Shirley Wright is a prize-winning poet, novelist and short-story writer who lives in Bristol.


Her 2012 novel, Time out of Mind, a ghost story set in Cornwall, came out as an e-book with Thornberry Publishing.  


Shirley’s poems have appeared widely in poetry magazines and journals and her poem, 'My Father', won the 2008 Sunday Telegraph Poetry for Performance competition, judged by the Poet Laureate, Sir Andrew Motion.


Sticks and Stones is Shirley’s second poetry collection. Her first, The Last Green Field,  came out in 2013, also with Indigo Dreams.















138 x 216mm


62 pages


£8.99 + P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-910834-67-1


PUB: 27th OCTOBER 2017










“Our own lives, with their ‘geology of suffering’, move off-centre in these carefully wrought eco-poems – textured, witty, diverse, rich with metaphor – as they lament ‘an echo of vanishings’, a ‘diminishing green,’ but also honour the strength of a nature that will outlive us all. Sticks and Stones gently questions our abuse of the non-human world and celebrates the wild places in a language that is specific and inventive. I found it inspiring.”

Rosie Jackson


“The modest title of Wright’s finely balanced second collection gives no inkling of the scale of the subjects which wait inside. Here are words creating worlds, a poet’s uncompromising directness of language working with a mastery of poetic craft to take us into the reaches of the universe and the intimate landscapes of heart and mind. This intelligent, meditative collection probes experience to find permanence, the richness of life in often neglected things”

Sue Boyle


“In this new collection Wright’s focus is on the life in a tree, in a stone. More than that, she also has them reflect back to us our own transience. The poems are assured, lyrical and often moving: the sonnet sequence ‘Stone Life’, and a preceding poem ‘Jurassic’, for instance, are both loyal to her subject and deeply personal simultaneously.“

Roselle Angwin



Shirley Wright


Sticks and Stones





Once again this lonely ache, until

I rest my cheek against your trunk

and listen. Rough bark scuffs

my skin with chit-chat and I become

giddy with gossip. Creaks and groans

rollick a cappella in my ear like nothing

heard in the cathedrals of stone. Before long

your leaves begin to murmur at my fingertips,

to shiver me with tender flicks

from branches that enfold me. Twigs

muss my hair in welcome. One day

I expect to disappear inside the bole

of your memory, where xylem will lift me

from root to sky.



Na Hearadh


Whisper her name

she is island.

Sheep-littered, stone-wracked

she cries the wild Atlantic

to her door.

Cradled in this crook of sea

she is the last land,

nothing more

all the way to Canada

and winds that scream off Labrador.


Sing her name

for the music,

for the lilt of tongues

and the tilt of earth

against sky.

Three-billion-year-old rock

bursts her skin like bones

bleached to pity.

Blackwater peat bogs

sigh in chorus

to this riff of crotchets

down a hillside.



Reference Library


Here is the dark half-world

where roots weave earth

tight against the spin, the turn

of leaves, where night owls swoop


on echoes from the wildwood,

a vole perhaps,

the musk of history, things

dank or rustling.


Heads bow as though

to avoid the casual swipe

of low branches, the crack

and biro-click that herald


autumnal fruit. See

how it is garnered, one word,

one phrase at a time, acorns

from a grove of oaks where


all this transfigured landscape

had its being. Chairs creak,

tables groan beneath their load

of elbows and narrow fingers


lingering on black and white.

We might pause for coffee,

whisper thoughts on metempsychosis,

pick mushrooms from the forest floor

Stonehenge Revisited


Their siren call winnows

into evening air

echoes through the inner ear

and I could swear I hear

your voice.


Solstice seeking

we spoke of love and mysteries,

keening for the out-of-reach

to teach us arcane wisdom,

passion like roses on

your breath.


Let the granite slabs

berate me, intimidate me

and my fond imaginings,

the lingerings,

the long gone rememberings.

Once you and I were here

and so will always be

you and me, somewhere.



Wordsworth On The Fells


He walks words through his feet, boots

pounding syllables into muddy grass like heartbeats.


Helm Crag in the distance seems to touch

the sky. Reaching it will take his breath away.


He scrambles over shattered rock, the roar

of Sourmilk Gill raging past his rattled frame


stripping syntax from thought. What’s left,

aching legs, lungs that might burst, is the matter


of his evening craft – a blazing log, kitchen smells

of soup and freshly baked bread, pen and paper,


the slip of memory behind rain clouds elusive

as her smile. Soon metaphors will start to wriggle


ink-thick into rhymes he crosses out, the discards

of perfectionism dashed to flame. Their ashes


fleck the hearth like the scree of crumbs

down his jacket. From upstairs, voices


murmuring. In the slow pulse of night, shadows

fall across his chair where gradually, steadily,


fingers catch fire.  



The Merry Maidens


This is maybe country, wind-ripped

to the bone. Rock proclaims


itself, the rest provisional,

ephemeral as mist on moor.


My fingertips graze granite,

catch its rough welcome home


into the circle’s heart

where merry maidens dance.


I listen through the soles of my feet

as they beat the Earth’s dark dreaming.


9781910834671 author amend