Nothing Is Being Suppressed: British Poetry of the 1970s by Andrew Duncan (Shearsman Books)

Tears in the Fence

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am glad Andrew Duncan has written his books about 20th century poetry, but I wish he’d do some proper research, reference material, and not be so opinionated (or at least use critical material to back up his arguments). But at least he is paying attention to what went on in the world of poetry (or parts of it), this time in 1970s Britain, the decade when I first encountered and paid attention to small presses and alternative bookshops, though in my case it was a weird mix of Brian Patten, Adrian Mitchell, Ted Hughes, Ken Smith and Julian Beck alongside T.S. Eliot and the WW1 poets I was studying at the time in school. For me though, postpunk and improvised music was in the mix, as well as experimental theatre and radical politics – and I wish poetry was sometimes…

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Creativity and the Slow Life

Wendy Pratt

Photo by Alison Burrell on

At the beginning of the year I decided I wanted to have a different kind of life. It’s difficult to pin down exactly what it is I am aiming for, but it is something to do with living a slower life: professionally, psychologically, personally and most importantly, creatively. It means allowing myself to bed into projects, prioritising my creativity and finding a way to hold on to a creative form of myself. Sometimes I feel like I have accidentally created the perfect nest that allows me to write well, and to hold onto that without quite knowing how I did it is like holding onto a thread of spider silk that could break at any minute. But creativity isn’t a magic trick. To be able to write well is as much about creating a place around yourself to be able to think, as it…

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Happy #MothersDay #MothersDay2022 #MotheringSunday #Cybele Celebrate mothers of all kinds I will feature your published/unpublished poetry/short prose/artworks. Please include a short third person bio.

Mam at Coronation street clearer

A photo of my late mam outside the Rovers Return.

Our Mam’s Potpourri

Our home were spiced up.
When she were well
Mam placed wooden pots
of her favourite fragrances
on the tiled hearth,
strung garlands
on the hallway walls.
She made our home a rich orchard.
Christmas roses wilted in radiated heat.
Poinsettias glowed on the hearth.

Allspice, cedar wood shavings,
cinnamon and cassia bark,
cloves, cypress wood pairings,
fennel seed, incense-cedar
wood shavings, jasmine flowers
and oil, jujube blooms,
juniper wood chips.

I thought it magic,
‘cause it didn’t rot,
lavender leaves,
lemon balm leaves,
lemon peel, marjoram
and mignonette and mint leaves,
mugwort, orange peel.

Sweet citrus infused all rooms.
Whilst out of her French windows snow
gusted barkskin limbs shivered.

Pelargonium leaves, pinyon pine
slices and cones, rose flowers,
hips, rosemary leaves.

Even on gusty winter day Mam died,
and sharp tangs were stench
and pots emptied,
garlands binned,
odours dissipated from rooms but not memory.

-Paul Brookes

A Mum's Love by Neal Zetter

-Neal Zetter

Four Daffodils
When: March 1982Hampstead Parish Church Cemetery

Only four Daffodils mark the place we laid you
I bring you
many things I could not bring before
I cannot list them
but suppose they come with growing old.
I can cry now
and do as I watch the flowers in the wind.
Regret’s as cheap as pollen and as fertile
so I bring you —more
The one’s I love to meet you.
One being fed, one feeding,
as I was fed by you.
A month for every flower.
If you can hear me
bless them
bless me
and know that only now I understand
the depth of love
that always finds
and always fills
and never stops or fears.

-Dave Garbutt

Celebrate #WorldTheatreDay I will feature your published/unpublished poetry/short prose/artworks about your experiences in theatres, plays you have seen, performances that stunned you, and so on. Please include a short third person bio.

world theatre day

The Shrew

It isn’t the one performance I’ve seen,
open air, gender-swapped, abridged,
that comes back to me
as I read it for the first time
in twenty-one years,
well as I remember that,
at Fountains Abbey, the day after
my final exam. Sly was Scottish,
they messed up the ending,
Bianca disappeared as the actress
was playing Petruchio as well.

Nor is it Burton and Taylor,
though I can just picture them now.

Katherina’s voice for me
will always be that of Margaret Leighton
on the Harper Collins recording
I had on two white cassettes
and wish now I had kept,
or got it on CD instead.

Go get thee gone,
thou false deluding slave
was the only line I thought I remembered,
as it’s printed on a postcard
I use as a bookmark
in my book of Brontë poems.

It turns out there are hardly
any lines I have forgotten.

-Peter J. Donnelly

The Reading
Keats House.

There is the poet; exposed on her mountain-top,
no longer sheltered in her lap-top castle
poking fun at a hapless world.

