WILD NATURE POETRY AWARD competition now open.

Isabelle Kenyon is a northern poet and the author of This is not a Spectacle, Micro chapbook, The Trees Whispered (Origami Poetry Press) and Digging Holes To Another Continent (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, New York) and Potential (Ghost City Press).


She is the editor of 'Fly on the Wall Press', a socially conscious small press for chapbooks and anthologies.


In 2020, she will be published by Wild Pressed Books (Short Story 'The Town Talks').

Cover design by Jane Burn




138 x 216mm


28 pages


£6.00 + P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-912876-31-0


PUB: 23/03/2020










Growing Pains


Isabelle Kenyon



In ‘Growing Pains’ Isabelle Kenyon navigates the grey space between child and adult. From the playground wars with worms, to the value of a woman’s body as she learns to take up her own space, this collection values kindness in what appears to be an increasingly cruel society.



‘Spartan of both language and spirit, Isabelle Kenyon's uncompromising ’Growing Pains’ sifts and measures the weight of the human soul. In this unflinching and incisive commute from schoolyard savagery through toxic masculinity

and calculating a woman's worth, to grief and dislocation, Kenyon divines humanity's salvation

in passing acts of kindness.’

Anne Casey

Poet and Writer

(Salmon Poetry, The Times)






Soon I am

the number of boys in bed

labels others have given to me

the lack of ring on my finger

the length of my skirt

the weight of my mother’s shoes

the space between my thighs;

white privilege.


Soon I am

my search history

a tick on an equal opportunities form

a customer type

segmented data;



to the highest bidder.



This is a man’s, man’s, man’s world


A man speaks gold

cannot help it

saliva forming precious eggs on tongue –

same words fall from lipsticked mouth

weighed, measured for worth

in cows

moon cycles

from hip to hip to birth a child

hymen intact?

modest looks


from the old Testament

her dress sense

on scales:

verdict of semi-precious metal.



A picture


skin plain,

no painted idols but painted veins,

no painted lips but, often

a painted smile –

shield against pretty pink suggestions,

of how to wear my flesh,

opinions which spread my own so thinly on the page,

i do not recognise the portrait.



Breakfast is an important part of the afternoon


Wilting in the shimmer-sheen of a small Italian town

hot tongues in hot milk we sip

the morning down; the sky toasts.

Almost hidden – half-moon bites

ladder my legs, thirsty creature punctures

rude polka dots

Mark my skin foreign

you lay a soothing hand on the ripening sores.

When the worms came


When the worms came

there were two types of playground children:

ones who ran like jackals,

brandishing twigs like sharpened spears

to tear worms in two,

and ones who prepared for battle,

offering their squatted form

a shield for the wheezing worms, dragging fatigued tummies

over slippery tarmac, where rain had stranded them.


Not all worms made it to the soil,

the land of plenty,

flopping on emergency twig stretchers,

egg and spoon race with jackals hot on their tail.


When the worms came,

the children practiced doctors and nurses,

learnt about anatomy


(how some creatures have no bits)

and enacted Lord of the flies

with the worms as their Piggy.



Silver Birch


The leaf of you grew around my waist,

when you turned to dust I fell to the earth;

cold seeped through.

“I want to be buried under a tree,” you said to deaf ears. I

buried the thought until I buried your body.

The silver birch is frail, like you, but when sun peeks,

splatters its leaves,

it is a celebration of colour, the tongues of leaves chattering near my ears.



Florence Tourist


Quilt work faces collide

we witness, feel

stomach swelling

toasting, square

stuffed with selfie sticks –

there a man lies supine painting film

her slow-motion street dance,

flashing backdrop of cathedral.

Brash voices shoot code

new language of Google maps

hands navigate bars to golden doors

future worship

flickers on Facebook

as night pales to calls

distinctly English

we wonder where locals hide

from storming feet.

9781912876310 Author Pic Amend