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Deember 31
20th Poetry on the Lake Competition 2020

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Orbis 207, Spring 2024

December 2, 2023 in News | 2 comments (edit)

Orbis 207, Spring 2024

Front cover artwork : ‘Bird House Mosaic ‘ by Sharon Cummings;
Back cover, detail from image:


What a beautiful looking edition ! Must get this. 
Congratulations on the magazine’s longevity and high standards

  (Anna Saunders, Director at Cheltenham Poetry Festival)

Orbis 200: ‘All the best to you, and to Orbis!’
(Glyn Maxwell; shortlisted for Best Collection in the Forward Prize)

‘Best wishes for the journal – and congratulations on such a successful magazine over the years’ (Joy Harjo, United States Poet Laureate)


Single issue: £6.00 (Overseas: £12/€14/$16); Subs: £20/4 pa (Overseas: £45/€50/$60)

Associate Editor (Book Reviews): Maria Isakova-Bennett

Reviews by: Reviews by: Philip Dunkerley; David Harmer; Jenny Hockey  
D.A.Prince; Pauline Rowe; Theresa Sowerby; Pam Thompson

Please note with new collections, press release in first instance – not review copies.


You know what they say, never judge a book by its cover:
same goes for this issue because it should of course be Spring, not Summer…
It’s enough to make you Howl, isn’t it, Rosie (Adamson-Clark),
and not as if it were a question of being Undecided, like Edward Lee,
or worse still, a matter of Indifference (Niels Hammer). No,
the magazine may lack Andrew Barnes’s Eight thousand layers of in-yun
but it should be what Özge Lena calls a A Thing of Beauty.
After all, plenty to fascinate readers, as Tina Cole explains
How to Reconstruct Female Ancestors, Barry Smith serves up a
description of The Wild Garlic At Shorwell, and Sarah Sibley
relates the tale about Barbara Bryde, The First To Get Satellite.
And you’re sure to want to know more from Marcia Gamsu:
When I was a child I asked why I asked why.
And at least Orbis 207 is actually full of the joys of Spring…

Featured Writer

Tanya NightingaleThe Terror; The Baby Carriage; Life Grew For Grandpa;
Volcanology; Entropy; Echo and Narcissus

Poems from Özge Lena (Mussels); Emmaline O’Dowd (The daily round);
Francesca Pridham (He came to them, walking on the water);
Gareth Roberts (John Ever-Afraid); Luke Sawczak (Spring Haiku);
Sam Smith (Low shouting); Martha Stainsby (What The Metaphysician Said)

Prose from Charlotte Gringras (An Element of Surprise);
Denise McSheehy (Parallel Lives);
David McVey (When The No. 25 Didn’t Turn Up)

Translation Stephen CapusA Fragment by Miklós Radnóti

Past Master: Lindy Newns on Amy Lowell

Orbis 207 Contributors also include
David Ball; Fred Beake; Stephen Bett; Cindy Botha;
Lorraine Caputo; Laura A. Ciraolo; Nick Conrad; Nigel Crisp;
Gail Dendy; Malc Fritchley; Alice Harrison; Graham High; Sean Howard;
Jenny King; Craig Kurtz; Patricia Leighton; Paul Murphy; Patrick Osada;
Geoffrey Winch; Susan Wismer; Mary Anne Woolf

Orbis 200: ‘All the best to you, and to Orbis!’
(Glyn Maxwell; shortlisted
for Best Collection in the Forward Prize)

‘Best wishes for the journal –
and congratulations
on such a successful magazine over the years’
(Joy Harjo, United States Poet Laureate)


Associate Editor (Book Reviews): Maria Isakova-Bennett

Reviews by: Reviews by: Philip Dunkerley; David Harmer; Jenny Hockey  
D.A.Prince; Pauline Rowe; Theresa Sowerby; Pam Thompson

Please note with new collections, press release in first instance –
not review copies.


Front cover artwork :‘Where stories unfold’ by Mario Sanchez Nevado;
Back cover, detail from image:

The elephant in the room…something beginning with X,
which descends  every year far too swiftly. Or else starting
with W, because as Bethany Pope  regales you
with her tale of a White Elephant, never more apparent
is it that one person’s dream gift is another’s nightmare.
It’s enough to have you biting those lovely Fuchsia nails
Ann Palmer is talking about. Yes, soon be time to be
Bringing Home Holly with Sue Speirs, the prickly stuff,
not the girl, although maybe… And like Debjani Chatterjee’s
experience, it’s Dawning on you that what’s needed is well,
you could call it Confirmation (John Lynch) everything will go
according to plan: will it be David Dumouriez’s An Anglican Event?
Does s.d.s. know better than you whether my mother is coming along?
And when we meet each other’s gaze, including Caroline Maldonado’s,
could we describe it as the salt of life as Yogesh Patel tells us? 
But that’s what Orbis 206 is here to do in its infinite variety: spice things up.

Featured Writer Michael Henry:
Scratchcard; Nightlife; Ibiza; The Italian Wine Bar; Exequy to a duckling

Poems from Charlie Baylis, watermelon sugar;
Debjani Chatterjee, Windrush Five Hundred;
Dr. Bethany Pope, Speaking In TonguesDonna Pucciani, Basil, She Said;
Bill RichardsonSpooky action at a distance; Phil VernonCrossing the line

Prose from Ann PalmerFuchsia nails; Sari PaulomaReflecting;
John SiberryGone Fission

Translation W.D. JacksonGoethe: The Erlking

Past Master: Michael Spinks on Max Jacob

Article: Cover Artist: Mario Sanchez Nevado

Orbis 206 Contributors also include
Denise Bennett; Ed Blundelll; Jim Conwell; Terence Culleton;
Christine Curtis; Robin Daglish; Simon Fletcher; Ray Givans;
Wendy Goulstone; Oz Hardwick; Eve Jackson; Marie Lecrivain;
Isaac Lee; Tina MacNaughton; Gabrielle O’Donovan; Helen Overell;
Richard Palmer; Rosalind Parkes; Jo Peters; Mykyta Ryzhykh; K.V. Skene

Orbis 200: ‘All the best to you, and to Orbis!’
(Glyn Maxwell; shortlisted for Best Collection in the Forward Prize)

‘Best wishes for the journal – and congratulations
on such a successful magazine over the years’
(Joy Harjo, United States Poet Laureate)


Single issue: £6.00 (Overseas: £12/€14/$16); Subs: £20/4 pa (Overseas: £45/€50/$60)

Associate Editor (Book Reviews): Maria Isakova-Bennett

Reviews by: Philip Dunkerley; David Harmer; Jenny Hockey;
Jennifer McGowan; D.A.Prince; Andrew Taylor

Please note with new collections, press release in first instance –
not review copies.


Front cover artwork: ‘Chora 32’ by Matthew Smith

Back cover, detail from image:

Twinkle, twinkle… a whole host of stars within, in fact, what Chris Parsons

describes as a Constellation. Which you may enjoy watching along with

Mara Adamitz Scrupenight/ cabin/ lakeside, tho maybe no Painted Angels

despite Matthew Smith telling you about them.

Down to earth… these days, you can understand J. Burke asking

Where did all theporpoises go? while Ellen Zhang makes the most of

Waiting for Those Pink River Dolphins. Endangered species include us of course,

the Dispossessed, as Phil Walsh reminds us, trying not to think about

Spindle, Thread and Shears (Ali Rowland). But be consoled by John Zedolik

and his reassuring, No Bother. All the more so, if like Aidan Fadden,

you want to embark on The Search For OK. You’ll find it here all right –

indeed; better than OK

Featured Writer: Gemma Parker

Southern Spring; Cicadas; Before the Storm; How to get through it

Poems from

Aidan Fadden,The Search For OK; S Kimbrough McLendon, Owl Courting;
Tolu Ogunlesi, 
Meeting; Mara Adamitz Scrupe, night/ cabin/ lakeside;

Chiara Salomon, Palìrroia; John Zedolik, No Bother

Prose from Lani O’HanlonWritten in milk;

Gemma ParkerFemme-MaisonMark ReeceEscape

TranslationRanald Barnicot, Naevius v. The Metelli 

Past Master: Philip Dunkerley on Miguel Hernández  

Orbis 205 Contributors also include
Pratibha Castle; A.C. Clarke; John Irving Clarke;
Jill Eulalie Dawson; Bill Dodd; Jenny Hamlett; Robin Helweg-Larsen;
Tony Horitz; Annette Iles; Ben Keatinge; Kathy Miles; Lindy Newns;
Mark Paffard; Jenna Plewes; Jean Prior; Elva Robins; Paul Saville;
Terry Sherwood; Christopher Southgate; Miriam Sulhunt;
Peter Sutton; Paul Truan; Judith Wilkinson; Lesa Walker  

Orbis 204, Summer 2023

Orbis 200: ‘All the best to you, and to Orbis!’
(Glyn Maxwell; shortlisted for Best Collection in the Forward Prize)
‘Best wishes for the journal –
and congratulations on such a successful magazine over the years’
(Joy Harjo, United States Poet Laureate)


Single issue: £6.50 (Overseas: £12/€14/$16); Subs: £20/4 pa (Overseas: £45/€50/$60)

Associate Editor (Book Reviews): Maria Isakova-Bennett

Reviews by  
Philip Dunkerley; David Harmer; Jenny Hockey; Jennifer McGowan;
D.A.Prince; Pauline Rowe; Therese Sowerby; Pam Thompson

Please note with new collections, press release in first instance –
not review copies.


Front cover artwork: ‘Flowers’ by Heather Harding\
Back cover, detail from image:   HeatherRachaelsArt

From one extreme to another… yes, as you can see from this cover,
the heat is on. But no need for An Apology (Sue Davies), surely.
After all, you’ll find Jill Sharp describing a pleasant trip in
The Day Before, and perhaps you’d care to join Helga Kidder,
Dining at Repeal 33, making it a Family occasion, with
Michael Bartholomew-Biggs, while Chrissy Banks can tell you
about The Other One. Or you could observe the Acqua Alta with
Cassandra Atherton & Paul HetheringtonDoreen Duffy for one
says she will be Keeping my head above water. But what about Argonaut?
Let juli Jana explain, while Timothy Harwood expounds upon High Clavdivs.
And no doubt you who prefer the formal, and the historical, will appreciate
Ray Malone’s Sonnet135 and Maureen Jivani’s Dear Sappho.
Max Ekstrom will tell you, No Appointment necessary
so come along in and enjoy this issue.

Featured Writer: Neil Beardmore Behind a bookcase;
Woman Bathing In A Stream: Rembrandt;
Cave Paintings, Los Machos, Granada, Spain

Poems from Michael G. CaseyEnglish speaks seductively;
Helga KidderDining at Repeal 33Mark MansfieldDo You Wonder?;
Patricia NelsonMonsters With Beautiful Faces;
Marion OxleySolastalgia; Jeff Phelps: Cadman’s Leap

Prose from Neil Beardmore:The Thing Is…;
Phill Provance: From The Jealous Land:
Monongahela River Bottoms, 25 June 1769
June Wentland: The road with a dog

TranslationWendy SloanSonnet 208 by Gaspara Stampa

Past MasterMax Ekstrom on Alice Dunbar-Nelson

Orbis 204 Contributors also include
KB Ballentine; Jill Boucher; Arthur Broomfield; Malcolm Carson;
Claudia Court; Ann Gibson; Doreen Hinchliffe; Ashleigh John;

Clifford Liles; Ralph Mold; Katherine Noone; Anita Ouellette;
Stuart Pickford; David Thompson; Davide Trame;
Helen Whitten; Mantz Yorke; Martin Zarrop

Orbis 203, Spring 2023

Orbis 200: ‘All the best to you, and to Orbis!’
(Glyn Maxwell; shortlisted for Best Collection in the Forward Prize)

‘Best wishes for the journal – and congratulations on such a successful magazine over the years’ (Joy Harjo, United States Poet Laureate)


Single issue: £6.50 (Overseas: £11.50/€14/$16); Subs: £20/4 pa (Overseas: £42/€50/$60)

Associate Editor (Book Reviews): Maria Isakova-Bennett

Reviews by Philip Dunkerley; David Harmer; Jenny Hockey;
D.A.Prince; Pauline Rowe; Theresa Sowerby

Please note with new collections, press release in first instance – not review copies.


