

Athenian Light


I was born into it
in late September,
when it’s sweet and hued at sunset
like the seeded flesh of figs.
Smog meddled with it,
hanging over Athens
like bad history. 

Growing up,
what use was lyrical light
when stuck two hours every day
in an airless school bus,
gum spat in my hair
by the back row boys? 

After half a lifetime in England,
I bathe in it by a rooftop pool,
swallows above me
like musical notes,
the broken jawline
of the Parthenon within sight,
and I love how it brings out
the veins in marble
and the arms of men. 

I watch the child in the pool
learn how to swim,
wearing, just like I did,
orange inflatable arm bands,
remember my father’s insistence
that you can drown
even in the clearest light. 
 

by Kostya Tsolakis

Listen to Kostya Tsolakis reading ‘Athenian Light’

This week’s poem by Kostya Tsolakis is the final one in a trio of poems by our new ignitionpress authors! Last week we featured Daniel Fraser’s poem ‘Hebden Bridge’, and before that Isabelle Baafi’s ‘PG Tips’. We are very excited to be launching three new pamphlets by Isabelle, Daniel, and Kostya online on Friday 6 November. Please join us! The event will be live streamed to our YouTube channel and you can find more details about the launch and sign up to attend it here . You can buy copies of the pamphlets via the Brookes Online Shop

We recently announced the winners of this year’s Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition, and you can read the winning poems here . Our awards event this year will be held online and everyone is welcome to attend! It will feature readings by the winning poets in both the Open and EAL categories, and a short reading by this year’s judge, Fiona Benson. To register your attendance, please visit this Eventbrite page .

‘Athenian Light’ is copyright © Kostya Tsolakis, 2020. It is reprinted from Ephebos (ignitionpress, 2020) by permission of ignitionpress. 

Reflecting on this poem, Kostya writes: ‘“Athenian Light” closes Ephebos, but is one of the oldest poems in the pamphlet. Having spent a lonely, closeted adolescence in Athens – much of it in my room, playing video games or reading – I didn’t notice how beautiful its intense light is until I started visiting home again as a happier adult. By celebrating it, I feel this poem reconciles me with the city I grew up in.’

Kostya’s new pamphlet, Ephebos, explores what it is like to be young, Greek and gay. It maps a fragile coming of age, exploring the shame, courage and yearning of emergent sexuality. From a sun-drenched Athenian adolescence to adulthood in England, this exquisitely wrought pamphlet confronts an abiding sense of ‘falling short’ – of being Greek, conforming to ideas of masculinity, being a good son, of communicating fully with loved ones and strangers. Above all, these poems deal with the pursuit of happiness on one’s own terms. You can buy the pamphlet here.

Kostya Tsolakis is a London-based poet and journalist, born and raised in Athens, Greece. A Warwick Writing Programme graduate, his poems have been published in MagmaperverseThe ScoresUnder the Radar and Wasafiri, among others. In 2019 he won the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition (EAL category). He is founding editor of harana poetry, the online magazine for poets writing in English as a second or parallel language, and is poetry co-editor at Ambit. You can find out more about Kostya and his work on his website and follow him on Twitter.

ignitionpress is a poetry pamphlet press from Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre with an international outlook which publishes original, arresting poetry from emerging poets, and established poets working on interim or special projects.

Since its establishment in 2017, two pamphlets (A Hurry of English by Mary Jean Chan and Hinge by Alycia Pirmohamed) have been selected by the Poetry Book Society as their Pamphlet Choices, and all the pamphlets still in print are available to buy from our online Shop. Each pamphlet costs £5 and you can buy three for £12. You can find out more about the poets and their work on our dedicated page.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.

Hebden Bridge

Wool skies turn over heavy cloud,
the pages of a good book stuck somewhere
between wickedness and flood. A gurgle
of rain meadows, pitches unfit for sport,
long hedgerows littered with chap-sticks, cider
bottles, and damp tubes of old fireworks:
their excitements decidedly past tense. 

This is the place you still call home,
an answer arrived at just by asking
the wrong question too many times.
The landscape an impossible pattern of fields,
drystone and cart tracks, brickwork lines
tangled around dark farms,
terraces milled in childish strokes
of grit; raw-edged and smoky. 

