#SelectedPoetry – August


Eds. Katie Jenkins and David Hanlon.

This batch of poetry features the work of some of the most talented poets in the writing community today.

These poets use their words to create art that is both thought-provoking and engaging. They explore a wide range of topics and they do so with a unique blend of creativity and skill.

Whether you are a seasoned poetry lover or a newcomer to the genre, we encourage you to explore this collection. You may find yourself surprised by what you discover.

Sara Sowers-Wills

Sara Sowers-Wills teaches linguistics and writing at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Her poems have appeared in Jet Fuel Review, Thunderbird Review, Sonic Boom, Pleiades, Interim, Denver Quarterly, and elsewhere. She enjoys the explosive sunrises and extreme cold in Duluth, Minnesota, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.


I launched a new project
that I thought might end
the world. Mammoths and
psychedelics were ordered,
and the music of a great
composer whose last name
rhymes with ‘appa’. The wand
of his arm drew in the air
freedom and upset nobody
but ‘saints’. In celebration,
a French horn held a note until
Schroedinger’s cat rolled over
in his cosmic gravity. We all 
became neutron, collapsed. I
launched a new project that
I thought might end the word.
A big city is different from a big
crow. The artificial definition
imposed upon the fluid
dynamism of all matter
has deluded us. The impulse
to name all the parts continues
to reveal more parts. We are in
over our heads. Words propagate
words, scarf meaning out of
the scaffolds. A huff of intuition
orchestrates a movement. I 
launched a new project that
I thought might save the world
from its own bountiful ash.
It raises the dodo bird (if it weren’t
flightless), and the world’s tallest
waterfall. A beached minke
whale gets put back to sea. I 
believe photographs aren’t static. 
But like a dead man needs a winter
coat, trolls keep ticking and 
bombs bury children in
the abandoned flats of civilization.

Bex Hainsworth

Bex Hainsworth is a poet and teacher based in Leicester, UK. She won the Collection HQ Prize as part of the East Riding Festival of Words and her work has appeared in Atrium, Prole, Ink Sweat & Tears, Honest Ulsterman and bath magg.

Anne Neville

I first saw him in the grounds of Middleham.
The castle was a cold incubator and I was a girl,
ripening, on the cusp of currency – a betting chip
ready to be cast onto the hard table of diplomacy.

I crept out to watch him train on grey mornings.
There were mutterings, mimicry, but I saw neither
monster nor minotaur. He was a knight, wild
as our northern home, strong as sandstone.

The second I bled, I became a princess –
a year’s sabbatical ended with Edward dead
and barely an ellipsis before I was thrown back
into his orbit. He gave up an earldom to marry me.

Our bed was always warm, safe from the blustering
of court. He arched under me, the S of his spine
not a hiss, but a hush. When my belly swelled,
we slotted together, perfectly threaded, tapestry.

The country prickled with rebellion, a creature
caught clawing against a stinging net of alliances:
women were blood sport. I welcomed the creaking
beams and solid glass of the House of York.

Everything changed the summer I felt the heat
of a crown on my brow. Margaret carried my train
and I felt her fingers pulling the ermine to my throat,
saw the son in her eyes, the trumpets were a battle cry.

I lived with Death at my heels like a terrier, muzzle
bloodied from the hunt; losing our son, whilst we were
far away, brought grief like a morning star. We were two
halves of a wound, trying to knit ourselves back together.

I never healed. Each morning brought blood like a rose
in my kerchief and each night, reaching for him in the dark,
I heard the crash of halberds. I never lived to see him
thrown from the horse, his body dragged from the battlefield.

Our bones were hastily buried, graves unmarked, souls
slowly wasting in churches half a country apart. I think
of him still, holding me to his breast, close as armour,
the soft thud of his heart, my love, neither tyrant nor traitor.

Graham Clifford

Graham Clifford lives in London with his partner and two daughters. His most recent collection, In Charge of the Gun is published by The Black Light Engine Room. Last year Graham’s poem Proof was added to the Poetry Archive. He is a Primary School head teacher in Tower Hamlets.


Clifford’s gift was no gift. His mark on the human effort was like a
decades-old toy Yorkshire Terrier’s period stain on a duvet cover that just will
not wash out. His efforts were too obvious, they belied his attempt to construe
and achieve flow. Effluvia
_________and rawness. ___________________________If anything, he is
a lesson. Where you might expect clarity was murk. 
___________________________________________________Once he held up the frozen lid
of a puddle to the sun like a glass biscuit and the itchy contents of split second
of being was there, melting. 

Clifford protests too much and would like you to observe as you might
rubberneck at usual hotspots on a map of motorway sacrifices.
________________________________________________________________Pluck a word out of a
sentence of his, like a somehow-preserved Roman cow’s tooth
from the Wapping shore. Replace it with anything and that’s better.
all of them and that is best.
See his words burst and squirt like fried sausages. Words hiss and recoil 
as his searchlight inner eye goes choosing. 
Mouse plagues, rabbit plagues, 
________________________________a prefab village flops and folds
in nowhere-near a gale. 
Look away.______________________________Try B&B potboilers from the 60s. 

His genius was to dare to even begin.  To watch him at work was a sadness.
________________Any writer was his enemy. 
There was no one to copy in his times. He had books and books of dog ears 
and annotations. His focus was cajoled. 
Clifford’s was a reasoning with pot plants. Do your best to see all of this as
You would have liked him. 

Stephanie Karas

Stephanie Karas is a Lewis University graduate and the former Managing Editor for Jet Fuel Review. Her work has appeared in the Antigonish Review, Disquiet Arts, Creative Communications, 30 N, Lewis Voices, Quirk, and Wrongdoing Magazine. Currently, she is continuing to pursue her Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

A cento composed from my own lines

It was mechanical madness. Through years lost
in floating red boats, I am still reminded: my skin
compressed, branded by the star-shaped abyss
of her ring, the hatred burning in the back of her throat

like the questions that now lie dormant.
my voice jumps octaves
like hopscotch, as constant as x in an equation.
All bound together through

my strained smile. I’m hiding
while they are no longer seeking.
A victim’s illness lost in glass
bottles slowly slipping away.

Love will end in dented walls
and breath that tastes like broken glass.
I have lost my ruby earrings, my matching
necklace. It is an apparition, a reminder.

Fear ravages me until I become
nothing: a smoke-stained stagnation.
this monstrosity like an ink
blot on a perfect sheet of white.

Jacqueline Haskell

Jacqueline Haskell has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London. Her poems have appeared in Atrium, Dream Catcher, The High Window, Anomaly Literary Journal, The Bombay Literary Magazine, and This Line is Not for Turning. Stroking Cerberus, her first full-length poetry collection, was published by Myriad Editions (2020).

The Bends

When our father left us, I thought that he had left the earth 
and everything on it; I did not understand that 
he was merely elsewhere,
leaving only us.

I am no judge of the depth of things, or of how 
they might feel in my hand before I grasp them,
I can imagine only how it felt to him, the bellman.

When our father left us, all of him, even the very least
of him, still existed: the small vein on the right 
of his forehead that pulsed each time he 
encountered silt-out.

I am no judge of the breaking of things: the flight of a gull’s egg 
from cliff to rock, that moment of wholeness on the way down,
the unbroken sphere still full of possibilities.

When I left home, that summer of his own leaving, I ran 
the hill paths of La Caleta, in sight of the dredgers in the bay below, 
pounding black volcanic lava until, winded, I doubled-over, wrists to ankles,
as if I had come up too quickly from my life.

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