Front cover artwork: ‘I got caught in the rain’ by Ira Whittaker

back cover, detail from image:

Pouring down indeed to create an issue overflowing with incredible,
inspiring writing, in Spectacular Fashion, you might say, as
Chris Scriven does, so you can see what Sparks fly
from the pen of Philip Burton. And how lucky is Andria J. Cooke,
enjoying the Aurora – and how curious are you, to find out about
Marie Papier’s Portrait of my grandmother as a wardrobe?
And there’s more, much more, for example, Pat Marum’s tale
of a Concubine, Beijing 1421, or Arun Gaur’s description of a
Cenotaph plus Terrapins from John Gilham. Indeed, as Ruth Arnison
says, Knowing he’s the one, or rather, its: what a splendid title
from Michael Martin: One time me and the dog swam
with the dolphins, they let you get so close you can touch a fin
And ok, you may feel it’s a step too far – or an issue too late,
but how about Frank X. Christmas’s Tribute from a three-year-old.

Because there’s certainly plenty here to encourage a response from all readers.

Featured Poet

Ros Woolner: Shouting at the sky; The unwrapping; Trucks; Permission

Poems from Courtney Brach: Lead Line; Richard Hawtree:
I’ll Just Leave This Here; Anthony Head: Malá Strana;
Peggy McCarthy: Pantoum For My Childhood Home;
Vic Pickup: What she saw in the washing up bowl;
John Smelcer: Churros With Death

Prose from Annie Newcomer: Gilbert Williams;
Michael Swan: Anti-Boredom Procedure Type B;
Nicky Winder: Crop Stories

Translation: Terese Coe: Homecoming, LXI, Book of Songs
Epitaphe De Jaques Mernable, Joueur de Farces

Past Master
Richard Lister on Bibi Hayati

Orbis 203 Contributors also include
John Arnold; Steve Barton; Martin Bennett; Courtney Brach;
Patricia Brody;  Vuyelwa Carlin; Andrew Curtis; Lori Drummond-Mundal;
L.B. Jørgensen;  Dave Medd; John McOwat; Pat Murgatroyd; Louis Nthenda;
Doug Sandle; Carla Scarano; Dr. Roger G. Singer; Andrea Spurling

Single issue: £6.50 (Overseas: £11.50/€14/$16); Subs: £20/4 pa (Overseas: £42/€50/$60)

Associate Editor (Book Reviews): Maria Isakova-Bennett

Reviews by Philip Dunkerley; David Harmer; Jenny Hockey;
Maria Isakova-Bennett; Jennifer McGowan; D.A. Prince;
Pauline Rowe; Theresa Sowerby; Pam Thompson

Orbis 202, Winter 2002

All the best to you, and to Orbis!
(Glyn Maxwell; shortlisted for Best Collection in the Forward Prize)

‘Best wishes for the journal – and congratulations on such a successful magazine
over the years’ (Joy Harjo, United States Poet Laureate)


Single issue: £6.50 (Overseas: £11.50/€14/$16); Subs: £20/4 pa (Overseas: £42/€50/$60)

Associate Editor (Book Reviews): Maria Isakova-Bennett

Reviews by Philip Dunkerley; David Harmer; Jenny Hockey;
Maria Isakova-Bennett; Jennifer McGowan; D.A. Prince;
Pauline Rowe; Theresa Sowerby; Pam Thompson

Please note with new collections, press release in first instance – not review copies.


Front cover artwork: ‘Miyajima 09‘ by Niels Nielsen
back cover, detail from image:

Oh come, all ye faithful: readers, subscribers, contributors –

something to warm your heart in this bitter Winter.
Let us whisk you away to somewhere exotic, and join Jackie Wills
when Cruella de Ville visits Brighton, or Charles Wilkinson, looking at
The House in the Forest. No? Well, how about Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana…
At the Fishmonger’s with my son. Then you could be transported by Tim Houghton – |
and T-Rex, unless you’ve reached a Watershed; that’s you
and Nathanael O’Reilly both. But if you’re wondering what Martin Worster
means by The Let-Down, or Carolyn Oulton, asking What am I supposed to call this?
Catherine O’Brien may have the answer in A Lexicon Of You,
unless Rob McCarthy will translate From The Greek,
or George Moore,  using the Rosetta Stone. All the same, it’s no mystery
because reading Orbis. can help bring joy to the world.

Featured Poet, David Callin:
Fowmart; In Upper Sulby Glen; Preservation; Abney Park; The island; Elan

Poems from Claire Booker, The Horse In My Bedroom;
Roy Duffield A dream where procrastination works both ways;
Martin Elster De-ExtinctionCathy GrindrodAunt Margaret;
John LanyonHonorine Jobert; Jo SladeO little root 

Prose fromCharlotte GringrasMidnight Memoir Phil KnightCrosshairs;
Marie L’EcrivainUgly: A Post Dystopian Tale

Translation: Stephen Capus, Desanka Maksimović: Za Zveri Oklevetane

Past Master: Mary Earnshaw on Anonymous

Orbis 202 Contributors also include

Jane Blanchard; Mark Carson; Alastair Clarke; Tina Cole;
Mark Czanik; Robin Ford; Peter French; Richard George;
Jill Jones; Judith Pollinger; David Punter; Michael Spinks;
Julia Stothard; 
Katherine Swett; Anne Symons;  Carolyn Waudby;
Isobel Williams; Susan Wismer; 
Marjory Woodfield




Orbis 201, Autumn 2022

All the best to you, and to Orbis!
(Glyn Maxwell; shortlisted for Best Collection in the Forward Prize)

‘Best wishes for the journal – and congratulations on such a successful magazine
over the years’ (Joy Harjo, United States Poet Laureate)

Single issue: £6.50 (Overseas: £11.50/€14/$16)
Subs: £20/4 pa (Overseas: £42/€50/$60)

Associate Editor (Book Reviews): Maria Isakova-Bennett
Please note with new collections, press release in first instance – not review copies.

Reviews by Philip Dunkerley; David Harmer; Jenny Hockey;
Jennifer A. McGowan; D.A. Prince; Pauline Rowe;
Theresa Sowerby; Andrew Taylor; Pam Thompson

Front cover artwork: ‘Melting butterflies‘ by Suzanne Bonds
back cover, detail from image

So which is it for you: A Dying Fall, or is September the new January,
full of new beginnings? You can certainly enjoy 
Gabrielle O’Donovan’s
Miracle Of SamhainDrift with Rosie Adamson-Clark, and like Brooke James,
give thanks for An Abundance of Blessings – or be intrigued by
Capybara and a camera; let Anne Osbourn explain. It’s all in a good cause,
like Tariq Hassan’s Ten Charities; just follow Alyza Taguilaso‘s Instructions
then you can appreciate Resurgam (Terence Brick) and concoct
something divine, like Ian Caws‘ Confectioner. But watch out for
Jeff Skinner’s warning about a Cloudburst, even more so
When it came to ways of saving the planet (Julian Bishop).
You may feel the need for some kind of Defence, as Aidan Coleman does.
Or just a really good read…

Featured Poet: Pam Galloway,
Let’s go Big Toe!; Dovetail; Wings; Death and the moon

Poems from Ken AndersonSimplex Munditis; Isabel de Andreiscondor;
Marilyn DonovanRed Knot: a MurmurationS C Flynn, Dinosaurs on the roof;
Martha StainsbyDragon Energy; Steven TaylorEl Lissitzky

Prose from Fiona Vigo MarshallSerena conjures the unicorn;
Anne OsbournThe climate change workshop

Translation: Pablo DuboisEl Pasado

Past Master: Mark Paffard on Andrew Marvell

Article: Philip Dunkerley, Noel Williams’ Words Of Wisdom

Orbis 201 Contributors also include

Daniel Boland; Sheena Bradley; Terence Brick;
Mike Barlow; Caroline Carver; Laura Ciraolo; Eithne Cullen;
Barbara Cumbers; Billy Fenton; Lydia Fulleylove; Gabriel Griffin;
Pauline Hawksworth; Christopher M James; Fred Johnston;
Zoe Karathanasi; Nigel Kent; Alison McCrossan; Bert Molsom;
Emmaline O’Dowd; 
Richard Palmer; Ali Pardoe;
John Priestley; Martha Stainsby; Georgina Titmus; John Whitehouse






Orbis 200, Summer 2022

All the best to you, and to Orbis! (Glyn Maxwell;
shortlisted for Best Collection in the Forward Prize)

‘Best wishes for the journal – and congratulations on such a successful magazine
over the years’ (Joy Harjo, United States Poet Laureate)


Single issue: £5.50 (Overseas: £11.50/€14/$16);
Subs: £19/4 pa (Overseas: £42/€50/$60)

Associate Editor (Book Reviews): Maria Isakova Bennett
Please note with new collections, press release in first instance – not review copies.

Reviews by Philip Dunkerley; David Harmer; Jenny Hockey; D.A. Prince;
Pauline Rowe; Theresa Sowerby; Andrew Taylor; Lynne Taylor

Front cover artwork: 
designed by Tony Murphy

And here it is – you got the big issue:
Guest Poets, Featured Poets – and most of the poets chosen by you.
Yes, some doom and gloom but plenty of laughs along the way,
some of it quite surreal. Would you like to find out more,
Something I learned from Great Aunt EthelChristina Buckton
has the answer, or why 
Lord Egremont decides to change course
Joy Wassell Timms), and how come Oz Hardwick is seeing Red –
never mind
 Sam Smith (facing a losing battle if you ask me):
Cat and I, impassive, face to face. What’s our Reviews Editor,
Maria Isakova Bennett 
doing at Coburg Wharf looking South and North?
David Harmer, busy Finding Stuart’s Bar,
Matt Bryden has adopted another identity
it seems, when 
Clark Kent Revisits the Family FarmMaggie Butt enjoys
Last Swim of the Season, though not so much fun for Sean Howard,
who is
 missing poems (berkhamsted, herts).
Shall we join 
David Mark Williams for some Adventurous Knitting,
or Michael Henry at The Bookseller’s Lunch? And hands up all those,
Annie Klier Newcomer, who knew Antimony has two meanings,
or what exactly is the 
Suburban Secret? Let’s ask Eve Jackson, nicely,
And celebrate; every issue is special of course, but this one really is extra special…

Featured Poets

Hilary MellonSleep; On Lensfield Road; The Sentence;The Busker

Michael Swan Ibex; tasting notes; rivers go where rivers go

Guest Poets: Simon Armitage; Gillian Clarke:Glyn Maxwell

Poems from: John CassidyThe Big Dub: John LindleyA Hutch Full Of Heaneys:
Nessa O’MahonyKomorebi; Julie-ann Rowell Hether Blether

Prose from Katriona CampbellStelle cadente, Philip DunkerleySolution;
Verity OswinDark FlightDenise McSheehy,The Plate Spinner

TranslationLaura Chalar: Fernando Pessoa

Orbis 200 Contributors also include

Daragh Bradish; Alison Chisholm; Gladys Mary Coles; Terence Culleton;
Brian Daldorph; Patrick Deeley; Gail Dendy; María Castro Dominguez;
Attracta Fahy; Martin Figura; Simon Fletcher ; Isabel Greenslade;
Max Gutmann; Kevin Higgins; Jenny Hockey; Gaia Holmes;
Jack Houston; Fred Johnston; Christine Lao; Rupert M Loydell;
Gill McEvoy; Afric McGlinchey; Jennifer A McGowan; Tom Moody;
Lani O’Hanlon; Jo Peters; Jenna Plewes; D.A. Prince; Frances Sackett;
Myra Schneider; K. V. Skene; Ewan Smith; Christopher Southgate;
Theresa Sowerby; Pam Stocker; Andrew Taylor; Lynne Taylor; Karla Van Vliet;
June Wentland; Robin Lindsay Wilson; Chris Woods; Stephen Yeo

Readers’ Award, Orbis 199

I particularly enjoyed My Favourite Cardigan by Helen Heery, the way she expresses in a direct and seemingly whimsical way the profound idea that certain elements of our attire are metaphors for the soul and its many attachments (Daniel Boland)

Loss by Claire Watson: discouraging picture but with a bright sharpness.
Translation of Hanny Michaelis by Judith Wilkinson: accept the unknown for ever after and what can’t be explained, preferring the restlessness it conveys, even if it is self-deception. Great sincerity.
Choosing a bed by Julian Dobson: maybe there is the old, famous, metaphysical poetry technique here, macrocosm in the microcosm. The bottomlessness of one’s own body in bed, sinking into one’s own sea.
Advice by C.M.Buckland: an irony so lyrical and at the same time a-matter-of-fact. We can easily get lost in Nature while trying to beome part of it; powerful few lines
Kevin Higgins’ Bequests!!!!: I have never been particularly attracted by comic verse but this poem..I have rarely laughed like now for any clever and funny piece like this!!
The ending in particular… (Davide Trame)

