WILD NATURE POETRY AWARD competition now open.

Holly Magill’s poetry has been published in numerous magazines, including The Interpreter’s House, Bare Fiction, Ink Sweat and Tears, Picaroon, and The Morning Star; and anthologies, including Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Nine Arches Press), and #MeToo: A Women’s Poetry Anthology (Fair Acre Press).


Holly co-edits the online magazine Atrium. She is fond of cats and strong tea above most things.













138 x 216mm


36 pages


£6.00 + P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-910834-86-2


PUB: 25 JUNE 2018













Drawing on personal histories, fairy tales and bible stories, John Foggin explores and illuminates

both the tragical and magical in lives affected by shifts in political and social circumstance.

Advice to a Traveller is rooted in the belief that while we cannot live without stories, even the most trusted tales are partial truths at best, and the most reliable witnesses have been silenced; speaking for them is what poetry is for.

“Nothing will be wasted. Nothing will be too small”




“Master of the sense of place in a poem, John Foggin makes a fine travelling companion.”                                                                                                Carole Bromley


"An assured, compassionate voice; John Foggin’s love affair with language continues unabated.”                                                                                                      Roy Marshall


“Modern parables from the north written in a voice as memorable as it is musical.”                                                                                                                Ian Parks






Holly Magill


The Becoming of

Lady Flambé


The Becoming of Lady Flambé tells the story of a young girl’s coming-of-age against the backdrop of a fading and failing circus, peopled with quirky characters and moments of darkness beyond the spotlight. This narrative sequence explores themes of family, home, a young woman’s sense of self, and belonging – or whether to choose not to 'fit'.




“The Becoming of Lady Flambé is a bawdy and picaresque sequence that will seize you by the hand and take you through the red velvet curtains into a world of trashy circus glitz.  Lady Flambé is a force to be reckoned with – earthy, charming, raunchy . . .  a wonderful heroine to keep you warm on a dark, chill night.”                                                                                                                                                                                     Helen Ivory


“As she introduces Lady Flambé and her world, Holly Magill flawlessly balances telling a novella’s worth of story with crafting finely tuned poems. Full of characters of all stripes – tough, loveable, despicable – who will grab your attention and your heart, The Becoming of Lady Flambé is a must-read debut."              

Kate Garrett


“Delicate and dextrous, passionate and precise,  Flambé’s tale is brilliantly told through these masterfully written poems. A book that is wonderfully evocative and intelligent, wry as well as sympathetic. An amazing feat of imagination that is finely, yet fearlessly, rendered."

Mab Jones

















My earliest memory


A big grey bum is reversing

towards me, like the lorries at Tesco,

but without the beeping noises.


I’m little – pee down my legs

into my frilled white socks.


The Girls – arms jittery now they’re

unstrung from trapezes and ponies –

smoke and slouch by their trailer.


A normal kid would run.


A normal kid would shout Mummy!

Shout Daddy! And parents


would come scoop her up from the dirt.


A normal kid would scream

when her right foot is stomped

by an elephant.


Someone says he is three whole tonnes!


One of The Girls, high-rise blonde hair,

swallows her chewing gum, bends double

coughing, tears ploughing her make-up.


My ambulance is a purple van

painted with silver twirling angels,

all their feet are pointy.


No sirens or flashing blue lights.

Traffic is bad.




No one tells me not to


We don’t stay anywhere long, but I find

it’s long enough to find boys and I get

good at eyeing them, fingering


the rim of my glass, making them

wonder if I’m the sort of girl who might –

and I find I’m the sort of girl who does.


I get none of the hassle normal

girls have to squirm around.


Be home by ten, or else. Careful

who you talk to. Don’t let men buy

you drinks and you mustn’t get into

anyone’s car. Always make sure

we know where you are.


Get back to your room, no daughter of mine…


I go out Looking Like That.


And I fucking love it.





The becoming of Lady Flambé


I leave my friend’s cottage before dawn;

neither of us like goodbyes.


The van is now painted the most degenerate

orange – like my hair – with added screams

of red, yellow, gold and black flaming

every panel. Each side blazes:


Lady Flambé – this witch burns her own way!


I’m parked up and unloaded at Glastonbury

– my first – before I find it: a palm-small thing,

tucked shy in the pocket of my leather jacket.


The wrapping is rough and careless,

kitchen towel with blue flowers, clodded

with a silly amount of Sellotape.


It takes a while to fight my way in –

I sit on the van’s open back; can hear music

from at least three different directions; smell

onions frying, falafels, toffee apples,

suncream, weed, and musk.


Legs stretched out – both feet bare

to the grass, the normal and the other.

People everywhere, people are smiling.


The tiny clay elephant tumbles loose

to my hand while I’m smirking badness

over those fried onions. A notch on its back

is threaded with a thin bootlace.



The creature is a small, warm weight

between my breasts as I gather

the tools of my trade:

matches, torches, accelerant, bananas.


I have everything I need to begin.






I’m guessing most girls don’t get their first kiss

with a lad who eats fire seven nights a week,

and two matinees at weekends.


Close up he smells of spent match-tips;

I suck in the heat from his furnace-mouth,

combustion in my tits and belly.


I want him to roar me to nothing.


Want one? I hold out my cigarettes – after –

cos turns out one first can lead to another

once the spark catches.


And somehow he is the only guy around here

who doesn’t smoke.


9781910834862 Author amend