The canal churns through creaking locks,
bleak with weed and fat perch and reeds,
where shadows of imported carp
nudge blunt snouts through the thickened silt.
Men sit switching stories on damp canvas,
stools sunk low in the towpath,
one hand on a sandwich, another dipped
in the red husks of maggots, the fresh bait
struggling free, fluffed like rice, writhing too. 

Shop-fronts boarded or bought-up, shaken dry
and franchised into nowhere: chrome and steel,
exposed light-bulbs, railway salvage,
their high chairs polished by the acutest music.
You can still buy crystals, eye talismans,
and stone webs for catching dreams; false
promise as unorthodox practice, strung out
on silk. Commerce the one sure way to heal
the wounds time has forced you into keeping. 

Fifteen pubs. Three per thousand. More yesterday.
Rooms where you can watch the same face age
through its endless afternoons.
Doorways hung with pretty chimes, wicker
and knotted twigs, scents of incense,
marks of incest, park benches warped
in a fug of weed and needles.
Out beyond the council blocks lie
the sewage plant and dump, broken dye-works
and coal silos; industrial leftovers clumped
with white goods and rust, jaws and iron arms
crushing waste, weary of reconstitution. 

Hold on, there are still the old mills, oak woods,
and carpets of bluebells, millponds
still with sediment, and the great moors swept
hard like a birthplace for the wind.
The whole place picture perfect, yes a land
where poetry comes easy, skimming the dark crags
and fattened beeches growing high
above the river murk, voices cheering, drowning
out the yeasty spume and froth, brimming deep,
lower even than the world.

by Daniel Fraser

Listen to Daniel Fraser reading ‘Hebden Bridge’

This week’s poem by Daniel Fraser is the second in a trio of poems by our new ignitionpress authors! Last week we featured Isabelle Baafi’s poem ‘PG Tips’, and you can read it here. We are very excited to be launching three new pamphlets by Isabelle, Daniel, and Kostya Tsolakis online on Friday 6 November. Please join us! The event will be live-streamed to our YouTube channel. You can find more details about the launch and sign up to attend it here.

We recently announced the winners of this year’s Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition, and you can read the winning poems here. Our awards event this year will be held online and everyone is welcome to attend! It will feature readings by the winning poets in both the Open and EAL categories, and a short reading by this year’s judge, Fiona Benson. To register your attendance, please visit this Eventbrite page

‘Hebden Bridge’ is copyright © Daniel Fraser, 2020. It is reprinted from Lung Iron (ignitionpress, 2020) by permission of ignitionpress.

Of this poem, Daniel writes: ‘This poem is named after my hometown. In some ways it’s a kind of settling of scores with my first landscape, both the image it presents to the world and the darker undercurrents below the surface, and contradictory ideas of home. This idea of contradiction and the relation of image/process are central to the way I try to write poetry just as, however far I move away from it, the landscape of Hebden Bridge continues to be too.’

‘Hebden Bridge’ appears in Daniel’s new pamphlet Lung Iron. It is a highly accomplished debut that takes small observations, encounters and moments of awkwardness, intensifying and expanding them in order to explore the place of the word and our place as human beings in the economies of nature and history. These immersive poems thrive in the uncertain space between the natural and industrial, aware of their presence yet always feeling the pull of that something other which lies beyond them.

Daniel Fraser is a writer from Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. A graduate of the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP), his critical work draws on the philosophy of Karl Marx, Maurice Blanchot, and Catherine Malabou. His poetry and prose have featured in: LA Review of BooksAeonAcumenAnthropocene PoetryX-R-A-YEntropyMuteReview 31 and Dublin Review of Books among others. His poems and short fiction have both won prizes in the London Magazine. You can read more about Daniel on his website, read an interview with him on the Wombwell Rainbow site, and follow him on Twitter.

ignitionpress is a poetry pamphlet press from Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre with an international outlook which publishes original, arresting poetry from emerging poets, and established poets working on interim or special projects. 

Since its establishment in 2017, two pamphlets (A Hurry of English by Mary Jean Chan and Hinge by Alycia Pirmohamed) have been selected by the Poetry Book Society as their Pamphlet Choices, and all the pamphlets still in print are available to buy from our online Shop. Each pamphlet costs £5 and you can buy three for £12. You can find out more about the poets and their work on our dedicated page.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.

