Two Poems

Two Poems – January

Welcome to 2023 at Maytree.

We can’t quite believe that we’re now beginning our fourth year of poetry publishing and preparing to launch what will be our forty second publication out into the world.

If you’ve signed up to our newsletter then you will have already received our email inspired by the colour blue featuring news of new publications for spring and details of some of the many wonderful books already available in our online store.

It’s easy to sign up and don’t worry about spam as we’re really not that sort of operation – you’ll receive a newsletter with offers and news approximately once every two months so give it a go – we look forward to welcoming you to the Maytree family.

You can sign up here – Sign Up – Maytree Press

To help celebrate the new year we thought we’d take a look back at Sarah Barr’s appropriately titled collection, January.

Sarah is a writer of poetry, fiction and non-fiction for both children and adults. You can find out more about her work and other publications by visiting her website here – About Sarah Barr – Sarah Barr (

About January, award winning poet, John McCullough writes:

“Sarah Barr writes subtle poems that probe the edges of uncertainties, the details of objects and landscapes gradually revealing her speakers’ unease. The disjunctions in the title piece evoke the sudden leaps of a mind actively thinking, the white spaces between stanzas inviting us to imagine what’s going on beneath the clipped surface of the language. Elsewhere, simple phrasing holds carefully nuanced images: the menace of cracking ice, a long-married couple surrounded by ‘masks / and stiff-limbed, velvet-dressed dolls.’ The writing carries on unfolding inside the reader long after their eyes have left the page.”

But don’t just take our words for it, you can also read the collection of five star reviews in our online store here – January by Sarah Barr – Maytree Press


This time I’m taking more notice –
the sandbags, submerged fields,
flooded crypt, the marooned town.

There’s more water than the land
can use, or the skies hold.

Perhaps it’s natural
to shiver with excitement
at this odd, reflective world.

A swan wings upward, abandons
its mirror-image on the bright lagoon.

Are there going to be two
of everything, including me?

I think about new surfaces
and new below-the-surfaces.

Earwigs are gorging on lush
peony heads

Their brittle bodies, pincers and folded wings,
remind me of childhood
and our proximity to small creatures like these
living in earth, bark and under stones
where we found their pearly eggs.

I can still hear my brother chuckling,
see his smile and smudged, rosy cheeks
as he gathers and stuffs these insects into his ears.
It made a sort of logic to a three-year-old,
then perhaps bewildered
as my mother shrieked and tried to shake them out.

I want to remember him outside playing
before the rules took over.

January, along with many other great titles, is available from our online store now. And don’t miss out as for the remainder of January every book order receives a free limited edition Maytree Press tote bag which is perfect for carrying your favourite books.

Visit our store here – Products – Maytree Press


Village Voices – celebrating art and poetry

We are delighted to announce that we will be working with the newly formed Marsden Community Poetry group to bring you an anthology that promises to be one of the most entertaining reads of 2023.

Celebrating art and poetry from the diverse and inclusive communities of Kirklees and the South Pennines, Village Voices will be an inspiring collection of poetry and art that celebrates diversity, inclusivity, and equality. This is a post-pandemic anthology – a book that gives a voice back to our communities.

It’s often said that people just don’t read poetry. Well, Marsden Community Poetry want to prove them wrong. Remember, Marsden was the place where Poetry Pubs found fame and where the windows of village shops are often adorned with posters of poetry from all age groups, so perhaps it’s not a bad idea.

And if you didn’t already know, Marsden was home to our current Poet Laureate and also happens to be where Maytree HQ is based.

The anthology will be edited by a panel of acclaimed authors and poets selected by the group – please note that Maytree are not involved with the editorial process.

So, if you are a poet or an artist and you either live in the towns or villages of the South Pennines or have been inspired by lives, landscapes and stories of the area then now is the time to be part of this amazing new collection

To submit please follow these guidelines:

The anthology is aimed at a general audience.

Your poem:

Submit one original poem. Simultaneous submissions are discouraged as the editors and publishers are all volunteers and simply do not have time to change things once your poem has been accepted. Previously published poems are welcomed so long as the author retains copyright.

Although there is no specific theme, the editors are particularly interested in poems that promote and celebrate the diverse and inclusive communities of the towns and villages of the South Pennine.

Maximum line length not including title or breaks is 25. Longer poems may be considered, please send a cover note if this applies.


Black and white only – sorry but we are unable to accept colour illustrations. The illustration should be Portrait, with space around. Do not draw a border.

Please do not sign – all images will be credited to the artists separately. Please send a high-resolution JPG of the image – original work is not required.

Please contact the project team if you are unable to produce a high quality image.


Copyright remains with the author and/or artist.

By submitting you agree to inclusion into the anthology and its publication and the selection process.

Selection process:

Please send your best poem. All work will be considered by the Marsden Community Poetry working group with final selection by our editorial team.

By submitting your work, you agree that the Editors reserve the right to publish or arrange broadcast of selected works. The right to use any included poems to further publicise the anthology is also retained.


Marsden Community Poetry are looking forward to receiving your work. Submissions will not be considered after midnight Sunday 22 January 2023


Send your work to


Two Poems – The Sound Recordist

Today, in our regular feature, we are joining in with the BBC’s centenary celebrations by sharing two poems from The Sound Recordist by Seán Street.