The four poems I most enjoyed are, in no special order,
Ghost Language by Jean O’Brien for its directness of voice and phraseology giving it a sense of the inevitable:
My Favourite Cardigan by Helen Heery, simply because it resonates with similar circumstances of loss and so economically expresses that sense of abandonment:
In which the editor confesses to a typo by Julian Dobson with its echoes of Nietschen philosophy and not least, for its sense of the ridiculous;
Secret Garden by Jan Fitzgerald. Again this is a poem that strikes a chord of familiarity without becoming banal. Especially like the (familiar) end line with its implicit warning not to over-indulge the investment.
I find it very difficult to choose one of these above the others but if pressed, I’d go for the existentialism of Julian Dobson’s poem.
You are keeping up the high standard for which Orbis is justly renowned. After 199 editions I’m looking forward to something special for #200. I’m sure I won’t be disappointed (John Priestley)

Commended: Mary Maher – Special. I enjoyed those ‘sudden, faithful paws’.
Martin Parker – Neighbours. I loved the humour of those snooty bins !
I was also touched by Lindy Newns – Testimonial 11. Sad turns of Fate that tangling guilt with sorrow.
Joint Fourth: Gareth Culshaw – The night an old gamekeeper visited. The fur of the badger, the sideburns of a stoat’s tail…and those splinters.
Verity Oswin – The Taxidermist. The longing for perfection.
Joint Third: Jean O’Brien – Ghost Language. Even though our past is blighted – we can carry our ancestors’ hopes.
Caroline Smith – Noah. The slow yet sudden losses of time
Ciaran Buckley – Hammer Notes. I really enjoyed the frustrated sonnet-maker
Joint Second:: Martin Kerry – Jean-Martin. The deep dive to catch the freedom of the imagination.
Julian Dobson – Choosing a bed.The layers of life drawing you down deeper to find the shore.
Joint First:: Sheila Spence – Triple Spiral. Those of the mind, set against those of our finger-prints…
and… Jim Conwell – In Yemen. Utterly sad (Clare Bevan)

Testimonial: Lindy Newns. A rather different take on the elder sibling’s resentment at the time taken up by the sick brother. I enjoyed both versions but the prose one was able to put more flesh on the bones.
Neighbours: Martin Parker. Excellently maintained rhythm and humour.
As if by Magic: Rob Walton. Another common story line, much beloved by comedians, and done with originality and subtlety. Sad, but enjoyably
Misfit: Pam Gormally. Plleasantly reminded, in fact, of past embarrassments: Yorkshire lad in Devonshire University. Well written (Vince Smith)

1st: Special by Mary Maher
2nd: In Yemen by Jim Conwell
3rd: Almost meeting Keats on the doorstep by Bob Cooper
4th: Noah by Caroline Smith (Frances Sackett)
Jim Connelly, In Yemen
Ciaran Buckley, Thursday.
Helen Scadding, Gone granny (Mary Earnshaw)

1) Ciaran Buckley – Thursday
2) Judith Wilkinson – Translation of Hanny Michaelis
3) Mary Maher – Don’t Worry
4) Charlie Baylis – laurel canyon (K.V. Skene)

Bob Cooper – Almost meeting Keats…
Julian Dobson – In which the Editor confesses…
Caroline Smith – Noah
Martin Parker – Neighbours
Lindy Newns – Testimonials I & II (Mantz Yorke)

Verity Oswin The Taxidermist
R.A. Allen Realty
Helen Scadding Black swan (David Thomspon)

Mary Maher – Special: A deep and moving poem, superbly crafted, and special indeed.
Caroline Smith – Noah: Another moving poem. Many of us have been there, more will go. And one day we too may become the subject of the poem. Well made.
Martin Parker – Neighbours: Yes, of course it made me smile. But its well crafted too.
Lindy Newns – Testemonial I and II: Great feeling, surprising, and innovative (Philip Dunkerley)
1. Martin Parker: Neighbours
2. Derek Healy: Miscalculation
3. Claire Watson: Loss
4. Helen Heery: My favourite cardigan (Meg Barton)

Gareth Culshaw – The night an old gamekeeper visited
Helen Scadding – Black swan
Noel King – Everybody Has A Swan Poem So Why Can’t I?
Bob Cooper – both poems (:Terence Brick)
Verity Owen, The Taxidermist. Mesmerising
Ciaran Buckley, Hammer Notes. Hilarious
Julian Dobson, In which the editor… Clever
Caroline Smith, Noah. Wistful (Martin Kerry)

1.He builds a stone wall in the rain by George Culshaw. I love the harmony of man, landscape and action and image and the wow phrases of ‘fruit-buying stare’ and the ‘ski-jump’ of the air. A real evocation of the wordless in words.
2. In Yemen by Jim Conwell. Made me face up to the images so easily switched off and forgotten.
3.Noah by Caroline Smith. Tender last stanza
4.His support worker framed his poemand gave it to him on his 30th birthday. I loved the rule breaking long title, often tutted at in many workshops (Christine Curtis)

Helen Heery for My Favourite Cardigan – I loved the repetition
Caroline Smith for Noah – the closing metaphor felt just right. It really resonated with me.
Ciaran Buckley for Thursday – gently unsettling.
Lindy Newns for the emotional impact of Testimonials I and II.
I was pleased to have the chance to read them both (Ralph Mold)

1.Ed Blundell Twilight of the Moods Each line stirs emotions through clever phrases – ‘dropping like broken promises’. He made every word and line count.
2. Martin Parker Neighbours A lovely bit of fun with the hint of a message.
3. Sheila Spence Skating Can see and hear and feel the build up to the dramatic final lines and shock ending.
3. Helen Ashley Circles of light Creates a wonderful calm, night-time atmosphere, even as the fish, inevitably, are caught – ‘doomed’ (Tricia Robinson)

1 Mary Maher Special
2 Ciaran Buckley Homer Evben
3 mary Hasilow Common Trees
4 Charlie Baylis Laurel Canyon (Robin Ford)

I especially enjoyed the well-crafted and intriguing piece of prose entitled As if by magic by Rob Walton.
2. Martin Parker Neighbours
3. Caroline Smith Noah
4. Peter Ebsworth The Fishcotheque (Charles Osborne)
1) Ciaran Buckley – Thursday
2) Judith Wilkinson – Translation of Hanny Michaelis
3) Mary Maher – Don’t Worry
Charlie Baylis – laurel canyon (K.V. Skene)

My reader’s vote goes to Our Betters by David Dumouriez ( Judith Wilkinson)

Four explorations of later life.
1. The night an old gamekeeper by Gareth Culshaw visited is a piece of figurative genius.
Noah by Caroline Smith. Here, domesticity is reaching the tipping point of frailty
In Gone granny, Helen Scadding contrasts playfully the evolutions of a generation. 4. Elaine Alarcontotten’s Minnesota childhood is recreated powerfully in A Fairy Tale (Will Daunt)

Lindy Newns: Testimonial I
Tim Dwyer: Birds in the air by Luke Nilan
Helen Ashley: Circles of Light
Jim Conwell: In Yemen (Helen Heery)

Helen Heery for My Favourite Cardigan – I loved the repetition
Caroline Smith for Noah – the closing metaphor felt just right. It really resonated with me.
Ciaran Buckley for Thursday – gently unsettling.
Lindy Newns for the emotional impact of Testimonials I and II. I was pleased to have the chance to read them both (Ralph Mold)

1. He builds a stone wall in the rain by Gareth Culshaw for the striking imagery throughout.
2. Special by Mary Maher for the skilful withholding of such poignancy until the end.
3. Neighbours by Martin Parker for its wit and clever, never obtrusive, rhyme scheme.
4. Noah by Caroline Smith for the tender and realistic anxieties of having ageing parents.
Special commendation to Lindy Newns whose Testimonial I and Testimonial II are very moving companion pieces (Pat Murgatroyd)

My vote is for Hammer Notes by Ciaran Buckley. But all the poems are amazing and I raced through them (Verity Oswin)

1st I loved A Fairy Tale by Elaine Alarcontotten – terrific.
2nd Gone granny by Helen Scadding was a lot of fun and full of colourful images.
3rd Birds in the air by Luke Nilan by Tim Dwyer – the stoical flatness of the last two lines.
4th In which the editor confesses to a typo by Julian Dobson. Funny, clever – I just liked it (Tina MacNaughton)
Lindy Newns for Testimonial I & II. The mixture of raw grief and heart breaking detail.
Nick Conrad for Lost. The final couplet does it for me.
Julian Dobson for In which the editor confesses to a typo. Enjoyed the mental agility of this poem (Denise McSheehy)
1. Jean OBrien: Ghost Language – helps us to find our way from a blighted past
2. Ed Blundell: Twilight of the Moods. Sunset always feels hopeful to me, enriching the sky.
3. Gareth Culshaw: The night an old gamekeeper visited. Dream or reality, it doesnt matter.
4. Mary Maher: Special. Any mother would share the sort of hopes and dreams for her child (Helen Ashley)

1 — Questions Remaining by Patricia Leighton.
2 — Expedition by Ayelet McKenzie.
3 — Hypochondria by Helen Heery.
4 — In Yemen by Jim Conwell (Martin Parker)

Gareth Culshaw –
He builds a stone wall in the rain. Something of the mighty R.S.Thomas here.
Sheila Spence – Skating. I love the suspense created by the last line.
Pam Gormally – Misfit. The feeling of sensing you are out of place was very recognisable.
Ed Blundell – Flower Power. Nature reestablishing itself (Claire Buckland)

1. He builds a stone wall in the rain by Gareth Culshaw. Rich language and some great phrases, such as fruit-buying stare
2. Loss by Claire Watson. Well-crafted sonnet with good lines, especially the last;
3. Miscalculation by Derek Healy. Subject fits the form; well-judged (Clifford Liles)

Mary Maher – Don’t Worry, clearly and concisely sets out the argument for a sad conclusion with which I have agree – that the world would be much, much better off without us.
Helen Heery – My Favourite Cardigan, I love the way it is put together like a love story
Martin Parker – Neighbours is also great fun, well structured and totally believable.
Lindy Newns Testimonial 1. It’s hard to separate out the two pieces, but for me the poem had the edge. Beautifully constructed, this is immensely moving (Anne Banks)

1. Mary Maher Special
2. Helen Heery My Favourite Cardigan
3. Verity Oswin The Taxidermist
4. Jan FitzGerald Secret garden (Ayelet McKenzie)

1. Black Swan appealed because of personal experience of loss, and the way the swan becomes the grief, dragging green weed/pressing towards me/spitting, unasked for/ with hawthorns in your eyes. Wow.
2. So did another description of loss, this time by Claire Wilson, who uses great rhythm and half rhymes and assonance to conjure grief.
3. My Favourite Cardigan by Helen Heery with its lovely double meaning – are we to take the cardigan to be a stand in for a lost lover? The beating repetition of you and personification of the cardie as wearing her perfume and, of course, the final line – not a sentence but a clause, feels even more like somebody shouting, There! Look at me! I miss you!
I like the weight of the simple statement, She is holding a child: Jim Conwell’s In Yemen.
Hammer Notes by Ciaran Buckley is a more adventurous poem
I really love He Builds a Stone Wall in the Rain by Gareth Culshaw – my only caveat is that there may be too many inventive metaphors – ‘jackdaws lattice the sky’
Bob Coope’rs use of simple sentences to end his poem, polish the meaning of the whole (Lindy Newns)

1.Ed Blundell Twilight of the Moods Each line stirs emotions through clever phrases – ‘dropping like broken promises’. He made every word and line count.
2. Martin Parker Neighbours A lovely bit of fun with the hint of a message.
3. Sheila Spence Skating Can see and hear and feel the build up to the dramatic final lines and shock ending.
Helen Ashley Circles of light Creates a wonderful calm, night-time atmosphere, even as the fish, inevitably, are caught – ‘doomed’ (Tricia Robinson)

4. My top three poems:
Patricia Leighton – Questions remaining
Ayelet Mackenzie – New bra
Ciaran Buckley – Hammer notes (Charlie Baylis)

1. Choosing a Bed by Julian Dobson
2. The night an old gamekeeper visited by Gareth Culshaw
3. Ghost language by Jean O Brien
4. In Yemen by Jim Conwell
I also enjoyed work by Helen Heery, Bill Richardson, Mary Maher, Sheila Spence, Caroline Smith, Helen Scadding, Derek Healey and Helen Scadding.
The inclusion of Rilke’s sonnet was a joy too. A fine translation (David Mark Williams)

1) Special by Mary Maher
2) Black Swan by Helen Scadding
3) Loss by Claire Watson
4) The night an old gamekeeper visited by Gareth Culshaw
The first three speak about loss in different ways; the last has a lovely air of mystery (Sheila Spence)

1. Ciaran Buckley’s surreal and sinister A Joke
Mary Maher’s Special for simplicity that packs a real punch.
3. R.A. Allen’s File Footage, especially for the line ‘Likes gams and moustachery’ – which was no less resonant after I’d resorted to a dictionary… (Mark Paffard)

