GEOFF STEVENS MEMORIAL POETRY PRIZE 2018 IS NOW OPEN
Jane Burn is a North East based writer. She was a member of 52, the North East Women Writing Collective, the Black Light Writing Group and the Tees Women Poets.
Her poems have been published in magazines including Butcher’s Dog, Ink Sweat & Tears, Nutshells and
Nuggets, Alliterati, Lunar Poetry, The Rialto, Iota Poetry, Amarylis, Deep Water Literary Journal, The Fat
Damsel, The Stare’s Nest, The Screech Owl, The Linnet’s Wing, The Ofi Press, Obsessed With Pipework, Loch Raven Review, Deseeded Volume 3, the Black Light Engine Room Literary Magazine, I am not a silent poet, Synaesthesia, Long Poem Magazine, Zoomorphic, Skylark Review, Slim Volume, Amarylis,
Ground, Synaesthesia, the Maligned Species project and Writers for Calais.
She was also day five on the New Boots and Pantisocracies project.
Her poems have also been included in Emma Press, Kind of a Hurricane Press, Beautiful Dragons, Poetry Box, Three Drops From A Cauldron and Emergency Poet anthologies.
Her work was highly commended in the Yorkmix 2015. She also had a
single poem nominated for the 2014 Forward Prize.
Her first pamphlet, Fat Around the Middle was publised in 2015 by Talking Pen. Her second pamphlet, Tongues of Fire was published in 2016 by the Black Light Engine Room Press.
138 x 216mm
£7.99 + P&P UK
PUB: 4h NOVEMBER 2016
'nothing more to it than bubbles' is a collection of poems that explore how Jane's feelings about life are utterly bound up with her feelings about nature. The poems document how she survives through her love for earth, sea, animals, air and birds.
"Few poets are as vivacious and thrilling as Jane Burn. A rare energy pervades these poems, one that is as illustrative as it is imaginative. Each new poem urges the reader to leap into the unknown, and instead of falling, Burn enables us to soar."
"This is a tender, thoughtful and spirited (in every sense) collection; it lends, through often startling turns of phrase and sleights of image, a rare portion of transformative magic to the everyday. I come away from these poems feeling both enriched and strangely haunted; feeling that the world I inhabit is a stranger, more disquieting, more beautiful place than I ever realised. There’s something about these poems that appeals to my magpie mind, each piece, like antique glass, bright, intriguing and unique. When taken as a whole the effect is dazzling."
"Jane Burn’s work with its rare, sonorous and intricate voice, explores the dichotomies of life in all its beauty and banality; the dense yet morning-light diction carrying the reader through acres of knowing and un-knowing. Her poems, like swifts, dart through the conscious and unconscious mind – each one a flight path of exploration and revelation.
A beautiful and moving book."
nothing more to it than bubbles
I have this theory that
there are invisible balls of grief
that we share among us –
the size of boiled eggs, very similar
to swallow. Enough
to stretch your throat but not
block it – leave pain after,
like you ate something that was too big
for your gullet. They don’t sink
to your stomach – they lodge in your sternum
as if they are stones under mattresses –
you feel them when you bend, when you breathe,
when you walk around. Eventually,
they dissolve, are passed out
as uncomfortable dreams
when you fall asleep on the sofa.
They reform; float off, find another victim.
But they do return, as homing pigeons do.
Or salmon, swimming back
to where they were born.
Till Death Do Us Part
They gave each other rings,
hung dainty charcoal bands
round one another’s necks.
Coo’d their betrothal all summer long
outside my bedroom window.
Courted with gentle, bumping heads,
filtered each feather on manila wings.
He lifted kisses from her neck –
she ate them in the sweetness
of her blackberry beak. I watched them,
their passion playing, little buff amalgam
of heart and song, brilliant
to evensong eyes. Those lovebirds
had grown mild with adoration,
had crooned themselves to tameness.
I was sorry for the bodies on the grass.
I was sorry that a boy could want
to fill their souls with lead.
Could fire pellets into hearts
while they were singing.
wind whisks through
grasses. Whiffled clumps
ticks from orbicular clocks.
The green-bow stems have shaken loose
their puffball toppers, nod pale tonsured
heads at the kiss train dragged behind the arse
of the petering sun. These whispered
seeds are what remains of yellow,
sun-scald faces; plush as
lion’s-mane flowers. Raising
riot on fussy lawns,
Accessible Only By Boat
I am a periwinkle – ovate, curled, a screw in the sand.
Today, the air is balm. The storm of yesterday cast me,
body a marble in the might of its eye. I will have bruises.
At some point I will tentatively check, count my fingers,
dab through the roots of the hair on my head. My brain is big
against its casket of skull, swollen with thoughts, but now
I lay it down on the peace of the shore, hear the waves
play kiss-chase, whispering, come, go. Come, go –
it is all the same to water. Float or sink, sup or parch –
I am nothing more to it than bubbles. I shall follow
its brackish firth when I have need and find it fresher,
pooled for my mouth, trapped in the dish of tree roots.
Fires! I will set them, signals along the shore, tend them
night and day. All those women – all those souls who sit
like me and stare from windows, out onto quads of patched lawn,
wheelie bins, cats on fences, clothes props, car parks,
clouds. If they see the blaze I set for them, they will come
to this paradise, accessible only by boat. We will learn
the route of rain, trace its journey from sky to leaf, to puddle,
stream, river, salted estuary, sea. Let us be liquid, float
on our backs spread ourselves as if we are fallen stars,
open our throats to the air. Taste the breath of those we love –
our children are a spike in our lungs, a pain in our chests.
We set them loose to the world then live as nets, forever
waiting to catch their fall. See my signals! Throw yourselves
to the wet and let it bear you to this island – we can dance
the banshee dance, swing our tits and sagging arse cracks,
have our worst bits licked by flames in moonlight. Feel no shame
and laugh our madness, ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Here,
we do not need to press our teeth to meat. The fish can stay
as brightness in the drink – we do not want the blood
of living things. The atoll birds will light in our laps –
beak us stories of their travel, invite us to share their nests,
lend their wasted feathers so we might set them in tangled hair
and dream of flight. When the morning wakes us, calls us back
to bedside, bus route, keyboard, wash, we can recall
our wild-witch ways. Our hearts are eyeballs – they have seen
too much, have been poked in their humors too many times,
each person held inside a hordeolum. Once in a while,
we let another person cross our causeway, make our grains
sing as they sink their own weight in our slick. I will work
to cut this isthmus – be a no-man’s-land, keep myself a cay,
let spray skin me to salcrete. I show the sun my cowrie grin,
bake spread-eagled. Reach to connect with other bodies, lying
the same. I don’t need to meet their faces with mine –
I know the look I will find there. Instead we hook fingers together,
ride the slow spin of the Earth, carpet the beach with a great connection of selves. When I am plunged in suds I shall believe
I am salved in foam – car alarms are conch-calls.
Sleeves on a line are petrel’s wings.