Two Poems

Two Poems – The Ghost Hospital

The Ghost Hospital by Pauline Rowe

In this new feature, we re-visit some Maytree classics that you may have missed along the way.

What better way to start than the 2020 Saboteur Award runner up (to another Maytree pamphlet).

Written mainly during Pauline’s research for her PHD, The Ghost Hospital is a dark and sometimes harrowing collection that explores the unnerving world of health care in the 1800s. Whilst the themes of love, loss, legacy and illness may be universal, the setting is as unique as each of the seventeen poems in this stunning book.

Pauline’s second collection, The Weight of Snow won the 2021 Saboteur Award and has now sold out. Don’t miss out of this treasure from our archives.

Making Faces
watching ‘R.D.Laing Has No Face’ on YouTube


You look like a fine, 

Russian dancer 

or mime artist.


Do you follow the news 

in the dark or shadow land – 

can you hear us think about you?  


When we read your books 

are you released 

from some small agony? 

Like a plenary indulgence? 


I watch your face become 

your mother’s face

– what you remembered 

as your mother’s face 


how you try to emulate 

her mask of sorrow, 

in your own features 

the expression that flooded 

her cruel face, one rare day – 

when your father brought home 

a birthday gift, a small box 

within a larger box; 


anticipation deliberately engineered 

for his pleasure, 


fragments of him, 

ten cut toe-nails 

from his hard, dirty feet.

Bequest

I bequeath him my skull

(inside which he leads another life),


my hip bones, the roots of my teeth, my scars,

the ones tight with secrets like lieder, 

the ones that ache when it rains.


I go back in dreams to that cold kitchen,

stirring porridge on a 2-ring stove.


I didn’t see the devil that winter

nor dress even the smallest tree.


I forgot the accommodations of ribbons

though there was frost enough for two.


It replays itself, his head to one side,

playful, keeping his word, so real 

I can taste his breath.


My desire then was a pearl –

perfect, no start, no end, no memory of grit.

The Ghost Hospital by Pauline Rowe – Maytree Press

Publishing

Maytree 39 – cover reveal

We are thrilled to release the cover for Maytree 39 featuring stunning new artwork by our friend Caroline Brown. Night after Night in the Quiet House by Sarah Hemings will be released on Thursday 6 October 2022 as part of our celebration for National Poetry Day 2022.

The collection was chosen from our open submission window in 2021 and will be Sarah’s debut pamphlet. The poems focus on the different methods used to process loss over time and how we can gradually realign ourselves to a new set of circumstances.

Kate Bush fans may recognise the title as a line from one of her earlier songs – no prizes but you’re welcome to comment below. You never know, we might get another Kate song to number one.

Sarah Hemings is a Poet and Chartered Librarian from Bristol. In 2019 she won First Prize in the Gloucestershire Writers’ Network Poetry Competition for her poem, ‘vestry’, and again in 2021 for ‘Eastertide’. Sarah is a member of The Poetry Society and Trowbridge Stanza and tweets at @SarahHemings1. From March-July 2021 she was mentored by Fiona Benson, under the Dialect Mentoring Scheme (a competitive scheme funded by Arts Council England).

You can find out more about the artist, Caroline Brown here Caroline Brown artist

Publishing

The 2022 Three Trees Portfolio Award

We are delighted to announce the winner and the runners up for the 2022 Three Trees Portfolio Award.

Congratulations to Lisa Blackwell whose collection, How it will happen will be published as a Three Trees edition later this year.

Described by our team as a compelling and memorable set of prose poems that explore various formative experiences across several years. This collection is emotionally engaging, giving a sense of deeply felt experience. Shocking, brutal, darkly-funny and tender, the voice of the poems is authentic and personal.

Shortlisted Poets:

Hannah Stone and Mandy Pannett

Longlisted Poets:

Isabel Bermudez, Pauline Rowe, Susan Clark, Sue Wallace-Shaddad, Alex Josephy, Sharon Phillips and Ama Bolton.

A note from one of our editors.

What was I looking for?
I read poetry in the hope of being surprised, informed, impressed, entertained and moved. Sometimes a single poem has one or more of these attributes. I enjoy poems which have a sense of rhythm and musicality, poems with line breaks and white space that is working in the service of the poem. I enjoy a willingness to experiment with different forms, always guided by the poem’s theme, subject or narrative content. When reading a pamphlet, the parts often add up to something that builds and coheres and leaves a lasting impression. I was delighted to find this was the case with all the longlisted pamphlets. Not only was a great deal of technical ability on display, but it was also clear that each poet had thought carefully about how the poems might work together. I hope that all the longlisted poets can take encouragement from the fact that the quality of the work made this choice a difficult one.
In the end I decided on a set of poems that were arresting, poems that took me into the poet’s world. The ‘voice’ of these poems is candid, consistent, and compelling. I felt an emotional connection through these poems, and they gave me a striking and memorable insight into experiences beyond my own.

Roy Marshall, July 2022.

Thank you once again to everyone who entered the Award. All Longlisted poets have now been contacted. Unfortunately we are unable to offer individual feedback.