The sequence of poems in The Sound Recordist is based on Seán’s lifelong career within the radio industry. It is an exploration of sound, described by Kevin Gardner of the The Wild Court Review as a primer on the nature of hearing.

Seán is a poet, radio practitioner, teacher, and a writer of many prose
works that explore the philosophical nature of sound. He spent his schooldays
in Sheffield and student years in Birmingham where he embarked on a career
as an actor, initially at the old Birmingham Repertory Theatre, before moving
into radio. He has published nine full collections of poems, the latest of which,
Camera Obscura (Rockingham Press, May 2016,) examines his
preoccupation with time, space and communication, as did his anthology of
radio poems, Radio Waves (Enitharmon , 2004). His latest prose work is The
Sound of a Room: Memory and the Auditory Presence of Place. (Routledge,
2020.) Between 2017 and 2019, Palgrave Macmillan published his Sound
Poetics trilogy: Sound Poetics (2017) Sound at the Edge of Perception (2018)
and The Sound Inside the Silence (2019). Other prose includes The Poetry
of Radio – The Colour of Sound (Routledge, 2013), which was published in
2013, followed by The Memory of Sound – Preserving the Sonic Past, also by
Routledge, (2014). In 2015 Rowman and Littlefield published an updated,
extended and revised edition of his 2006 work, The Historical Dictionary of
British Radio. Other prose includes The Dymock Poets (Seren, 1994, new
edition, 2014) and The Wreck of the Deutschland (Souvenir Press, 1993), an
historical study of events surrounding the writing of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s
great poem. He is a regular collaborator with the English choral composer,
Cecilia McDowall and their work is published by Oxford University Press.
Cecilia and Seán are currently engaged on a major three-part work
commissioned by Glasgow School of Art Choir, to be premiered in 2022. In
the Spring of 2020, BBC Radio 3 commissioned their work, Photo 51, about
the crystallographer Rosalind Franklin.

Wild Track

Wild track they call it. The sound
of air going on round us.
The moment happening while
our back’s turned. To get away
from it, build a box. Time switched
on by a red light, its walls
suddenly listening live.
Perfect acoustic silence,
carte blanche. The infinite page.
A blank empty room filled with
possibility. Beyond
it the wide transparent space
where the wild track waits,
beating wings on the air.

Notes on Using the Studio

Listen to each person you meet here
as if what they say is the last thing you will ever know.
But question all clubs – fellowships can breed closed factions.
Celebrate the clean line of pure thought,
but please beware the avenging mafia of fixed opinion.
Observe how your silence interrogates noise
and how your attention questions its decoration.
Here there is ambience beyond ornament.
Warning: meaning lies between things. Take great care.
All sound is electric. This machine proves it.

The Sound Recordist is available from our store now – The Sound Recordist by Seán Street – Maytree Press


Cover reveal – Maytree 40

We are delighted to unveil the cover for our coming of age pamphlet, Olivia Dawson’s Unbottled.

Unbottled features the stunning artwork of Maytree favourite, Samantha Read who previously worked on Nicola Warwick’s collection, Naming the Land.

Unbottled is Olivia’s second pamphlet with Maytree and we’re absolutely delighted to be working on this thought provoking collection.

Originally titled, Spitting into Bottles after the poem, in this collection of poems we join the author on a journey of discovery as she digs beneath the truth to discover the roots of her ancestry.

Provisional release date is Friday 28 October 2022. Look out for news of launch events coming soon.

Spitting into Bottles

My mother’s mother has a lover
my mother’s mother’s lover is a puzzle
my mother’s mother leaves my mother
in a Home for awkward silences.

A mother-to-no-one loves
my mother’s dimples, takes my mother in
feeds her fresh baked cinnamon swirls
gives her a father-figure who whistles

but my mother searches and searches
finds her blood mother who tells her nothing
my mother searches and searches
finds half-of-a-much-younger-sister

who isn’t silenced. My mother’s half-
of-a-much-younger-sister doesn’t know
there’s another half, she doesn’t know a thing.
My mother’s other half, half looks

like me and my father wobbles
when he spots our sameness, warns me
off boys. I spit into a bottle to find
my mother’s mother’s runaway lover

I spit into another bottle to find the mother
of my mother’s mother’s lover, I want to discover
why I’m not blessed with long slim legs
and a thigh gap like no other.

About the Author

Olivia Dawson, originally from London, has also lived in France and Brazil.
She divides her time between London, and the Sintra Hills near Lisbon, and
is the Poetry Society Stanza rep for the Lisbon area. Recent poems have been
published in 14 Magazine, Eye Flash Poetry, Iamb – poetry seen and heard,
Alchemy Spoon, Magma, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal, Time & Tide
(Arachne Press) Coast to Coast to Coast, The Poetry Village, ROAM 1
The University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies. She has been longlisted
for the National Poetry Competition, shortlisted for Paper Swans Press
Pamphlet Competition, and shortlisted for Poetry on the Lake Competition.
Her debut pamphlet Unfolded was published by Maytree Press in 2020 and
Unbottled is her second pamphlet.


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