David Spicer


David Spicer has published poems in The American Poetry Review, CircleStreet, Gargoyle, Moria, Oyster River Pages, Ploughshares, Remington Review, Santa Clara Review, The Sheepshead Review, Steam Ticket, Synaeresis, Third Wednesday, Yellow Mama, and elsewhere. Nominated for a Best of the Net three times and a Pushcart twice, he is author of six chapbooks and four full-length collections, the latest two being American Maniac (Hekate Publishing) and Confessional (Cyberwit.net). His fifth, Mad Sestina King, is forthcoming from FutureCycle Press. His website is http://www.davidspicer76.com.


Early morning. Neighbors slept like spoiled cats. I guessed they dreamed as I rode past their homes,   homes quiet as dreams, not guessing my bike ride. Robins fussed before the moon blessed me.   The moon blessed the fussing robins’ songs. I jogged and thought of you coughing in the dark.   Had your dark cough jogged my thought of you…

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Vatsala Radhakeesoon


Born in Mauritius in 1977, Vatsala Radhakeesoon is the author of various poetry books and an experimental abstract artist.

She started writing poems in English at the age of 14 and kept on expanding her poetic skills in other languages such as French, Mauritian Kreol and Hindi.
Vatsala Radhakeesoon is one of the representatives of Immagine and Poesia, an Italy based literary movement uniting artists and poets’ works. She has been selected as one of the poets for Guido Gozzano Poetry contest from 2016 to 2019. Her haiku book Tropical Temporariness has also been nominated for University of North Texas (UNT) Rilke prize 2020 .At the age of 41 in 2019 Vatsala started abstract painting and considers this as a miraculous turning point in her life.

Vatsala Radhakeesoon currently lives at Rose-Hill, Mauritius and her day job is that of a literary translator. She is also one of the interview…

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Glenn Hubbard


Glenn Hubbard lives in Madrid, where he teaches an English which is often rather ugly. Perhaps for this reason he started writing poetry.

He has had work published in a large number of online and paper journals. One of his poems was submitted for the Forward Prize

in 2019 and this year he won the Bangor Literary Journal’s FORTY WORDS competition with his poemThirlage. He can occasionally

become a little obsessiveabout a poem but this is amply compensated for the marvelous experience of losing all sense of time while

he writes. His poetry owes a great deal to that of the late R.F. Langley.

The Beneficence of the Foxglove

See how contentedly the bee ascends each bell within the woody dell.
See how well it fits.
See the bright trumpets; the rambler’s delight.
See how the sickly babe revives, how the parent cries He lives! No longer…

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Sarah Mackey Kirby


Sarah Mackey Kirby is a Kentucky poet and writer. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Boston Literary Magazine, Connecticut River Review, Impspired, Muddy River Poetry Review, Rat’s Ass Review, and elsewhere. She holds an MA in Teaching and a BA in Political Science. She is focusing on her writing and taking a break from teaching high school history to students who nicknamed her Momma Kirbs and kept her current on young folk lingo.

Compass from the Ruins

I wonder if your dad hadn’t died whether we would have met. Or if he’d done it a different way. Something less son-wrecking than with rope, waiting for you to find him among old boxes and garage tools. If your heart had been just a little less shredded, the pictures in your head a bit less acidic. If we would have happened. Or if I’d stayed home, and that chilly…

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Linnet Pheonix


Linnet Phoenix is a poet who lives in North Somerset, England. She has been writing poetry for years. Her work has previously been published in Impspired, Punk Noir Magazine, Raven Cage Zine and Open Skies Quarterly. She also enjoys horse-riding.

Cursive Kisses

I listen to the night breeze
for it tells tales of you.
Whispering sweet words
so low I cannot hear
which fae story is told.
I place favour on paper.
Black ink that sinks soft
in grains. A perfume lingers.
Cursive kisses blown,
fingertip touches the void
feeling hair tendrils
with soft twist, a wistful
smile of darkened eyes.
The morning sun may lie
swathed in night clouds
as the blackbird sings
a song of days evermore.