Lost by Nick Conrad found and held me rigid with shock in the first two lines. So stark and frighteningly powerful. Great poem.
Ed Blundell’s Flower Power and Twilight of the Moods are lovely,.both rising by their own weight.
Yes, yes to Caroline Smith’s Noah. So eloquently close to home, The number of rings on the phone before it is answered is a perfect metaphor. I am so jealous!
Bill Richardson brilliantly brings his dead slippers back to life in Will to Live: I could see them becoming felted as their tread evoked the pressure of the pandemic (Mary Maher)

1. Martin Parker: Neighbours
2. Derek Healy: Miscalculation
3. Claire Watson: Loss
4. Helen Heery: My favourite cardigan (Meg Barton)

Lightness and laughter came from (1) Martin Parker’s champagne of a poem Neighbours, rhyming street and Lafite, ending with cachet and Cru Montrachet. But, communicated by rhyme while facing deaths on a windswept beach in S.Australia: (2): Claire Watson’s Loss. Then, darker stimulus came from 3) and 4): Jean O’Brien’s Ghost Language, full of creative regret, buried somewhere deep, and Ed Blundell’s Twilight of the Moods (Stephen Yeo)

Bob Cooper – Almost meeting Keats…
Julian Dobson – In which the Editor confesses…
Caroline Smith – Noah
Martin Parker – Neighbours
Lindy Newns – Testimonials I & II (Mantz Yorke)

1 Mary Maher for Don’t Worry. Perhaps, despite our indulgences, the Earth can look after itself, but by getting rid of us.
2 C. M. Buckland for Advice. A message to all of us who unthinkingly follow Authority’s advice, in this case ‘Stay Put’ – like the Grenfell disaster.
3 Jim Conwell for In Yemen. This also has focus on the child, with the warning not to focus on the face.
4 Martin Parker for Neighbours. Resonates with its humour – very Ogden Nash-ish (Cedric Pickin)

Helen Heery – My Favourite Cardigan. Really felt I went on a journey with it
Ayelet McKenzie – New Bra I love the comedy
Mary Maher – Special. Very sensitive, saying so much more than the words.
Helen Scalding Gone Granny. A wonderful ‘look back’ at ordinary, caring but strong women (Denise Bennett)
Verity Oswin The Taxidermist
R.A. Allen Realty
Helen Scadding Black swan (David Thomspon)

1 Loss, by Claire Watson. The simple two lines, ‘The beach is a place of healing? No, / its a garden where dead things grow’ won the number one spot
2 My favourite cardigan., Helen Heery:The play of the word YOU, the subtle rhyme, the simple subject of a sweater which I read as a stand-in for a lover.
3 Special, by Mary Maher shows even loss can be beautiful when it is in the course of life. This poem is like a sudden burst of sun on a cloudy day.
LoV, by Anne Banks -ambushed by such good writing and startling imagery
I want to mention Testimonial 1 and 11, by Lindy Newns: stirring emotion presented by a masterpiece of heartfelt writing.
So many other good poems: Gone Granny; In which the Editor confesses to a typo; Twilight of the moods (Don Ammons)

Loved Caroline Swift’s Noah; Bill Richardson’s Will to Live; Jean O’Briens Ghost Language; Claire Watson’s Loss – but 1st, Mary Maher’s Special made me cry and feel uplifted at the same time. 2nd, Helen Ashley’s Circles of Light with the haunting and unsettling play on light. 3rd wonderfully wry Helen Heerey’s My Favourite Cardigan (Pete Mullineaux)

1. Verity Oswin, The Taxidermist. Great the deceptively matter-of-fact style that tells such a remarkable tale.
2. Derek Healey, Miscalculation. Doesn’t put a foot wrong.
3. Helen Heery, Cardigan. Bounces along beautifully.
4. Mary Hastilow, Common Trees. Delicately done and eerie (Bill Dodd)
#1. The night an old gamekeeper visited by Gareth Culshaw. The descriptive way he brings the gamekeeper to life was extremely well done
#2. Everybody Has a Swan Poem, So Why Can’t I by Noel King. This read a bit like a scary mystery, interest is held especially to the imagining of a swan, not in the usual way as a description of something beautiful, but rather as lethal and an instrument of death. I love unique poetry.
#3. The Seven Sisters Bracelet by Carmel Summers. I especially like the line ‘each drop of molten silver/ a fragment from her life’ (Annie Klier Newcomer)

1. I especially enjoyed the well-crafted and intriguing piece of prose entitled As if by magic by Rob Walton. 2. Martin Parker Neighbours; 3. Caroline Smith Noah; and 4. Peter Ebsworth The Fishcotheque (Charles Osborne)

1) In Yemen, Jim Conwell: restrained, ironic, aptly bitter.
2) A Fairy Tale, Elaine Alarcontotten: sad, but expressing love for a well remembered place and time
3) Next Stop, Tim Dwyer has a similar atmosphere. A dream, a recollection, and the past years vanish allowing you to be present again in the past, which for a moment is now (Chris Hardy)

1. Helen Scadding for Black Swan.On the edge of grieving’s loss of self, the rush of life and hope is felt, an irrepressible desire for the future.
Joint 2nd. Ayelet McKenzie & Sheila Spence. Covering difficult moments, and the latter has not one unnecessary word. A hard-to-find exemplar of unrhymed free verse craft: not as easy as it looks.
Joint 3rd place: Bill Richardson, The Changing Fall & Clifford Liles, A Subtle Tell of Stones. The former opens and proceeds with gravitas; a message that will not be denied, while the latter is a fine elegy, a relevant story with select details. His well-chosen, robust word choices are grand.
4. Gareth Culshaw, He builds a stone wall in the rain. The enigmatic cow watching on, enthralled, took me someplace unexpected (Christine Despardes)

Gareth Culshaw – The night an old gamekeeper visited
Helen Scadding – Black swan
Noel King – Everybody Has A Swan Poem So Why Cant I?
Bob Cooper – both poems (:Terence Brick)

1.Ciaran Buckley, Thursday. I love the lightness of touch here, and intrigued by the suggestion that our lives turn on such moments as taking the wrong hand.
2 Helen Heery’s My Favourite Cardigan, a love song indeed, ‘the feel of you, the raised zigzag rib,/the navy blue of you’. And Hypochondriac, ending with that chilling image of running towards the egg-slicers wire. Brilliant.
3. Bob Cooper’s Almost meeting Keats and His support worker…
I also liked Culshaws gamekeeper, Kerrys Jean-Martin, Jim Conwells In Yemen (Brian Daldorph)

Special, by Mary Maher; the first two lines really hit home.
Thursday by Ciaran Buckley; beautifully phased.
Common Trees by Mary Hastilow, the first line had me reading with anticipation.
Day Done by Nick Conrad. An air of mystery: who are the tribe? (Pauline Hawkesworth)
1. Julian Dobson – In which the editor confesses to a typo. Very funny, and shows what an error can do
2. Anne Banks – LoV. Loved the title and the battle imagery mixed with seduction
3. Sheila Spence – Skating. Such crisp description and an unexpected ending
4. Patricia Leighton – Questions Remaining. I liked the use of couplets to balance directness and evasiveness (Wendy Slinger)

Julian Dobson: Choosing a Bed. Beautifully sustained metaphor – you can almost feel the mattress.
Ciaran Buckley: Thursday. The matter of fact tone contrasts superbly with the rather unsettling contents.
Patricia Leighton: Questions Remaining. Another rather unsettling poem, stark but powerful.
Caroline Smith: Noah paints a poignant, and universal, picture (Claudia Court)

1 Nuclear Winter by Jim Conwell
2 Dont Worry by Mary Maher
3 Miscalculation by Derek Healy
4 Noah by Caroline Smith (Phil Knight)

1) Gareth Cumshaw: He builds a stone wall in the rain. Strong imagery, and lovely ending, ‘allowing the wind to ski jump into the air’.
2) Charlie Baylis: laurel canyon: straight from the heart, and I enjoyed its spontaneity – no capital letters, minimal punctuation.
3) Bob Cooper: Almost meeting Keats on the doorstep. I always like poems about writers, especially those who had tragic lives; intrigued to see quotations from the Keats poem which inspired it.
4) Julian Dobson: In which the editor confessed to a typo. I enjoyed the word-play here between God exits and God exists (Michael Henry)

Joint First: Caroline Smith – Noah
& Julian Dobson – In which the editor confesses a typo
Joint Second: Helen Heery – My Favourite Cardigan
& Rob Walton – As if by magic
Joint Third: Mary Maher – Special
& Tim Dwyer – Birds in the air by Luke Nilan
Honourable Mention
Bill Richardson – Will to Live; Patricia Leighton – Black Shadow Knocking; Lindy Newns – Testimonial I (Gail Dendy)

1. Verity Oswin, The Taxidermist. Incredible – I shall read it again and again.
2. Helen Ashley, Circles of light. So atmospheric.
3. (Jointly) Anne Banks, Lo V and C. M. Buckland, Advice.
Loved both equally (Georgina Titmus)

I loved the careful crafting of Lindy Newns book-ended Testimonials and the way she allowed facts to speak eloquently about such a tragic situation, then to introduce the reflective, honestly personal voice of the speaker in the second piece.
Helen Heery’s My favourite Cardigan is a miniature tour de force with its second person address, superb concrete details
I loved the period detail and uplifting, almost magic realist ending of Gone Granny by Helen Scadding (Theresa Sowerby)

1. Verity Oswin, Taxidermist.Clever juxtaposition of images creates something sinister and fascinating – pink milkshakes won’t ever be the same
2. Lindy Newns, Testimonial 1 & 11. Can’t choose between them – I love how they respond to the language of officialdom to express anger, grief and loss
3. Gareth Culshaw The night an old gamekeeper visited. First verse had me hooked: ‘the weather came with weight’ – fantastic!
4. Helen Scadding, Black Swan. Poignant, evocative (Isabel Greeenslade)

4. 1. Hammer Notes by Ciaran Buckley. I read this as a withering satire on male poets and their ways: funny, and disturbingly accurate.
2. Testimonial I / Testimonial II by Lindy Newns, complement each other perfectly. Full of deeply moving honesty.
3. The Taxidermist by Verity Oswin. An interesting exploration of appearance, expectation and deception. ‘You could be an alien. I could make you perfect.’ Ooooh…
4. Our Betters by David Dumouriez, placed in quirky juxtaposition to Verity Oswin’s piece. Both, linked by an alien presence, enriched the other. Here, the idea of humans-as-living-curiosities was developed with confidence and humour (Ewan Smith)

Verity Owen, The Taxidermist. Mesmerising
Ciaran Buckley, Hammer Notes. Hilarious
Julian Dobson, In which the editor… Clever
Caroline Smith, Noah. Wistful (Martin Kerry)

1.He builds a stone wall in the rain by George Culshaw. I love the harmony of man, landscape and action and image and the wow phrases of ‘fruit-buying stare’ and the ‘ski-jump’ of the air. A real evocation of the wordless in words.
2. In Yemen by Jim Conwell. Made me face up to the images so easily switched off and forgotten.
3.Noah by Caroline Smith. Tender last stanza
4.His support worker framed his poemand gave it to him on his 30th birthday. I loved the rule breaking long title, often tutted at in many workshops (Christine Curtis)

Elaine Alarcontotten A Fairy Tale Clearly pictured scene of the child, her innocence echoed in the place. Well crafted.
Lindy Newns Testimonial – I and II An ingenious pairing, and verse then prose make an interesting contrast.
Helen Scadding Gone granny Amusing and telling details illuminate the generalised idea of grannies
Caroline Smìth Noah A moving account of a daughter perceiving her parents’ decline in old age (Jenny King)

1) Common Trees by Mary Hastilow, which, like the trees, I felt was a black net of a poem with a quiet shimmer
2) He builds a stone wall in the rain by Gareth Culshaw and Special by Mary Maher
3) The Taxidermist by Verity Oswin
4) Thursday by Ciaran Buckley
I also particularly liked My Favourite Cardigan by Helen Heery, New bra by Ayelet McKenzie (Whoa, you ponies! and the image involving goldfish) and Gone granny by Helen Scadding (June Wentland)
1. Our featured poet, Ciaran Buckley, Thursday, Homer,even
2. Helen Ashley, Circles of Light, doomed, atmospheric story.
Joint 3. Jean O’ Brien, Ghost Language
& Helen Heery, My Favourite Cardigan, Clever reveal.
Joint 4. Gareth Culshaw, The night an old gamekeeper visited
& Rob Walton, As if by magic (Gaby Fulda)

Mary Hastilow’s Common trees. A tender, deceptively simple lyrical poem.
Martin Kerry’s Hanging on. Strange, elliptical, suggestive of a mind teetering on the edge of madness.
Mary Mayer’s Don’t’ worry struck me as an assured piece of writing: no overkill of an apocalyptic subject.
Julian Dobson’s In which the editor confesses to a typo. Wonderfully light-touch slant on a weighty philosophical topic
Honourable mentions:
Jean O’Brien’s Ghost language, with its change from downbeat to upbeat
Martin Parker’s blessedly rhythmical AND rhyming Neighbours. Really enjoyed this one (Jill Boucher)