We look forward to seeing more of your work in 2023.


Publishing

The Everyday Unspeakable

As part of our summer publishing schedule, Maytree 38 will be available from the 15 July 2022.

The Everyday Unspeakable by Tom Clucas is a personal record of non-belonging and of struggling to find a home in, what the author describes as, this “beautiful bastard of a world”.

Spanning a variety of contemporary forms and voices, the poems grapple (as the title implies) with the unspeakable aspects of everyday life. Stretching the boundaries of language, the pieces in this collection seek to voice marginalised experiences and create new bonds of commonality through their searching exploration of illness, poverty, overwork, displacement, conflict, and death. Yet they also remind the reader—through their heightened rhythms, images, and cadences—of the wonder and startling brevity of human life, building through the fleeting visions of a series of outcast speakers to their own unexpected image of utopia.

The Everyday Unspeakable will be available from the 15 July 2022.

About the Author:

Tom Clucas writes about belonging and the lack of belonging from the outside perspective of an LGBT+ poet with an autism spectrum condition. Having won the Lawrence Sail poetry prize at a young age, he went on to complete his DPhil at Oxford, supervised by the poet Lucy Newlyn. While there, he published poems and articles in numerous journals and won further competitions, including the Lord Alfred Douglas and Poem on a Sacred Subject prizes, judged by Simon Armitage, Bernard O’Donoghue and Michael Schmidt. Tom then moved to be with his civil partner in Germany, where he worked as a Deputy Professor, continued to publish both poems and articles and was shortlisted for the Melita Hume prize by Mark Ford. Following their struggles to find citizenship and a home after Brexit, he and his partner retrained as lawyers and moved to London, where he realised a longstanding fascination with the City and now advises on billion-dollar fundraisings. In the small hours, he continues to hone his writing, with craft and challenge being the watchwords of his poetry.

Don’t forget – we are currently celebrating the launch of our new on-line shop with a half-price sale – all items have been discounted – take a look Products – Maytree Press

Publishing

Maytree 37 – cover reveal

We’re are very excited to reveal our cover for Maytree 37 as, what turns out to be a first for our press, we have been able to combine the author’s own artwork within the design.

The Storm in the Piano by Christopher James features poems inspired by history and music; peacocks and swimming pools, and are peopled by the famous, the tragic and obscure. From Charles Blondin teetering on a high wire strung around the Earth, to Buddy Holly being blasted from a basement in Damascus, they cross borders of space and time. Whether it’s Picasso wing walking on a French biplane, or the Warden of Pluto patiently waiting to be relieved, the poems all explore our potential and what it means to lead a good life. 

Christopher James is a first prize winner of the National Poetry Competition (2008) the Ledbury, Oxford Brooks and Bridport prizes. He is also a recipient of an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors. He has published several collections, including Farewell to the Earth (Arc, 2011), and The Fool (Templar, 2014). He has also published three Sherlock Holmes novels, including The Adventure of the Ruby Elephants (MX, 2015). He lives in Suffolk with his family, folding bicycle and ukulele.

The cover features Christopher’s cut-up, The house of poet Stephen Spender at 15 Loudoun Road, St. John’s Wood, London.

Christopher describes the inspiration for his artwork as follows:

In 2020, inspired in equal part by Matisse and Peter Blake, I started creating paper cut-up collages – first of still life (especially instruments and fruit) then architecture and landscapes. I typically work to A3 size, but have gone as large as a metre square, and as small as A4. I cut up the pieces, as if assembling my own jigsaw. Once I’ve got everything in the right place, I take a photo to make a note of the positioning. Only then do I start the painstaking process of sticking things down. Pritt Stick is my glue of choice, as it gives you about five seconds’ grace, when you can reposition things if they’re not quite right. One of my biggest projects has been a sequence of 20 ‘houses of the poets.’ I started with Dove Cottage, home of Dorothy and William Wordsworth and the logical next move was Coleridge’s rather grander residence at Greta Hall. Keats’ House in Hampstead followed, as did John Betjeman’s flat in Cloth Fair, London, and the Bronte parsonage.  At the same time, I reread their poetry. The process is totally immersive and takes you very close to the spirit of the poet and their work. Working for half an hour on a window Sylvia Plath might have leant out of, takes you uniquely close. I enjoy exploring different styles of architecture; the effect of different lights and times of day — from Pablo Neruda’s surrealist self-designed house in Chile to Edward Thomas’ very ordinary cottage in Surrey. I find my artwork the perfect companion (and antidote) to writing poetry. As someone once said: ‘you can’t write poems all the time.’ 

And here’s a link to Christopher’s online gallery: Houses of the poets – The Friday Poem

The Storm in the Piano will be officially released on the 17 June 2022 and we can’t wait!

Don’t forget that it’s not too late for a chance to see your work published as a special Three Trees Edition later this year – you have until midnight on the 30 April 2022 to enter our Portfolio Award. Enter here Three Trees Portfolio Award | Maytree Press (bigcartel.com)