Evergreen it holds leaves fast as winter winds tear and rip, heart shaped shaking, waiting for spring warmth. This thing evolves, transcends magnolia blush buds of lust past, blooms of…

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Review of ‘In the simmer dim’ by Barbara Cumbers

Nigel Kent - Poet and Reviewer

This week it is my pleasure to review Barbara Cumbers’ memorable depiction of the Shetland Islands in her latest collection, In the simmer dim (Dempsey and Windle, 2022). I have known Barbara for some time as a fellow member of the Open University Poets’ Society and have long been an admirer of her poetry. It is six years since her first collection, A gap in the rain (Indigo Dreams, 2016), so this new work has been eagerly awaited.

Written in response to a number of extended stays on the islands, Cumbers uses her finely-tuned powers of observation and her aptitude for striking imagery to bring alive their distinctive landscapes and bird life. She is a geologist and ornithologist and it shows. Take for example her poem describing the effects of seasonal change on the appearance of the puffins (Winter puffins). She beautifully characterizes the comic appearance of the…

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Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Tristan Moss

The cold war cover by Tristan Moss

-Tristan Moss

lives in York with his partner and two youngish children. Over the past 12 years, he has had many poems published in online and paper magazines, such as Magma, Ink Sweat & Tears, Obsessed with Pipework, Snakeskin, Dreich, Poems in the Waiting Room, London Grip & Shadowtrain. He has recently had a pamphlet published entitled The Cold War (Lapwing Publications).

It can be purchased here:


Or if Twitter users DM Tristan, @Tristanmossss they can purchase a copy directly from him.

The Interview

1. When and why did you start writing poetry?

About 20 years ago, I was in an Oxfam bookshop in Sheffield and picked up a book of early Chinese poetry (One Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems translated by Arthur Waley). This book sparked my interest in poetry. The poems were written with simple, clear language and had images and ideas I could understand.

My initial interest in Chinese poetry led me to read Japanese poetry too, specifically haiku, senryu and tanka. After a while, I started to try and write some of these short forms. I also became interested in imagist poets, such as Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams, due to their link to Japanese and Chinese poetry. As my interest in poetry grew, I read more widely.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

I don’t think anyone introduced me to poetry. I have introduced both my kids to poetry though. And my daughter now loves reading and writing poems and recently had one published in Snakeskin. I was so proud of her.  

3. How aware are and were you of the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary?

I’m not nor ever have been aware of the dominating presence of older poets.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

I don’t have one. I write when I have time and when I have ideas, which might mean when I’m walking to work, cooking tea for the kids, or after I’ve got them to bed.  

Once I have an idea or image that interests me, I become quite focused on finding the right words to describe/develop it. If I don’t have any specific ideas or images that I’m passionate about, I sometimes go through old ones that I failed to develop into successful poems, in the hope of seeing a new way of using one.  

5. What subjects motivate you to write?

The pamphlet that I recently published (The Cold War) was written because I wanting to describe events in my childhood and how the loss of my parents made me feel. However, subjects don’t usually motivate me to write. The ideas or images I have that relate to them do.

6. What is your work ethic?

I write whenever I feel moved to and have time. Writing is a privilege and a haven for me. If I’m worried about something, writing and getting lost in language and ideas can often help me escape this worry for a period.

7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence your work today?

I didn’t really read poetry when I was at school as I am dyslexic, and I didn’t have the reading skill to understand it. But in my 30s, I was influenced by early Chinese and Japanese poetry which still have an impact on my work today.

8. Whom of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

I admire so many. I love what Kay Ryan does – her brevity and the subtle ideas embedded in her poems. I also love Ian Seed’s prose-poems which are so fertile with ideas and pull you in with their excellent use of rhythm.

Four poetry books I return to are Miroslav Holub’s Poems Before & After, Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities (I realise that some wouldn’t call this a poetry book), T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, and One Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems translated by Arthur Waley.

9. Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?

Writing gives me pleasure because I like using language to frame ideas and images so that they offer new ways of viewing a topic. What drives me is the possibility of being able to provide entry to a new viewpoint on a subject.  

10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

I’d say try to write about the feelings, topics or ideas that hold meaning for you, and read! I’d also say, don’t be put off by people who tell you that you’re not a writer.

11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

At present, I have a lot of short poems (about 70) that I believe in and want to group together into a couple of pamphlets or one collection. I’m currently trying to get them to coalesce around a single theme or make a cohesive sequence, but this has to be a natural fit, so we’ll see how this plays out and whether they become one collection or two pamphlets.