1. Gareth Culshaw with both He builds a stone wall in the rain and The night an old gamekeeper visited. Strong poems. Excellent
2. Ciaran Buckley with Thursday I enjoyed all his work
3. Jim Conwell with both In Yemen and Nuclear Winter. Both well -written
4. Christine Curtis with Some of the passing faces of running. Well observed; made me smile
Other poets I thoroughly enjoyed reading : Martin Kerry, Jean-Martin, Helen Heerey, Julian Dobson, Caroline Smith (Eve Jackson)

1 Mary Maher Special
2 Ciaran Buckley Homer Evben
3 mary Hasilow Common Trees
4 Charlie Baylis Laurel Canyon (Robin Ford)

Caroline Smith: Noah. I chart my parents’ decline…. powerful and touching
Tim Dwyer: Birds in the air by Luke Nilan. Simple language, matter of fact, but profound.
Bill Richardson: Will to live. A lock-down tale of two slippers and their demise, with sinister undertones.
Helen Scadding: Black swan. ‘It didn’t turn out as I expected -..’
Special by Mary Maher also stayed with me. ‘Sometimes I can feel/his heels in my palms;/round as moons…’.
I also particularly enjoyed Neighbours by Martin Parker (Anne Osbourn)

1. Testimonial II by Lindy Newns. Outstanding: so honest and brave and raw,
as well as beautifully crafted. This sort of prose really excites me.
2. Black Shadow Knocking by Patricia Leighton. What a captivating, clever piece of writing. I returned to it again and again, wondering over this bird.
3. Hypochondriac by Helen Heery. Concise and superbly imagined
4. Neighbours by Martin Parker. Another extremely clever poem, with an angle on the everlasting class system, who’s the best, who fits in, who doesn’t.
I also admired In Yemen by Jim Conwell, good to see a poem about a war which has been largely ignored by the West. Triple Spiral by Sheila Spence, Ghost Language by Jean O’Brien, My Favourite Cardigan by Helen Heery, Will to Live by Bill Richardson and His support worker framed his poem and gave it to him on his 30th birthday by Bob Cooper (Julie-ann Rowell)

Equal favorites: Bill Richardson, The changing fall & Will to live. Glorious, glorious last lines of both poems
Compelling in a very different way with her short lines and question answer couplets: a dialogue with Odysseus by Patricia Leighton, Questions remaining
And a vote for Gone Granny by Helen Scadding. Again, wonderful metric lines, off rhymes and original images too (Patricia Brody)

1. Christine Curtis, Some of the passing faces of running
2. R.A. Allen, File footage
3. Caroline Smith, Noah
4. Julian Dobson, In which the editor confesses to a typo (Aidan Baker)

The haunting poems of Mary Maher, Special and Jean O’Brien, Ghost Language,.
John Andrew for the calligraphic economy of Silk,
Gareth Culshaw for the uncanny tale The Night an Old Gamekeeper Visited,
Helen Scadding, for her second chance poems, in particular, Gone Grannies -great title
The wit of Helen Heery’s poems especially My favourite Cardigan, starting with a plethora of ‘you’s’ for the new love and ending with that ‘you’ with someone new,
The shape-shifting poems of Cairan Buckley from dead poet to disappearing joker and especially Thursday, its ending opening up a new beginning,
Lindy Newns with her moving Testimonial II to a lost brother, a harrowing and moving account of the slow loss of a life and identity of her brother who endured a terrible illness, showing the impact it also has on those who survive (Peter Viggers)

Loved Caroline Swift’s Noah; Bill Richardson’s Will to Live; Jean O’Briens Ghost Language; Claire Watson’s Loss – but 1st, Mary Maher’s Special made me cry and feel uplifted at the same time. 2nd, Helen Ashley’s Circles of Light with the haunting and unsettling play on light. 3rd wonderfully wry Helen Heerey’s My Favourite Cardigan (Pete Mullineaux)

1. Verity Oswin, Taxidermist.Clever juxtaposition of images creates something sinister and fascinating – pink milkshakes won’t ever be the same
2. Lindy Newns, Testimonial 1 & 11. Can’t choose between them – I love how they respond to the language of officialdom to express anger, grief and loss
3. Gareth Culshaw The night an old gamekeeper visited. First verse had me hooked: ‘the weather came with weight’ – fantastic!
4. Helen Scadding, Black Swan. Poignant, evocative (Isabel Greeenslade)
2. 1. Hammer Notes by Ciaran Buckley. I read this as a withering satire on male poets and their ways: funny, and disturbingly accurate.
2. Testimonial I / Testimonial II by Lindy Newns, complement each other perfectly. Full of deeply moving honesty.
3. The Taxidermist by Verity Oswin. An interesting exploration of appearance, expectation and deception. ‘You could be an alien. I could make you perfect.’ Ooooh…
4. Our Betters by David Dumouriez, placed in quirky juxtaposition to Verity Oswin’s piece. Both, linked by an alien presence, enriched the other. Here, the idea of humans-as-living-curiosities was developed with confidence and humour (Ewan Smith)




 199, Spring 2022

Single issue: £5.50 (Overseas: £11.50/€14/$16); Subs: £19/4 pa (Overseas: £42/€50/$60)

Associate Editor (Book Reviews): Maria Isakova Bennett
Please note with new collections, press release in first instance – not review copies

Reviews by Philip Dunkerley; David Harmer; Jenny Hockey; D.A. Prince;
Pauline Rowe; Theresa Sowerby; Andrew Taylor; Lynne Taylor

Front cover artwork: ‘Speyside Blooms‘ by Jonathan Wheeler
back cover, detail from image:

I’m sure you’ll agree with Mary Maher: there’s something Special
about this time of year. And although we may not, as C. M. Buckland does,
offer Advice, poetry is full of useful ideas, and interesting tales:
would you like to know who are Our Betters? Ask David Dumouriez.
The Seven Sisters BraceletCarmel Summers can tell you, or why is Noel King
telling us that Everybody Has A Swan Poem, So Why Can’t I? Maybe you could,
in the nicest possible way of course, get Lost with Nick Conrad, in which case,
the Next Stop, with Tim Dwyer, could be to check R. A. Allen’s File Footage.
Yes, Spring Orbis is stuffed full of good things, for example, The Taxidermist
by Verity Oswin. After all, like Clifford Liles, all readers will appreciate
A Subtle Tell of Stones –
and that’s in every issue


Featured Poet Ciaran Buckley: Hammer Notes; Thursday; Homer, even; A Joke

Poems from: John Andrew (Revival);
Gareth Culshaw (The night an old gamekeeper visited);
Julian Dobson (In which the editor confesses to a typo);
Ayelet McKenzie (Expedition);
Martin Parker (Neighbours); Bill Richardson (The Changing Fall);
Helen Scadding (Gone granny)

Prose from: Patricia Leighton (Black Shadow Knocking);
Lindy Newns (Testimonial: II); Rob Walton (As if by magic)

Translation: Judith WilkinsonHanny Michaelis

Past Master: Peter Viggers, on Rainer Maria Rilke

Orbis 199 Contributors also include

Elaine Alarcontotten; Helen Ashley; Anne Banks; Charlie Baylis; Ed Blundell;
Jim Conwell; Bob Cooper; Christine Curtis; Peter Ebsworth; Jan FitzGerald;
Pam Gormally; Mary Hastilow; Derek Healy; Helen Heery; Martin Kerry;
Jean O’Brien; Caroline Smith; Sheila Spence; Claire Watson


 198, Winter 2021

Editor: Carole Baldock
Associate Editor (Book Reviews) Maria Isakova Bennett

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Front cover artwork: ‘Time and Place‘ by Peter Raymond
(from an idea by Carole Baldock)

back cover, detail from image:

‘Tis the season to be…
keeping your fingers crossed yet again
in the hope of Yuletide celebrations going to plan.
But whether commiserations or congratulations, you can immerse
yourself in this festive feast, soaring high with Maureen Jivani at Two Minutes
to 13
, never worrying about The Weight of Light (KB Ballentine)
or Richard Lister and his Riddle from the sands, while making the most of
Beth Booth’s Swooping Season. As for Xxxx shopping, an apology from
David LukensWhy I can’t tell you the way to Tescobut not a problem
because, At the end of the day (Kathryn MacDonald), you could easily
pick up something colourful in Cerulean, like Luke Morgan or
an absolute bargain at Helen Overell’s Point of sale in the Charity Shop,
and enjoy a tale about Gretel and the woodcutter from Simon Leonard.
In fact, there’s sure to be something in this issue for everybody to enjoy


Featured Poet
Pauline Hall
The Affair; Pleasures; Getting away; Collisions ; Panache

Poems from:
Adrian Buckner (Adjective on the town);
Miranda Day (The Rock and the Water);
Max Roland Ekstrom (My Maternity) Matt Haw (Gloomers);
Luke Morgan (Cerulean); Mary Mulholland (Playing with snakes);
Pete Mullineaux (‘Don’t always expect fireworks…’); 
Sara Truuvert
 (Will My Iguana Love Me?)

Prose from: James Brasfield (The Carpathian Connection);
Philip Dunkerley (The Godsend);Jean Maskell (At the crossroads)

TranslationNiels hav (Sker det at nogen siger fra?)

Past MasterSusan Wismer on Tekahionwake: E. Pauline Johnson

Reviews by: David Harmer, D. A. Prince, Pauline Rowe,
Theresa Sowerby 
and Andrew Taylor

 198 contributors also include
Michael Bartholomew-Biggs; David Burridge; RC deWinter;
Massimo Fantuzzi; George Freek; Victoria Gatehouse; Doreen Hinchliffe;
Sue Kauth; 
Alicia Byrne Keane; Jennie Owen; Frances Sackett;
Penny Sharman; Matt Smith; Peter Sutton; Sarah Wimbush; Mantz Yorke


Orbis 197, Autumn 2021

Dedicated to our Books Editor, Noel Williams, who sadly passed away in August:
an inspirationj to so many, he will be greatly missed by everybody

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Front Cover Artwork ‘Goltrai’ by Shanina Conway;
back cover, details from image:

Many are the fans of Autumn, the wonderful colours,The lost jewels as Kate Scott
has it, sort of,
 which you will find in Simon Fletcher’s Mist Walkers,
and the cosy nights, a time for 
Reflecting, along with Kevin Brown. Although,
a last chance,  if still 
FortuitusKelley Jean White tells you, to be able
to accompany 
Zara Raab and enjoy Sundays on the Coast,
Marjory Woodfield, because In Vienna, we find Hieronymus Bosch.
And if you do prefer indoors, visiting galleries,
you’ll relish 
Neil Beardmore’s description of Eijo’s Women.
Of course, a 
Funfair is always… fun, any time of year – or is it? Maybe not,
Myra Schneider’s view. But as nights grow darker, so do our tales,
whether you sample 
Antony Mair’s Visitation, or simply, a Dark Pub,
courtesy of 
David Callin. Well, we’ll drink a toast to that,
and the latest issue…

Featured Poet Callum James:The Old Man’s Watch; Mummy’s Sleeping;
Hanging Upside Down; Made Human; Asterism

Poems from Veronica Beedham (Scrivener will not plant marigolds in the mind);
Daragh Bradish (Transmogrify); Simon French (Coastal Art Hand);
Antony Mair (Visitation); Harry Owen (Plastic Grass); Myra Schneider (Funfair);
Marjory Woodfield (In Vienna, we find Hieronymus Bosch)

Prose from Mary Earnshaw (Hell); Marie C Lecrivain (La Celestina, 1904);
Charles Osborne (The Blackened House)

Translation: Fred Beake (Propertius Decides To Visit Athens)

Past Master: David Harmer on Noel Williams

Reviews by Maria Isakova Bennett, Philip Dunkerley, David Harmer,
Jenny Hockey, D. A. Prince, Theresa Sowerby 
and Lynn Taylor

Orbis 197 contributors also include

Jill Boucher; Kevin Brown; Owen Bullock; Claudia Court; Andrew Curtis;
Jill Eulalie Dawson; Gail Dendy; Bill Dodd; Fiona Donaghey; Simon French;
Raymond Hall; Jenny Hamlett; 
Margaret Jeune; Pat Jourdan; Linda King;
Fokkina McDonnell; Ralph Mold; 
David Punter; Chris Raetschus; Anne Rees;
Paul Saville; Kate Scott; K. V. Skene; Davide Trame; Noel Williams





Orbis 196, Summer 2021

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Front cover artwork: ‘Redeemer over Rio 2016‘ by Christopher Langley;
back cover, detail from image:

A colourful and serene outlook…at long last. So, Why (not) enjoy lounging
in a
Hammock as D. R. James suggests, says Pat Murgatroyd… more or less.
And you’re sure to find
The Cat On The Moon most entertaining,
as does
Roger Singer, and maybe a trip to Mongolia with L. B. Jørgensen,
although still intriguing, like
Graham Mort’s Dorp.
After all, it’s always useful  to try
A Different Language (Bethany Eves) –
especially when it comes to the
Life of a Poem as described by Mark Pirie,
As always,
Orbis makes quite a lively read….