She gabbles the words – her cherished harvest,
fearful eyes alert to the enemy,
each well-fletched arrow zinging dead on target.

Emotion builds behind the hurried monotone
and will she leave us, stranded in the ether,
or take us upward way beyond ourselves?

Ricochets from her philosophical bomb-blasts
mock the tawdry trappings,
the lampshades and the repro chairs,

unexpected artistry and pathos brings relief
and as the final cadence bares some naked truth,
the challenge passes in a wave of clapping.

Was this catharsis, – a physical implosion
in the name of art and womanhood?
Creativity travels lightly, with backward
glance and worn shoes,

and a gold standard placed just out of reach;
as each parent swims the hellespont of guilt,
the poet balances on a tightrope
strung between art and perfection.


Strauss Moment

Like a seagull riding a thermal
Jessie Norman takes us
on upwards aboard a melifluous
wave of mystic sound to
a heaven-scape from
Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs.

Such sound is not of our world,
splitting levels of perception
weaving harmonies
in a mystical language and
under that intoxicating spell
resistance is futile.

Just as lullabyes reach
deep in the soul to loose
tangled frets to the wind, so
Jessie Norman’s easy hypnosis
caresses until everything stills,
eyes close and a
private smile flickers.


Cheers and Tears for the Clown

Tears still prick at Ralph McTell’s clown
“hanging up his smile on a hook by the door”.

“All the world loves a clown”, sings Cole Porter,
but not true, for children sense instinctively
the two emotions, grief and laughter
thinly disguised by the motley
and the garish paint.

When the circus clown car stopped by me in
the front row, the fear was intense as
those heavily daubed eyes met mine
and the whole weirdness of that Vauxhall-gardens,
seedy, commedia dell’arte,
sexless, wild extreme
pierced my nice little world. . .

. . and mockery – the crowd laughing helplessly,
wave upon wave of laughter with each drum roll – why?
As the clowns’ world disintegrates like their car,
we join in with the ridiculing of the
underpants and the sausages
and the centuries of derision at someone else’s sadness,
one step removed from our own.

Through the circus clown, we’ve cloned vulgarity
and learned another laughter;
another weapon in the arsenal of life.
The flop of the custard pie takes something away.
The clown wears our grief in his sad smile – he
can bear it, it’s his job,
while we must laugh,

– laugh outside of the frame, beyond the boundary,
laughs transcending the artifice
of the big top, and,
just as enigmatic Feste steps
outside the comic dream of Twelfth Night,
the circus clown hangs up his smile
and weeps.

-All by Jane Newberry

He: “Actors Are Liars”

It tell him I’ve written
a Christian play.

He says:

It’s not real, you know.
It’s dishonest.

God says don’t lie,
and that’s what actors do.

Try to be something they’re not.

All theatre is lies.
Satan’s work.

All actors are Satanists.
All playwrights their priests.

-Paul Brookes

Emptying my late dad’s house, I find a shoebox labelled “Dad’s Cards” . Among these I discover a letter to him composed when a play of mine called “Still Children” was being staged at Hull University’s Gulbenkian Theatre in 1984. My final year, or so I thought.

I was twenty one. I am shocked by the religiosity of the language.

-Paul Brookes from an unpublished memoir

Bios And Links

-Peter J Donnelly

lives in York where he works as a hospital secretary. He has degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Wales Lampeter. He has been published in various magazines and anthologies. He recently won second prize in the Ripon Poetry Festival competition.

-Jane Newberry

Jane is a children’s writer yearning to be a grown-up poet. Retirement three years ago brought more time for trying new literary genres. She enjoys a wide range of musical and arts activities and shares her husband’s passion for historic buildings and Celtic Cornwall.

Publications to date:

2008 – A SACKFUL OF SONGS (Cramer Music)

2012 – A SACKFUL OF CHRISTMAS (Cramer Music)

2018 – poem “Hemiola” in anthology “The Possibility of Living”- (Poetryspace)

            poem shortlisted Bridport Poetry Prize

2019 – Poem in anthology “Dragons of the Prime” (The Emma Press)

2019 – Mi-shan shortlisted for Mslexia Novella Prize.

March 2020 – Big Green Crocodile (Otter-Barry Books).