12. How did you decide on the order of the poems in the book?

The poems that lead up to ‘Background Information’ relate to my childhood. I wanted each of them to build on the poem that came before, and add new aspects to what it was like growing up within my family situation. I also wanted these initial poems to provide an emotional context for the following poems about losing my parents and the different ways I loved them. Putting the poems in this order just felt intuitively right to me. I’d like to think that this pamphlet can be seen as one long poem.

13. How influential are haikus for the small poems in your book?

Short Japanese forms have definitely influenced the shorter poems in this collection, but so has 20th century imagist poetry. 

14. What attracts you to imagist poetry?

I like its concision and use of simple, clear language and concrete images. 

15. How important is nature in your writing?

I grew up in a remote, old farmhouse in the Yorkshire Wolds that my parents rented for £7 a month. We moved there when I was 4 in 1973. For the first five years we lived there, my parents were on the dole and we grew our own veg and kept chickens, ducks, a few goats and a donkey. My brother and I were very much free-range kids: I loved exploring the surrounding woods, valleys, hills, streams, hedges, and trees, in all weathers.

These formative experiences have left me with vivid memories of the Wolds’ landscape and its flora and fauna, which I sometimes use as images in my poems to speak of other things. My poem The Old Ash, in my new pamphlet, is an example of this. It’s based on a tree I used to climb when a child until one night it was blown down.

Thinking about your question has made me realise that nature is a theme I write quite a lot about and enjoy exploring in my poetry. The following three short poems are examples of this.

The Dog Rose

threads its way
through the elder and the hawthorn
and blooms a single layer
of five pink petals: a simple,
untamed beauty, howling
from the hedgerow.

the edge

across the field
flakes of flint
that may
or may not have been
scrapers, blades,
arrow heads

it’s hard to see
where nature ends
and man begins


No one has weeded
or sprayed between the flagstones,
and a multitude of dandelions
have bloomed.

16. Once they have read “the cold war” what do you want the reader to leave with?

This is a difficult question. I wrote the poems in ‘The Cold War’ for myself. I felt the need to record events and my emotional responses to them. Putting the collection together was a working out of things as much as anything for me after both my parents had died. I hope that readers might be able to connect with some of these poems on a personal level and that some have emotional resonance. I like Ian Seed’s reading of my pamphlet very much: “together [these poems] form an elegy for his parents”. 

Pearl & Bone by Mari Ellis Dunning (Parthian Books)

Tears in the Fence

Rebecca Goss’ back cover quote describes this book as a ‘profound study of the maternal journey’, but Dunning’s weighty ‘Foreword’ makes it clear that this is not just a personal story of pregnancy, giving birth and motherhood, but a thematic collection hung on that story to consider lockdown, abortion rights, historical associations and issues ‘of medical bias, gendered violence, misogyny, control over women’s bodies and reproductive rights, the praising of chastity and virginity, and the notion of female bodies as vessels alone’. Quite a list, and one Dunning seems nervous about tackling ‘through poetry alone’, suggesting thatPearl & Boneis just her starting point.

The book opens gently, with the narrator sharing the news of her pregnancy with her partner as they walk a mountain trail, although the poem is addressed to the already born child, a story in the past tense. ‘You were a fish’ relates movement in…

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Tough thought it maybe. It is no good chasing journals. No matter how impressive or lauded on Twitter and other social media. You have your own path to follow. Believe in your own creativity. Editors have their own vision. You don’t need to be a part of it, if your vision differs. I’m as much reminding myself as yourselves. Some metal shines brighter from being buffeted!

Spirit Mother: Experience the Myth

Patricia M Osborne

Interview with Paul Brookes – The Wombwell Rainbow

Spirit Mother was launched on 6th August 2022 by The Hedgehog Poetry Press. My publication date was magical thanks to Paul Brookes who interviewed me throughout the day and publicised my answers on his website. Paul has now made it so the reader can read the collective interview in one place.

If you click HERE you’ll be able to read all Paul’s questions and my answers. I’m told it makes for interesting reading.

Thank you, Paul Brookes for making my day extra special.

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