Featured Poet Julie-ann Rowell: Peedie; Balance; Lambing Snow;
Swim at Skaill Bay;The Polar Bears Club

Poems from Bethany Eves (A Different Language);
Graham Mort (Under Devil’s Peak):
Pat Murgatroyd (So, why?):
Joanna Pearson (Sudden has too many syllables);
Mark Pirie (Life of a poem); Roger G. Singer (The Cat On The Moon)

Prose from Christine Despardes (This is Not for Bedtime Reading);
Mark Reece (Stockpiling): Denise McSheehy (Gratitude)

Translation: Michael Swan: Die Mausefalle by Christian Morgenstern

Past Master: Steve Griffiths on Wilfred Owen

Article: Poetry and the Idea of a Common Culture by David Ball

Reviews by Maria Isakova Bennett, Philip Dunkerley, David Harmer,
D. A. Prince, Theresa Sowerby, Lynn Taylor
and Andrew Taylor

Orbis 196 contributors also include

Susi Clare; Robert Cooperman; Mary Earnshaw; Robin Ford; Ray Givans;
Wendy Goulstone; Chris Hardy; Timothy Harwood; Gill Horitz;
Claire Louise Hunt; Tina MacNaughton; Ray Malone ; Mat Riches;
Tricia Robinson; Susan Rouchard; John Scarborough; Michael Swan;
Katherine Swett; Robin Lindsay Wilson; Susan Wismer



Orbis 195, Spring 2021

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Front cover artwork: ‘Millennium Wheel’ by Tiffany Budd
back cover, detail from image:

And at long last, after being stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place
(Barry Smith), seems like there’ll be something to look forward to,
whilst of course Living Within The Law as Richard George reminds us.
OK, still feels like the
High Wire Waiting Hilary Mellon describes,
although we should not let ourselves be
Overtaken as Gail Donahue
has found. But
even an April wind, buffeting us and Chris H. Sakellaridis,
is welcome, as well as unusual activities like
Kathy MilesMending the Night.
No, it’ll all be fine, just Beware The Beast, thanks to Alice Harrison.
Besides, start reading this issue and you’ll soon be
you and
Christopher M James both…

Featured Poet

David Mark Williams: Louis Bleriot Takes Off At Sunrise;
Sunday Morning with Mint Sauce; A Hedgehog’s Tapestry of Dreams;
Cake Library Aria

Poems from: Ruth Aylett (Costa Rican come-downs);
Mark Czanik (Fantasy Economics);
Zoe Karathanasi (Self-portrait as a Scythian Warrior Woman);

Dave Medd (Have A Poem For Your Birthday);
Sophie Sparham (Sunrise Over ALDI);
Jay Wickersham (Night-blooming Cereus)

Prose from: Tim Love (Metamorphosis); Sarah Samuels (The Gate Posts);
Alec Taylor (The Book Of Joe)

Translation: Caroline Massola. From Planetaria Translated by Laura Chalar

Past Master: Dr. Benjamin Keatinge on James Clarence Mangan

Reviews by Maria Isakova Bennett, Philip Dunkerley, David Harmer,
Jenny Hockey, D. A. Prince, Theresa Sowerby
and Andrew Taylor

Orbis 195 contributors also include

Malcolm Carson; Kathryn Daszkiewicz; Peter Datyner;
Lori Drummond-Mundal; Marc Janssen; Robert Kennedy;
Jenny King; Alison McCrossan; Maeve McKenna; Pat Marum;
Gabrielle O’Donovan; 
Charles Rammelkamp; Jenny Robb;
Michael Sharp; Sue Spiers; Grahaeme Barrasford Young


Orbis 194, Winter 2020

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Front cover artwork: ‘Life in the Office Two’ by Richard Hopkinson

back cover, detail from image:

Oh yes it is, Winter Orbis – out in December, for the very first time.
And yes indeed, full of seasonal cheer because, by gum, we are in need of it…
Well, sort of; lot of shenanigans on Eamonn Shanahan’s Christmas Day,
then you’ve got
Glumgit’s New Year blog as related by Theresa Sowerby.
In-between time (Anne Donnellan), hardly surprising if you want to go back
12 months when you could join
Sue Norton at Christmas 2019.
For a bit more excitement, however, try travelling on the Night Train
with C. P. Nield though Benjamin Macnair has A Warning for you,
if rather different from Kha to His Wife Meryt (Jennifer McGowan).
They do say never judge a book by its cover but virtually no office parties anyway,
and more brass monkeys outside than wise one anywhere –
so come on in and enjoy this issue

Featured Poet

Eve Jackson: Days In The Life Of Coat; Silence Is Not Always Golden;
Restless Night; How He Never Noticed The Moon;
We Wait; Her Response

Poems from Amy Barone (Heavenly Park);
John Grey (Psychiatrists at a party);
Brooke Herter James (Found Poetry); Clint Wastling (Receiver of Wreck)

Prose from Brian Daldorph (Wasps); Nigel Jarrett (Travels in Lakeland);
Fiona Vigo Marshall (What kind of story?)

Translation: Bill Jackson
(Last Thoughts/Last Things, after Wanne mine eyen misten)

Reviews include George Szirtes on Mock Orange by Anne Osbourn

Past Master: Merryn Williams on Charlotte Smith

Reader’s Response,
Jill Boucher: Some Thoughts on Poetry Writing Workshops

Reviews by Philip Dunkerley, David Harmer, Jenny Hockey,
D. A. Prince, Theresa Sowerby, George Szirtes
and Lynne Taylor

Orbis 194 contributors also include

Rosie Adamson-Clark; Elaine Alarcon-Totten; Denise Bennett; A. C. Clarke;
Robin Daglish; Frank De Canio; Carol Featherstone; Oz Hardwick;
Alex Howard; Jenny Johnson; John-Christopher Johnson; Kasimma;
Miles Larmour; Chris Luck; Gill McEvoy; Mary Muir; Marilyn Ricci;
Barnaby Smith; Christopher Southgate; Judith Wilkinson; Nicky Winder







Orbis 193, Autumn 2020

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Front cover artwork: ”Haiku‘ by Albena Vatcheva
back cover, detail from image:

‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’, or perhaps melancholy, for some.
Although for many, cosiness is a warm puppy as they say… So what have we here
to help keep you cheerful? Well, appropriately, you can visit Miyajima, with Sally,
and Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana, or advise Antony Johae how to avoid
a Lebanese Lapse whilst heeding Kevin Higgins: The Shipping Forecast.
And did you start thinking ‘Simon’? when Daniel Boland tells you Saturn Says?
Or were you wondering about Barbara Crooker’s
Poem lightly threaded with clouds, not to mention Jounce,
from Pamela Gormally? Ah well, with Annie Klier Newcomer
and Jamie Lynn Heller speculating about Corona,
maybe no getting away from it all –
except for a little while, engrossed in this issue of Orbis

Poetry Sequence
Stephen Yeo: Nine Months Before Tiananmen
From a China diary, September-October 1988

Poems from Josh Brunetti (Bird Of Ill Repute); Laura Chalar
(A Return Across The Bridges);
Frank Dullaghan (This is not Intended to be a Narrative);
Kevin Higgins (The Shipping Forecast);
Karla Van Vliet (Lexicon of Truth)

Prose from Don Ammons (Lucifer in England);
Karen Petersen (The Umbrella Man);
Joy Wassell Timms (Revolution)

Translation: Bibhu Padhi, from Oriya: Ipsita Sarangi, The Unreachable Lord

Past Master: Jack Houston on Keith Castellain Douglas

Reviews by Maria Isakova Bennett, Philip Dunkerley, David Harmer,
Jenny Hockey, D. A. Prince, Theresa Sowerby
and Lynne Taylor

Orbis 193 contributors also include
Anne Banks; Sarah Barr; Sheena Bradley; Terence Brick; Anne-Marie Brumm;
Vuyelwa Carlin; Caroline Carver; Laura Ciraolo; Richard Halperin;
Tariq Hassan;
Michael Henry; Graham High; David Holliday; Kuli Kohli;
Dorrie Johnson; John McOwat; Tom Moody; Michael Spinks; Georgina Titmus


Orbis 192, Summer 2020

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Front cover artwork: ‘‘The Pink Balloon II‘ by Steve Mitchell
back cover, detail from image:

Let your troubles just float away; here’s a wondrous world
in which to immerse yourself. After all, it’s Summertime, so are you ready
to smell the roses,  or Jimmy Rodda’s Purple Lilac?
Although you need to be careful,  when Marie-Pascale Hardy tells you
that The floor is lava, and if perplexed just how Dead fish can’t be bored, l
et Maureen Jivani explain, while Keith Moul can reveal all about
the Drama Hidden in Clouds.  And yes, as Andrew Oram reminds us, The day is short
but for those of you putting your enforced leisure to good use,
you probably already know about Sidhe Gaoithe. along with Attracta Fahy.
But, Almost Blue, like Patricia Carragon? No need when there’s plenty
to keep you occupied, entertained and inspired, here,
in the latest issue of Orbis

Featured Poet,

David Thompson:  Arachnophobia; Unruly sun; On the sofa;
One morning commute; Tethered estate

Poems from Terence CulletonFudge ShopGed GrovesPasse-partout;
Marie-Pascale Hardy,The floor Is lavaAva PatelStratocumulus;
Cynthia A. VentrescaThe Solace of Curtains Closed

Prose from Meg BartonNext door;
Lydia Fulleylove, THE DOCK AND THE DESK
A PROSE SCULPTURE; Steve MayFlight of fancy

Translation Ranald Barnicot: Horace : Odes 1.37 Nunc est bibendum

Past Master Phil Knight on Vladimir Mayakovsky

Reviews by David Harmer, Jenny Hockey, Clairr O’Connor,
D. A. Prince, Andrew Taylor 
and Noel Williams

 192 contributors also include

Liz Birchall; Charlie Brice; Michael Casey; Jim Conwell; Kathy Cullen;
Christine Curtis; Michael Farry; Simon Fletcher; Daniel Hinds;
Greg Huteson; 
juli Jana; Alex Josephy; Patricia Leighton;
Clifford Liles; Pauline May; Karla Linn Merrifield; Cedric Pickin; Dorothy Pope;
Ewan Smith; Edwin Stockdale; 
John Whitehouse; Jay Whittaker; Martin Zarrop


Orbis 191, Spring 2020

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Front cover artwork: ‘Hawk’ by Jan FitzGerald
back cover, detail from image:

It’s a whole new world out there – unfortunately prophetic words
to introduce the last issue. So now it’s poetry in the time of you-know-what
(Hell on Earth); Dave Martin is not far wrong), something to cheer and inspire
and at least take our minds off it for a little while granting us Grace Evangelical
(Tina Tocco), following A Simple Act; Complex Antecedents as Sam Smith points out.
Well, we could sympathise with Jack Debney’s The Cack-Hander’s Lament,
especially when, like Mike BarlowThe voice takes a break.  And we can always
escape, visit Richard Hughes, to appreciate some Variations at a taverna,
then the City Of Tulum with Kathryn MacDonald
(although you ask me, ignorance is bliss when it comes to the Maya),
or find out more about All those myths in the dark forest from
Penny Sharman, or The numen (Jan FitzGerald)  and what’s inside
the Powder Closet, Southside House… Ben Bransfield knows. Meanwhile,
Finola Scott can tell you all about Spoils and Divisions, although you need to read
David Greenslade to work ouCalfOverall, could be you’ll agree with Beth Booth:
Splendid is a good description of Orbis

Featured Poet,

Gaynor ClementsBole Hill; Bole Hill II; Badger;
You’re Never More Than Six Feet From An Elvis Impersonator; Pater Unfamilias

Poems from Patrick DeeleyBluebell Horse; Anuja Ghimirelandlady mua;
Sean Howardpoetic extracts: study #14;
Marjorie MaddoxOde to Son as Encyclopedia;
Anne RathWitness; Christopher Pieterszoon RoutheutToward the Suns

Prose from Neil BeardmoreKey NotesNeelim Dundas,
The House Of The Big Brown EyesLorna SherryThe Dangers Of Spring

Past Master
Michael Spinks on The book of Job

Pauline Hawkesworth on A. S. J. Tessimond – The ‘Lesser’ Poet

Reviews by Maria Isakova Bennett, Jenny Hockey, David Harmer,
Clairr O’Connor, D. A. Prince, Theresa Sowerby 
and Lynne Taylor

Orbis 191 contributors also include

Aidan Baker;Maggie Butt; Claudia Court;Natalie Crick; Bill Dodd;
Isabel Greenslade; Derek Healy; Doreen Hinchliffe; George Hopewell;
Jack Houston; Richard Hughes; Gloria Keeley; Simon Leonard;
Rozanne McCoy; Simon Perchik; Peter Sutton; Anne Symon

Readers’ Award 191

A slightly different, shorter version appears in the magazine.