October 2020 – poem in South Magazine

July 2021 – Big Green Crocodile shortlisted for CLIPPA award

September 2021 – two poems in Coronavirus Anthology – RedWolf Editions November 2021 – Paperback edition of Big Green Crocodile

Happy #WorldPoetryDay2022 #WorldPoetryDay I will feature your published/unpublished poetry. Please include a short third person bio. Every day should be World Poetry Day.

world poetry day 2022

Postcards in a Paper Bag

On the last night of my stay
we went to Blackburn
to hear the Hallé orchestra play
Beethoven’s fourth symphony.
It’s not the music I remember,
but our drinks at the interval –
your tomato juice, my red wine;
your home-made pork curry we had for dinner
before we set off, washed down
with lemon barley; ham sandwiches
for supper hours later at the same table.
Mark Elder spoke before the encore,
I don’t recall what he said.
We hadn’t been far that day,
just into Burnley, to the market,
I bought us morning coffee at Asda –
‘elevenses’ you called it. I still have
the postcard I bought, in the tartan
paper bag from whichever shop I got it.
There was no point in sending it
on my last day. I don’t know
what happened to the poster
of Haworth Moor you bought me
at the Parsonage the day before,
why I didn’t frame it like those
of Charlotte and Emily, or even keep it
as I did the postcard of Anne
when its frame broke.
That’s in the same tartan bag
as the one of Burnley.

-Peter J. Donnelly


Honoured and delighted to have two of my poems bookend this marvellous reading by Wendy on the theme of “Ars Poetica”. Thankyou, Wendy.

Bios And Links

-Peter J Donnelly

lives in York where he works as a hospital secretary. He has degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Wales Lampeter. He has been published in various magazines and anthologies. He recently won second prize in the Ripon Poetry Festival competition.

Featured Poet: Jude Nutter

The High Window



Jude Nutterwas born in Yorkshire, England, and grew up near Hannover, in northern Germany. She studied printmaking at Winchester School of Art (UK) and received her MFA in poetry from The University of Oregon. Her poems have appeared in numerous national and international journals and have received over forty awards and grants, including two McKnight Fellowships, The Moth International Poetry Prize, The Larry Levis Prize, The William Matthews Prize, the Joy Harjo Poetry Award, and grants from the Elizabeth George Foundation and the National Science Foundation’s Writers and Artists Program in Antarctica. Her first book-length collection,Pictures of the Afterlife(Salmon Poetry), winner of the Irish Listowel Prize, was published in 2002.The Curator of Silence(University of Notre Dame Press), her second collection, won the Ernest Sandeen Prize and was awarded the 2007 Minnesota Book Award in poetry. A third collection,I Wish I Had a Heart…

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Reviews for Spring 2022

The High Window




Iain Crichton Smith: Deer on the High Hills: Selected Poems, edited by John Greening • Edna St Vincent Millay:  Poems and SatiresLouise Glück: Winter Recipes from the Collective  • Sheri Benning: Field RequiemHannah Lowe: The The Kids  • Annemarie Austin: Shall We Go?  • Tishani DoshiA God at the Door  •  Myra Schneider: Siege and Symphony  • Anne Ryland: Unruled Journal  • Frank Dullaghan: In the Coming of Winter  Omar SabbaghMorning Lit: Portals after AliaMichael Crowley :The Battle of HeptonstallRobin Thomas: Hum  • Barry Smith: Performance Rites  • Sarah Watkinson: PhotovoltaicHubert MooreOwl Songs  • Carole Coates: When The Swimming Pool Fell Into The Sea  • Candy Neubert

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The High Window Spring 2022: Final Instalment

The High Window

Logo revised


Welcome to the final instalment of the Spring 2022 issue of The High Window. You can now view all new content via the top the top menu.

1. A selection of homegrown and international Poetry from 37 poets.

2. Poetry by Lanny Ledboer, the Featured American Poet.

3. A Translation supplement devoted to a selection of Contemporary Hebrew Poetry which has been curated by Liat Simon.

4. An Essay by Hannah Parkes Smith on some of W.H. Auden’s early poetry.

5. A comprehensive selection of poetry Reviews.

6. A selection of poems and an essay on the UK Featured Poet, Jude Nutter.

7. An introductory feature from Rowena Sommerville, who will be The High Window’s Resident Artist for 2022.

There are also four new poems in the Editor’s Spot.



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City On The Second Floor by Matt Sedillo (Flower Song Press)

Tears in the Fence

Matt Sedillo’sCity on the Second Flooris a bit of a departure stylistically for Sedillo. Sedillo, who has worked with Los Angeles poets like Luis Rodriguez, David Romero, and Luivette Resto, often deals with the profound historical inequities of people, especially people of color, in the United States. This newest collection is less a discussion of how history affects us and how those forces continue to tread upon the poor and more of a sociological approach to these same factors. He looks at the ways in which the country is designed to keep marginalized people in a permanent state of poverty, and how the national morality is designed to denigrate those who need help.

The titular poem, “City on the Second Floor,” is a discussion of how Los Angeles is really two cities and those without wealth will never be allowed on the second floor where the power resides…

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