PG Tips

PG Tips by Isabelle Baafi
By Isabelle Baafi

Listen to Isabelle Baafi reading ‘PG Tips’

This week’s poem by Isabelle Baafi is the first in a trio of poems by our new ignitionpress authors! We are very excited to be launching three new pamphlets by Isabelle, Daniel Fraser, and Kostya Tsolakis online on Friday 6 November.  Please join us! The event will be held via Zoom and livestreamed to our YouTube channel. You can find more details about the launch and sign up to attend it here.

‘PG Tips’ is copyright © Isabelle Baafi, 2020. It is reprinted from Ripe (ignitionpress, 2020) by permission of ignitionpress.

‘Hunger made me’, reveals one speaker in Ripe, and the desire to be satiated fills these poems. Desperate women hide grains of rice in their hair, baked beans evoke a strained father-daughter relationship, plantains endure the fire. Yet hunger takes many forms, as the risks and rewards of its satisfaction are weighed, and cravings for intimacy are charged with danger. ‘When we’re born, we’re someone else’s’, but in this daring exploration of identity and survival, we hear a thrilling new voice come into its own.

Regarding ‘PG Tips’, Isabelle writes: ‘This poem explores the psychology of postnatal depression. It was inspired by the experience of a family member.’ 

Isabelle Baafi is a writer and poet from London. She was the winner of the 2019 Vincent Cooper Literary Prize, and was shortlisted for the 2019 Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition. Her work has been anthologised by Verve Poetry Press, 20.35 Africa and The Caribbean Writer, and has been published in The Poetry ReviewAnthropoceneFinished Creatures, and harana poetry. She is a Board Member at Magma Poetry. You can read more about Isabelle on her website and follow her on Twitter.

ignitionpress is a poetry pamphlet press from Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre with an international outlook which publishes original, arresting poetry from emerging poets, and established poets working on interim or special projects. 

Since its establishment in 2017, two pamphlets (A Hurry of English by Mary Jean Chan and Hinge by Alycia Pirmohamed) have been selected by the Poetry Book Society as their Pamphlet Choices, and all the pamphlets still in print are available to buy from our online Shop. Each pamphlet costs £5 and you can buy three for £12. You can find out more about the poets and their work on our dedicated page.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.

New Haven, August 8, 2017


I lack the libido to write city poems
,
writes Cam, and I

now lack the city
and its popular synecdoches: 

straphangers, manholes
grids and bridges. 

I despise Whitman
and Brooklyn, and gatherings 

of euphonic youngthings
about whose oratorios 

he and I would then
dash to pieces 

our two heads, ambulatory
and intransitive, 

standing on the pier
in the freezing cold 

on Halloween
every night of the year, 

the city a ship or a crazy castle
across this or that river, dark 

moving line we mark
with pleasure 

objecting indirectly
and hardly holding hands.

by Mia Kang

Listen to Mia read the poem here (scroll to the link towards the bottom of the page).

The Poetry Centre is excited to share with you the final selection from our newest pamphlets – a poem from City Poems by Mia Kang, just published by ignitionpress. Alongside Mia’s pamphlet we are also very pleased to be publishing Hush by Majella Kelly and Hinge by Alycia Pirmohamed, whose work we featured in previous Weekly Poems.

We will be launching all three pamphlets this week! Join us at the Poetry Café in London on Thursday (20 February) and at Waterstones in Oxford on Friday (21 February). We’ll also be appearing at the Poetry Book Fair on Saturday 22 February (with a reading by Alycia Pirmohamed and fellow ignitionpress poet Joanna Ingham). Register for free tickets for the launches here and buy the new pamphlets here.

We have also just released the latest episode of our Poetry Centre Podcast which features Oxford-based poet Mariah Whelan, whose novel in sonnets, the love i do to you, was recently published by Eyewear Publishing. Listen to Mariah talk about the book here or subscribe to our podcast via iTunes or other podcast providers.

‘New Haven, August 8, 2017’ is copyright © Mia Kang, 2020. It is reprinted from City Poems (ignitionpress, 2020) by permission of ignitionpress.

Mia Kang writes poems and other perversions. Named the 2017 winner of Boston Review’s Annual Poetry Contest by Mónica de la Torre, her writing has appeared in journals including POETRY, Washington Square Review, Narrative Magazine, and PEN America.