And if you’re curious about all the writing which has inspired these comments,
you only have to ask… 
and cough up for a copy of #191: £5


I enjoyed your editorial, and here are my nominations

1. Claudia Court for Lap of Honour –
I enjoyed the way the situation was revealed piece by piece.

2. Maggie Butt for Even Now – Musical, beautiful and urgent.

3. Jack Houston for No! – I liked the use of form
to mirror the growing, shifting, understanding of what is happening.

4. Derek Healy for Remission –
An interesting thought, cleverly unpacked 
(Ralph Mold)

I enjoyed the current issue of Orbis –
thank you again for including two of my poems.
The four I enjoyed the most:-

Claudia Court’s Lap of Honour and its final line
‘The engines roar, purring his dirge.’

Finola Scott’s Spoils and Division
for the picture of divorce utilising an historical demarcation.

Lorna Sherry’s The Nightjar,
and the phrase ‘the lithe length of you’

Doreen Hinchliffe’s The Return, particularly the clever choice
of the six line end words to make the sestina work (Dave Martin)


1. At Dinner, Nathalie Crick. Great use of what isn’t said.

2. Splendid, Beth Booth. Wonderfully violent.

3. Lap of Honour, Claudia Court. Cool use of tension (Jack Houston)

I especially enjoyed You’re Never More Than Six Feet from An Elvis Impersonator
I love the treatment of the authentic and disguise, the combination of
‘brylcreem / and fakery’. The use of words like antimacassars transport
the reader to a particularly grimy past which contrasts the the supposed glamour
of LA and stardom with crisps, evoking a world where even the Pied Piper
isn’t the real thing, hinting at the danger of fakery being acceptable
(Simon Leonard)


A lot to delve into here and of the close runners-up, certainly also
worth applause: Beth Booth’s Splendid, Peter Sutton’s Metamorphosis
(I wish I’d come up with that last line) and Anne Symons’ Corsetiere
with an equally wonderful last line.
Then, David Greenslade, haltered As a Horse, Natalie Crick’s well-paced 30 Days,
Jack Houston’s elegant Elegy for Myself, Lorna Sherry’s beautiful Nightjar,
and Simon Perchik’s dense Asterisk.
But my choices for the top three have to be shared between
Gaynor Clements (Bole Hill); Maggie Butt (Silence); with top note
to Penny Sharman for All those myths in the dark forest (Michael Spinks)


Lorna Sherry, ‘The dangers of spring’

David Greenslade, ‘Calf’

Bill Donald, ‘Small bird’

Richard Hughes, ‘Old song’

All of which had me scanning them closely for details,
like one of those ‘Where’s Wally?’ crowdscapes:
occurrences of the dog; the dotted synecdoches;t
he phoneme /t/; clues to which town was being remembered for its changes
(Aidan Baker)


Claudia Court, Lap of Honour, great pace and use of images of movement

Gaynor Clements, Bole Hill; last two lines are devastating –

a good thing in a poem

Natalie Crick, At Dinner; restrained, powerful, and a life in one moment

Bill Dodd, small bird; travels from the particular to the numinous

and back again – tt tt is following me as I type (Isabel Greenslade)


Orbis 191 is full of good writing but I’d like to vote for Even Now by Maggie Butt,
beautifully balanced, and enhanced by the lack of punctuation (Lorna Sherry)

Difficult to single out anything but my love is for short poems which takes me
straight into someone’s emotional state, cancelling out everything else
for the moment of reading. Therefore my choices are:

1. Jointly: Witness by Anne Rath and The Nightjar by Lorna Sherry.
I love the sensuality contrasting so vividly with the sense of loss and time passing.

3.Lap of Honour by Claudia Court. The visual strength brilliantly understates
yet highlights the emotion.

4.Mock Sonnet 1X by Sam Smith.

I love that question: who are the insane amongst us (Christine Curtis)


I really enjoyed 191, and not easy, making my final choice:

Sam Smith (Mock Sonnet IX)

Gaynor Clements (Bole Hill II)

Claudia Court (Lap of Honour)

David Healy (Remission) (Wendy Everett )


What a difficult job selecting a handful of poems from all the good stuff
in an issue of Orbis, but worth doing because it makes you think more
about what you are reading, especially the ones to which you keep.
Often, the real qualities hit me only at the 3rd or 4th reading.

Maggie Butt – Silence

Lovely use of sound. It takes us on a journey into the silence,
from ordinary life into the place and finally into the body itself.

Jack Houston – Elegy for Myself

A little poem that says a lot very elegantly about ourselves and nature.

Claudia Court – Lap of Honour

I loved the image of the dad ‘swerving full throttle on the wind’.
A difficult situation to write about without it

becoming inadvertently comic

but this is very handled very beautifully (David Lukens)


Thank you for another great issue of Orbis.
My nominations for the Readers’ Award for issue 191,

in order of appearance:

Bole Hill by Gaynor Clements

Passenger by Beth Booth

All those myths in the dark forest by Penny Sharman

Mr Starling by Isabel Greenslade (Ann Gibson)


Thank you for keeping Orbis going in print form in difficult times

I found it extremely difficult to choose because there were so many
excellent poems taking unusual and illuminating viewpoints, ranking them
seemed invidious. I really enjoyed this issue. I thought all Featured Poet
Gaynor Clements’ poems were excellent but will nominate as my first choice
Pater Unfamilias with its spare but wonderfully suggestive use of imagery
and the emotional tension running through to the very last, powerfully emotive line

Second choice is Beth Booth’s Passenger which struck a chord with me,
a fearful traveller in any car. I liked the way its structure mimicked
the headlong speed and lurches, its effortless fluency and conversational tone,
and the occasional brilliant turn of phrase – ‘funerary recklessness’;
cynicism ‘that grows like mould’.

Third choice is Mike Barlow’s The Voice Takes a Break, a clever riff
on the common experience of losing one’s voice, with a charged last line –
and perfectly structured .

Fourth choice Finola Scott’s Spoils and Division, with its unexpected
and brilliantly original use of the surveyors, whose Mason-Dixon line
settled territorial disputes in the US, to point up a similar situation
in a failing marriage, succinctly evoked (A C Clarke)


Great issue and I really enjoyed Gaynor’s poems, especially Badger.

Beth Booth, for the wonderfully rich Splendid and Passenger.
They both read as though they had spilled out, but
beautifully controlled and perfectly pitched all the way through.

Jack Houston, for his stunningly effective pantoum No!

Maggie Butt, for a haunting description of Silence (Cat Campbell)


As always, it’s impossible really, to rank the many engaging poems
that tugged at me but here are four, and one extra:

1. Mike Barlow, The voice takes a break. Some of the images here seem
particularly resonant now: the lost voice and ‘dear old world of endearments’;
the cancelled trains. This travels such a long way, with subtle modulations.
Then it rises into a meditation on that ‘perfect space/between the notes’
and a sense of something just beyond understanding. A fine piece.

2. Claudia Court’s ‘Lap of Honour.’ I love the way she springs her surprise,
right at the centre, and the beautifully consistent motor racing imagery.
Original and moving, in an unassuming way, as the best poetry always is.

3. Maggie Butt’s ’Silence’; so full of all the sounds of such a ‘silence’,
and with the rhythmic sense of the lake underlying the whole thing.

4. Doreen Hinchcliffe’s ’The Return’. A subject well suited to sestina:
the circling thoughts and memories evoked by a significant place.
There are returns within returns here, and I like the way the poet s
skilfully inserts closely observed details into the hypnotic cycle of repetitions,
then leaves the place as ‘mysterious’ as ever.
5. I want to mention too the lovely, light, birdlike footsteps
taken in Bill Dodd’s ’small bird.’ (Alex Josephy)

1. Anne Symons. Corsetière.

I so admired this. Each verse, though describing some insignificant particular,
opens a window to a much greater reality. The reader’s imagination
immediately sits up, engaged and put to work. Marvellous.

2. Lorna Sherry. The Dangers Of Spring. I was taken by the clarity of the writing.
It describes so precisely the two people involved and their situation.
And the wonderful final two sentences; turning the key which sets everything into motion.

3. Sam Smith. Mock Sonnet IX. The argument tugged at me,
this is so desperately a time ‘that truth will have to be spoken’.

4. Neelim Dundas. The House Of the Big Brown Eyes.
This one is mesmerizising and draws you right in. The narrator is that irresistible character;
the pompous man of position who has no conception of how he reveals
his essential weakness with every word (Ewan Smith)


1 landlady mua by Anuja Ghimire; very moving in its few short lines.

2 Bole Hill 11 by Gaynor Clements. Loved the knowledge
of plants and the natural world in all her poems. Found them very mysterious too.

3 Key Notes by Neil Beardmore (Hilarious and real) and small bird by Bill Dodd.

4 Silence by Maggie Butt (Frances Sackett)


Unusual for me to choose 4 joint winners but such good writing.

Joint 1st Claudia Court Lap of Honour. So visual. I like ‘swarming circuit’.
It makes you think of movement and sound. ‘Scatter his years’
is a good description, easy to relate to this account of scattering the ashes.
The furtive nature is told well, with a particularly good last stanza

Joint 1st Gloria Keeley The Ninth Life. Brilliant first 2 lines!
I like the comparison of lemmings and the elephants in the line
about a circus. The connections are really interesting,
and I kept going back to read this one. Pure poetry!

Joint 2nd Maggie Butt Silence. I like the listing of the permitted sounds
in a convent. ‘The lapping of your life’ is a fantastic ending. I also enjoyed ‘Even Now.

Joint 2nd Neil Beardmore Key Notes The dialogue is so effective.
As I was/am a daydreamer, I related to this, and I loved the realistic snapshot
of school life. The boy’s musing on his grandmother and music touching.

Joint 3rd Finola Scott Spoils and Divisions. An interesting take on a marital split.
I like the allusion to Mason and Dixon. It was deft to gently refer to
the important parenting acts that are often not valued.

Joint 3rd Anne Symons Corsetiere

A vivid picture of a woman’s job. It cleverly highlighted
her sales technique and her customers.

Joint 4th Isabel Greenslade Mr. Starling

Fantastic three lines opened this poem. Sad, reflective poem.
Vivid details. I like the way children’s behaviour is portrayed.

Joint 4th Mike Barlow The voice takes a break

Very unusual subject. I love the simile in the 1st stanza.
I like ‘shy squeeze of air’   
(Gene Groves)

I enjoyed Sam Smith’s two pieces, Mock Sonnet IX
and A Simple Act, for their directness and clarity.
A touch of humour saved them from excessive didacticism.
I admired very much the poise, restraint and originality of
Mick Barlow’s The voice takes a break. There’s a poet with an ear
for rhythm, who listens to what he writes!
I enjoyed too the lively, playful poems by Penny Sharman
(Zip) and Peter Sutton (Mr Bounce).
I’ll mention finally Neelim Dundass’ short story,
The House Of The Big Brown Eyes, for its slice of life from another world (David Ball)

Here are my favourite poems from your excellent 191 edition.

First – Silence by Maggie Butt. I love this poem, so evocative
of a place I know well. I have always wondered about these
cloistered nuns, isolated in paradise. This is a poem I wish I had written.

Second – Bluebell Horse by Patrick Deeley. Yes I can imagine this horse.
Such a lovely name Bluebell Hill. You don’t expect a dead paddock
smelling of diesel exhaust. Poor horse.

Third – Elegy for Myself by Jack Houston. A short poem
about a tree, or not. How simple but strong. How we only notice things
when they are broken/cut or perhaps just that they are unusual or out of place.
I love the honey-gold circumference of its centre (Virginia Griem)

From a wealth of wonderful poems:

1. Claudia Court’s Lap of Honour -brilliantly understated, concise and vivid.

2. Finola Scott- Spoils and Divisions

3. Anne Rath – Witness

4. Abuja Ghimire- landlady mua (Lynn Kramer)


Orbis 191 – Reader’s Choice

Joint First: Beth Booth: Splendid, and Passenger; David Greenslade:
Calf; Derek Healy: Remission

Joint Second: Gaynor Clements: Bole Hill;
Patrick Deeley: Bluebell Horse

Joint Third: Mike Barlow: The voice takes a break;
Jack Houston: Elegy for Myself

Honorable Mention: Lorna Sherry: The Dangers Of Spring ( Gail Dendy)

1. Jack Houston’s ‘No!’ is a remarkably powerful example
of how restrictive form can harness emotion, the shock of loss
and the devastation of grief. These fugue and accrue with each verse.

