SISTERS IN SPITFIRES
Alison Hill has been published widely in magazines and online and has two previous collections, Peppercorn Rent (Flarestack, 2008) and Slate Rising (Indigo Dreams, 2014).
Anthologies include And The Story Isn’t Over (poetrypRO, 2009), This Island City (Spinnaker Press, 2010), poetry tREnD (LIT Verlag, Berlin 2010), Words in Praise of Nedd Ludd (Free Radicals and Luddites200, 2013), Poets in Person (Indigo Dreams, 2014), Poems for a Liminal Age (SPM Publications, 2015) and Fanfare (Second Light Publications, 2015). Her work has been translated into German and Romanian via poetry pf.
Alison was Kingston Libraries’ first Poet in Residence. She was awarded funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England for researching and writing Sisters in Spitfires.
SISTERS IN SPITFIRES
Indigo Dreams Publishing
138 x 216mm
£8.99 + P&P UK
PUB: OCTOBER 2015
Sisters in Spitfires celebrates the lives of the women who flew everything from Tiger Moths to four-engined Lancaster bombers with the ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary) during the Second World War, focusing on their love of the Spitfire in particular and highlighting their valuable role in the war. Supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
“Alison’s beautiful poetry helps us share the myriad of emotions these wonderful women went through in the most testing of times.” Pauline Vahey
British Women Pilots’ Association
“Alison Hill has really captured my mother's spirit of adventure, her joy of flying, her love of nature, life and her sense of fun.”
“Wonderful, wistful poems that convey so many different women and their unassuming bravery together with the glamour of the age.”
“Alison Hill captures the fire and spirit of ‘sisters’ called from an everyday ‘women’s world’ to display courage and determination on chilly airfields, in soaring Spitfires; their insouciance and unflappability shine through these portraits of heroines whose poetic stories are now taking off in style.”
A Trail of Oranges
For Pauline Gower and her school friend
She’d climbed every tree in the grounds
and leapt from every dormitory window;
the scent of oranges, hidden beneath
bloomers, recalling a stolen afternoon
up and over the high school walls
towards a delicious taste of freedom.
Shaking off regulations, bouncing curls
heralding friendship and laughter; a pair
on the cusp of just-around-the-corner.
Strolling through the market, selecting
their fare, the afternoon languished ahead.
Yet the chime of the church clock conjured
nuns’ impatience, the sharp tang of incense.
Leaping back over the wall, straight to chapel
Pauline was mortified to feel her elastic give,
half-turning to spot a steady trail of oranges
rolling down the aisle. One came to rest beside
Sister Agatha’s shoe. She declined to notice.
The Cover Girl
Maureen Dunlop was caught
on the cover of Picture Post
stepping fresh from a plane.
A breeze ruffling her curls,
she graced every breakfast
table, set many hearts aflame.
It was a perfect press moment,
unscripted, and they knew it.
She was forever that girl from
the plane, one hand to her hair
cap and goggles in the other,
an image of carefree glamour.
She’d told the photographers
she was busy, had a Barracuda
to put away, but then smoothed
her hair, smiled as the sun flared
her youth, her golden bracelet,
and there she was – cover girl!
Dora Lang was giving a lift to Flight Engineer
Janice Harrington; it seemed an ordinary day,
one more flight in her work for the ATA.
She would have focused her mind sharply
on her landing, as always, and she knew
Lasham well, her plane even better.
She was considered to be a pilot with flair,
sure and steady and particularly happy
that day, a sunny day like any other.
Yet in that moment before the stone drops,
akin to a horse rearing at rustling paper
or lashing out in a sudden temper,
their Mosquito bucked upon landing,
reared up and burst into flames. Those left
behind tried to stop the darkness from
descending, as they watched the draped
coffins through flickers of late autumn sun,
as they tried to comprehend.