A Brooklyn Poets Fellow and runner-up for the 2019 and 2017 Discovery Poetry Contests, she is a recipient of the Academy of American Poets’ 2016 Catalina Páez and Seumas MacManus Award, among others. Mia is a PhD student in the history of art at Yale University, where she studies the contested rise of multiculturalism and its failures. Find out more about Mia’s work on her website and follow her on Twitter.

ignitionpress is a poetry pamphlet press from Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre with an international outlook which publishes original, arresting poetry from emerging poets, and established poets working on interim or special projects. 

The first eight pamphlets to be published by ignitionpress, featuring work by Lily Blacksell, Mary Jean Chan, Patrick James Errington, Natalie Whittaker, Belinda Zhawi, Joanna Ingham, Jennifer Lee Tsai, and Sarah Shapiro are available from our online Shop. Each pamphlet costs £5 and you can buy three for £12. You can find out more about the poets and their work on our dedicated page.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.

Endearments


I have itemized
your   oak leaf   long limb   wild              

& have begun to name you things like
“summer eclipse 

in my offline calendar” or even “sleeping
under the stars 

in a Wal-Mart parking lot”
& honestly 

that kind of romance is okay with me
because secretly I have also named you “river of pine” 

& “blossoming spring flower along the path to
Mount Yamnuska.” 

There is also my skin and yours,
there is also the way skin & skin are two 

vastly different things
that this language has difficulty 

capturing:
“every constellated mole” & 

“pillar of shade.”                
How all of these names describe the way 

we coexist                                                                     
& exist within one another— 

the way you disappear into the trees
& I follow.

 
by Alycia Pirmohamed 

Listen to Alycia read the poem here (scroll to the bottom of the page).

The Poetry Centre is excited to share with you the second selection from our forthcoming pamphlets – a poem from Alycia Pirmohamed’s new pamphlet Hinge, published this month by ignitionpress. Alongside Alycia’s pamphlet we are also delighted to publish Mia Kang’s City Poems and Hush by Majella Kelly, whose work we featured in the previous Weekly Poem. We will be sharing a poem from Mia’s pamphlet next week before we launch all three pamphlets at the Poetry Café in London on 20 February and at Waterstones in Oxford on 21 February. We’ll also be appearing at the Poetry Book Fair on 22 February (with a reading by Alycia and fellow ignitionpress poet Joanna Ingham), so do join us on one of these dates! You can find more details about tickets for the launches here

‘Endearments’ is copyright © Alycia Pirmohamed, 2020. It is reprinted from Hinge (ignitionpress, 2020) by permission of ignitionpress. The poem was first published in the April 2018 issue of Glass: A Journal of Poetry.

Alycia Pirmohamed is a Canadian-born poet currently living in Scotland. She is a doctoral candidate at the University of Edinburgh, where she is studying figurative homelands in poetry written by second-generation immigrant writers of South Asian descent. She received her M.F.A. from the University of Oregon. In 2018, Alycia’s chapbook Faces that Fled the Wind was selected by Camille Rankine for the BOAAT Press Chapbook Prize. Her other awards include the 92/Y Discovery Poetry Contest, the Ploughshares’ Emerging Writer’s Contest in Poetry, the Adroit Journal’s Djanikian Scholars program, and the Gulf Coast Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in publications internationally, including The Paris Review DailyPrairie SchoonerBest Canadian PoetryGutter Magazine, and The London Magazine, among others. Alycia is co-editor of the forthcoming anthology They Rise Like A Wave: An Anthology of Asian American Women Poets, co-founder of The Scottish BAME Writers Network, and a submission reader for Tinderbox Poetry Journal. She has received support from The Royal Society of Literature, and from Calgary Arts Development via The City of Calgary. Find out more about Alycia’s work on her website and follow her on Twitter.

ignitionpress is a poetry pamphlet press from Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre with an international outlook which publishes original, arresting poetry from emerging poets, and established poets working on interim or special projects. 

The first eight pamphlets to be published by ignitionpress, featuring work by Lily Blacksell, Mary Jean Chan, Patrick James Errington, Natalie Whittaker, Belinda Zhawi, Joanna Ingham, Jennifer Lee Tsai, and Sarah Shapiro are available from our online Shop. Each pamphlet costs £5 and you can buy three for £12. You can find out more about the poets and their work on our dedicated page.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.