GEOFF STEVENS MEMORIAL POETRY PRIZE 2018 IS NOW OPEN
Wendy Holborow, prize-winning poet, playwright and story writer, was born in South Wales, UK, but lived in Greece for fourteen years where she founded and co-edited Poetry Greece and wrote two children’s books in the Jessie and Ben series.
She has won prizes for poetry and short stories, some of which have appeared in Agenda, Envoi, Fairlight Books, Off the Coast, (Canada) Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Poetry Space, Red Poets, Seventh Quarry, QFW, Skylark, Stony Thursday, The Gull, The
Pre-Raphaelite Society Review, Tiger’s Eye, (Denver), many anthologies and other publications internationally.
She was feature poet in 'Caught in the Net', Poetry Kit in 2016 and was twice selected as an International Merit Award winner for The Atlanta Review.
In 2016 she completed a Masters in Creative Writing at Swansea University (with distinction).
Her collections to date: After the Silent Phone Call (2015) and Work’s Forward Motion (2016).
138 x 216mm
£6.00 + P&P UK
PUB: SEPTEMBER 2017
An Italian Afternoon is a collection of poems in various forms such as open field, a Terza Rima, a Sestina, as well as lyric poems about the author’s travels in Italy and her prolonged stay in Sipicciano looking after two beautiful dogs. The poems capture the essence of Italy; the people, the landscape and the antiquities.
‘In this sequence Wendy Holborow demonstrates her lyrical and descriptive powers to advantage, and transmits to the reader the excitement and freshness of visiting a new place, in this case, Italy. She handles different forms deftly, and includes art history as she shares her experience,
with a compulsive lightness to her language.’
‘Vivid, sensuous, beautifully observed, Wendy Holborow's poems perfectly capture the experience of Italy. Pylons and freeways are set against the backdrop of castles and hilltop villages, and contrast with railway lines and dark Stygian tunnels. This dichotomy is reflected in the form: an eclectic mixture of the traditional and experimental, sestina and terza rima rubbing confidently with free verse and concrete poetry.’
An Italian Afternoon
THE FIRST BARK OF THE DAY
The first bark of the day fractures
the dawn chorus
the cockerel’s inexhaustible crow disturbs
her shallow sleep
the camber of shadows elongate the long
cinder track that leads
to grassy avenues between vines
where the dogs race
in boisterous confusion, chasing
the circuit of sound of other dogs.
She clicks with annoyance, like the fan that keeps
the verandah cool
then, in the relative chill of night, attuned
to the moods of the moon,
the neighbourhood dogs howl. When they cease,
the stillness is perfect.
BLACKBERRY PICKING IN SIPICCIANO
The road is long, dusty,
she’s searching for the station – a train to
Viterbo her destination.
She turns right, should have taken the left road
finds herself trudging the parallel track,
discontent and hot,
until she stops for breath, leans against the rattle
of a five-bar gate as a light luttering of rain
disturbs the dust.
A tremendous kaleidoscope of butterflies
float away near tremulous fern fronds
Among the brambles edging the road,
fat and luscious
hanging down and urgent, like a vine
heavy with grapes.
She gathers blackberries
in Sipicciano, her hands sticky from the juice
and from webs of busy
Some berries drop; she bequeaths them to creatures
that live in the nettles, leaves some for the birds
and the pretty green beetle.
Do not sail into the city on a dark marmorial
December morning with nothing visible
but teasing lights of sporadic Christmas trees
under graceful awnings, like baubles
adorning a woman’s neck.
As dawn flirts with night,
abandoned gondolas poise like
mute black swans, wings hunched against
icy tracery of exploded lace.
A disconsolate seagull hovers.
Yet in spring, mists veil the land
like a bride waiting to be revealed.
The rising orange sun displays
an escort of singing gulls.
Venice steals into view, a pearl
like those nestled around the bride’s throat.
…TO KEEP ME CLOSE
There are no shutters in this darkened room,
no ruled lines of light reflected on the wall,
no simple white, cotton sheet covers the bed
or a blanket waiting for three o’clock chill,
no dogs prostrate on marble floors
near open doors breathing night air.
Here, curtains darken the slumbering room
a warm, necessary quilt covers me and the cat
who lies in my arms, her half snore, half purr
rumbles me to sleep, she injects me with her claws…
of the Tiber nibbles the edges
of the vineyard – wedges of green grapes
anticipate the sun to turn them purple,
wait to be trodden into wine.
The stream has been squeezed from the sponge
of its parent river,
stumbling, rather than tumbling over its rocks,
seeping into the mangled land, manacled
to its pebbled shore, secretive, sinuous, curled
in cosiness like a snake in folds of its own body.
It is possible to pass through overgrown oleander
and tangled thickets of brambles,
where samphire grows along its banks,
where forget-me-nots glow
like sapphires and the stones are enameled
by the river’s course.