GEOFF STEVENS MEMORIAL POETRY PRIZE 2018 IS NOW OPEN
Hannah Stone has an MA in Creative Writing from Leeds Trinity University, where she established the concept of the Wordspace imprint, since published by Indigo Dreams Publishing, the first volume being ‘An After-Dinner’s Sleep’, a collaboration with Gill Lambert and Maria Preston.
Her first solo collection, Lodestone, was published by Stairwell Books, York in 2016.
She won the Yorkshire Poetry Prize for the Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet Competition in 2015/6 (judged by Billy Collins) and was a winner of the Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize in 2016.
London born Hannah has lived in Leeds for many years and she is a welcome reader and facilitator on the northern poetry circuits as well as further afield.
She is co-editor of the poetry ezine Algebra of Owls, and convenes the annual poets’ and composers’ forum for the Leeds Lieder Festival.
She has been published in a number of anthologies, and in print and online journals including The North, Dream Catcher, Ground, Snakeskin, Poesia Indignada and Caught in the Net.
138 x 216mm
£7.99 + P&P UK
PUB: JUNE 2017
In vibrant but accessible poems, Missing Miles roams through Britain, mythology, and recent history, commenting on the quintessential millennial quest for comprehension and compassion. Sometimes acerbic, often tender, this second collection by writer Hannah Stone accompanies the reader to familiar places and then in new directions.
‘An assured and impressive second collection. I love Hannah Stone’s poems for their sharp observation, wit, Northern flavour and wonderful sense of place.’
‘Missing Miles offers us a world in balance, its poems poised between stillness and storm, word and music, the unknowing and the unknowable. With equal parts care and boldness, Stone’s lines are tightly held and lightly let go, and we never know which way they’ll fall.’
Winner Geoff Stevens Memorial
Poetry Prize 2016
‘FP Castle Bolton, 2 ½ miles.’
The gate swings open,
brushing nettles and benign cow parsley,
leading to a path curving perversely
through rough sweet stubble,
yielding to the sudden cool of a thicket
of alders and willows, muddy boot prints
beside a plank bridge.
Then, uncut hay sighs as you pass through it,
looking for the next finger post.
‘FP Castle Bolton, 2 ½ miles.’
The charitable view might be
that the surveyor got distracted
by the curlew cranking open
his scimitar beak to split
the still air, or lost concentration
when a stone barn appeared, filling
the summer sky with fidgets of swallows.
Maybe it was a light-fingered cartographer,
hungry for a taste of summer peace.
He hears the essence of the landscape
in the peewit’s peevish cry,
gets the measure of the drystone walls,
gathers the aimless sheep
and a handful of meadow crane-bill
and folds the missing half mile into his pocket.
Aesthetically, I admit I am charmed
by the casual symmetry
of stripes, the voluptuous
moist opening into which you retreat
but, snail, this is contested land.
This is mine, my more than space and time
hedged between the strident calls
of kitchen and office,
boundaried by marking and ironing,
my space for welcoming the fall
of freckled sunlight wriggling
through unpruned boughs,
for relishing the quickening
of green spears knifing their way
through recalcitrant soil,
for blessing the gracious fruit
which colours as it swells,
my time for tranquil minutes
after breakfast, culling handfuls
of rocket and parsley
to sharpen my mid-day salad,
for popping out at dusk to gather laundry
which has spent my absence
absorbing the garden’s fragrance.
and the occasional spider.
I’ve been kind and patient, all day –
now, it’s war with molluscs –
death by the blue pellet,
or the rank sweetness
of the beer trap.
A figure-skater in soft slippers,
she sketches shapes on my spine,
her work marked by the tracery she leaves.
Warmed fingers find knots,
pop them like bubblewrap;
she poises a fingertip on the summit
of my shoulder blade. Her tunic rustles
as she reaches for more oil,
then both thumbs glide in a long crossed chassé
to the edge of the towel,
and, because she is a stranger to me,
my body cannot anticipate the next twizzle,
or where her palm will come to rest,
nor how far she will venture to pummel
the contours stretched on her table.
Surfacing, my senses collect themselves,
as she cradles one forearm, shakes tension into limpness.
Now, knuckles knead the heel of my hand;
joints click in sympathy with the heating.
Wind and hail clatter, no-nonsense, against the windowpane.
She pivots, runs her hands from nape to coccyx,
skims a flattering hourglass on my back,
bends to whisper into my abandoned hair,
tells me she’s done.
The week after I relinquished
a big, bad wolf of a job,
I started to sift the boxes of papers
that had contained my role,
rationalising long-kept notes
of other people’s evidence,
recycling redundant knowledge;
shifting up to the loft things to be kept.
Here, cobwebs are sketchy traps
holding now abandoned prey;
hollowed husks of wasps
scattered in segments on the floor.
The new files find companions
with faded labels,
messages in bottles
from a past now all at sea.
I open the velux window,
watch dust motes whirl
in the influx of cool air;
catch sounds from the outside world,
a bee bumbling
high above flower beds,
next door’s grandchildren
planning garden games,
a car changing gear
halfway up the hill,
taking someone to a destination
I do not need to name.