2. In ‘Pater Unfamilias’ Gaynor Clements generates a disconcerting
and finely-balanced ambiguity in describing the small details and large damage
of a thirty-year-old relationship. Skilfully, the poem reveals
how pivotal memories torment and affect us variously, over time.

3. There is a particular serenity about Simon Perchik’s ‘*’,
as its imagery pours down the page, like the fluid being observed
in a loved one’s cup. The apparently real links seamlessly with the figurative.

4. The measured tone of ‘Mock Sonnet IX’ belies a condensed
and lucid reflection on perceptions of madness. At the same time,
Sam Smith gives a reasoned voice to that older mindset, where doubt,
rather than apparent wisdom, accumulates over time (Will Daunt)

Thank you for another delightful choice of poems, difficult to pick just four.

(1) Maggie Butt Silence. Wonderful imagery of cloistered living.

(2) Patrick Deeley Wedding Gift Vivid insight to a clock’s life,
so like our own, with skipped beats and pauses.

(3) Gaynor Clements Pater Unfamilias A great poem
of love and forgiving.

(4) Anne Rath Witness Great description, a garden
of beauty etched with sadness (Katherine Noone)

Enjoyed #191, and for once I’m not too late to make a choice.

First: Lorna Sherry: The Nightjar. A very moving poem,
in which form and content work beautifully together.

Second: Doreen Hinchcliffe: The Return. Another moving poem;
the account of the writer’s experience and memories flows naturally,
without the sestina form becoming obtrusive. Not an easy feat.

Third: Claudia Court: Lap of Honour.
A powerful metaphor and a brilliant ending.

Fourth: Tina Tocco: Marriage. A really accomplished haiku:
a demonstration of how to say something important
in seventeen syllables (Michael Swan)

Orbis #191 was a great issue with several standout poems.
I admired Jack Houston’s ‘No!’ and Penny Sharman’s ‘Zip’.

But my votes go to:

1. Lorna Sherry, ‘The Nightjar’ for its mysterious beauty

2. Anna Rath, ‘Witness’ which is a brittle
and poignant tribute to W.S. Merwin

3. Doreen Hinchliffe, ‘The Return’, a deftly-worked sestina
that responds brilliantly to Edward Hopper’s canvas ‘House by the Railroad’.

  1. Tina Tocco, ‘Marriage’, a haiku that really succeeds (Ben Keatinge)

Here are my votes for the Readers’ Award, #191

1: Mock Sonnet IX by Sam Smith

2: Yellow Earth by Isabel Greenslade

3: Badger by Gaynor Clements

4: Silence by Maggie Butt (Phil Knight)

Reader’s awards – My first preference is Mike Barlow’s
The voice takes a break, second Maggie Butt’s Even now,
third Jack Houston’s Elegy for myself   
(John-Christopher Johnson)


1. Isabel Greenslade, Yellow Earth.
Striking personification with some great lines
2. Derek Healy, Remission.
Form well-matched to the idea. Good sonnet with slant rhymes.
3. Richard Hughes, Variations at a Taverna.
Nice use of sounds to capture a moment.
Any poem that includes Bach gets my vote.
4. Doreen Hinchliffe, The Return.
Apt use of form again. I know how hard sestinas are.
Otherwise, a bit too much cliché (Clifford Liles)


Many thanks for Issue 191, and a very fine one it is too
which made choosing my top four difficult although as chance
would have it the first poem my eyes fell upon when I opened my copy
was the one I have chosen as my winner. Spooky.

1.The Ninth Life by Gloria Keeley: an astonishing piece,
a tight rope poem no less! It has astonishing propulsion and scope.

2. The Cack-Hander’s Lament by Jack Debney: an inventive delight
that is amusing and confidently realised throughout.

3. The Dangers of Spring by Lorna Sherry: so well-written,
a note perfect short story. I also enjoyed her poem The Nightjar.

4. Badger by Gaynor Clements: an unflinching anti-pastoral poem
that is decidedly not beige.

Doreen Hinchliffe came close to being in my top 4 with her excellent sestina,
The Return, which is all the more remarkable because I have an aversion to sestinas!
Honourable mentions also to Anne Rath, David Greenslade, Mike Barlow,
Maggie Butt, Finola Scott and Jack Houston (David Mark Williams)


Hard to choose for the vote as it’s such a subjective response
amongst such a high standard.

But here goes: Joint first for Patrick Dooley’s Wedding Gift
and Bluebell Horse. I loved the detail and the feeling in both –
showed such empathy for that horse and as a retired
primary school teacher I was interested to hear the children’s reaction –
don’t find many poems about the classroom?

3. Splendid by Beth Booth – intrigued by the first line and loved the clicks.

4. The voice takes a break by Mike Barlow – liked the form
and the intriguing last couplet (Pam Gormally)


Here are my nominations for Orbis 191.
Lots of excellent poems and stories, so selection was difficult.
The piece I enjoyed most was a story:

Neelim Dundas The House of The Big Brown Eyes.
The writing was really good and drew me in immediately,
keeping my interest right to the end. It introduces us to the
horrors of the poor end of an Indian town, close to where
the priest’s sister and family live. We are introduced to the family
and how understanding and accepting of the state of things everyone is,
even the children. The 9-year old, like her mother, resents the priest’s
trying to give them a helping hand in the form of something lifted
from the collecting box. It is they who seem able to give the priest
a little lesson in morality, and he in turn is irked by it. Lovely tale.

Finola Scott. Spoils and Division. The sadness, almost tragedy
of a 
broken marriage with the protagonists arguing over how to divide
up the 
possessions. It’s something that happens all the time but here it is
drawn attention to with feeling, but also with humour. I smiled at the
Mason/Dixon analogy.
Anne Symons. Corsetière. It’s beautifully written and entertainingly informative,
humorous touches such as subtly pulling the husbands in,
‘ Shantung silk, 
sir… Shall we try that on?’
Richard Hughes. Old song. Again, my attention was initially captured by
nostalgia. I’ve done this a few times myself. And the bitter sweet
ending, where declarations were made/in words from an old song,
very true for me (Vince Smith)


I really enjoyed reading this issue and it was very difficult

to pick my favourites out, but here they are :

1. Even Now – Maggie Butt.

2. Corestiere – Anne Symons.

3. Small Bird – Bill Dodd.

4. He – George Hopewell (Linda Ford)

After long deliberation, I arrived at my final votes.

1. Maggie Butt with Silence drew me in. Fantastic rhythm,

subject beautifully handled.

2. Kathryn MacDonald City of Tulum. Just as she described it…

I was there and one could imagine the sinister practices.

The last two lines leave you stunned with it’s imagery.

3.Peter Sutton Metamorphosis.

Nice buildup to what’s going to happen till last stanza surprises us.

4.George Hopewell He. Enjoyed satirical mood (Gabriella Fulda)

I haven’t numbered these, giving them equal weight:

Claudia Court’s Lap of Honour tells, simply, movingly,

of the day a father’s ashes are tipped and sprinkled

and tipped again from an urn around an airfield as

“the engines roar, purring his dirge”.

Maggie Butt, Even now and Silence. As the poet awaits the doctors’ verdict

and the days grow short possibly in more ways than one,

“the roses-fuchsias-dahlias /defiantly flower as if it were May”;

and in Silence, in a quiet room here is “tonly loom-clack, /pen-scratch,

clatter of knitting needles, / scrumble of paper, scrape-back of chairs,

the tolling of the bell, call of the bell, dying / mmmmm of the bell…”

Jack Houston, Elegy for Myself. This powerful poem

of awareness both of the external world and of self is both window and mirror.

Derek Healy’s Left poignantly captures a moment in time,

as a woman’s lover departs, slamming the door,

the hanger that held his jacket now “empty and loose, /

as though defying its weight / how slowly it subsides /

to moments when it may be stopped / or twitching still.”

Richard Hughes’s Variations at a taverna sets with metrical skill

and melodic movement a wonderful scene at a seaside cafe

where “girls are courted by their mobile phones”

and “the cicada will soon by playing Bach.”

Anne Symons. Corsetiere. A delightfully well-formed, well-corseted poem

in which the purveyor of fancy corsets tells tales (Zara Raab)

1. Beth Booth’s Splendid – A wonderful evocation

of The awful sliding spin of being alive

2. Tina Tocco’s Marriage – easy to overlook

because so short; but it says it all wonderfully economically

3. Ann Rath’s Witness – a more predictably poetic subject,

but evocative, with a couple of lovely images

4. Maggie Butt’s Silence –

she knows what shes doing, doesnt she…
(Jill Boucher)

1 Maggie Butt Silence – Very good writing which took me

right into the experience of the nun.

2 Beth Booth Passenger – I’ve experienced this fear of

being driven on motorways so this poem was very strong for me.

3 Lorna Sherry The Nightjar – Sometimes a simpler poem

seems powerful than a more complex one.

I think this is true of The Nightjar.

4 George Hopewell He – I enjoyed this one

especially the wry comment in the last line (Jenny Hamlett)

I notice that my selected poems are all by female poets.

I enjoyed reading several of the poems written by men;

but men (even poets) seem afraid of giving much of themselves away

in their poems – though Patrick Deeley’s ‘Wedding gift’ risks it….

First choice: The Dangers of Spring by Lorna Sherry.

She sets the scene so well. The mixture of longing satisfied

and terrible and growing unease. The shock of the end

is like the reality becomes exposed in all its violence. Masterful.

I also like her The Nightjar.

Second choice: Witness by Anne Rath This is a beautiful poem

culminating in those last three lines. I don’t think it’s a coincidence

that she mentions ‘holy’ because the poem is full of grace.

Third choice: The House of the big brown eyes by Neelim Dundas

Such an acute description of family tensions and insecurity.

Fourth Choice: 30 Days by Natalie Crick A powerful mixture

of rage and loss. The way it builds is so sure and effective.

I also wanted to mention Silence by Maggie Butt, Bluebell Horse

by Patrick Deeley, Mock Sonnet IX by Sam Smith,

No! by Jack Houston, Small Bird by Bill Dodd

and Powder Closet, Southside House by Ben Bransfield (Jim Conwell)

Enjoyed the 191 edition and voting for:

Natalie Crick – 30 Days, Richard Hughes – Variations at a taverna,

Penny Sharman – All the myths in the dark and Derek Healy – Left   (Andy Eycott)

Here are my Readers’ Awards for Orbis 191

1) Corsetiere by Anne Symons is a very funny well-observed poem.

I liked the detail that the corsetiere addresses the husbands

when they are there: “We do a Shantung silk, sir…”

“Unbiblical” in the last line also works a treat.

2) Even now by Maggie Butt is a brave and evocative poem.

The repetition of “even now” builds up a sense of urgency

and I liked the imagery, particularly “the whole cavalcade

of summer had just whooped into town”.

3) Yellow Earth by Isabel Greenslade gives a vivid picture

of the yellow diggers “chinning up the clay in grinning jaws.”

  1. The Return by Doreen Hinchcliffe. I’ve always liked

  2. the work of Edward Hopper and I can see his painting in this poem.

  3. A successful sestina like this one is not easy to pull off (Michael Henry)

It’s good to have some wonderful poems to take my mind off

the everyday, but an even harder choice than usual and that’s saying something…

Marjorie Maddox – ‘Ode to Normal’. This really resonated with me,

given current times, although not, I suspect, written that recently.

Loved the bright fresh images and ‘the almost unbearable urge to breakdance

on the kitchen table’. Really clever and enjoyable.

Jack Houston – ‘No!’. I was fascinated by the careful construction of this poem

and how it built up to the final catastrophe. Very visual and powerful. A most fitting memorial.

Peter Sutton – ‘Mr Bounce’. The circus feel of the first verse develops into

an examination of human determination to keep going whatever the circumstances.

Claudia Court – ‘Lap of Honour’ – Loved the idea of this surreptitious scattering of the ashes.

The last two lines surge with the engines to give a strong and triumphant finale (Anne Banks)

I have really enjoyed reading the magazine – so many interesting poems. Here are my votes:

1. Isabel Greenslade ‘Mr Starling’ and ‘Yellow Earth’

2. Jack Houston ‘No!’ and ‘Elegy for Myself’

3. Finola Scott ‘Spoils and Division’

4. Derek Healy ‘Left’

I also liked ‘Passenger’ – Beth Booth, ‘The Return’ –

Doreen Hinchliffe, and ‘Metamorphosis’ – Peter Sutton (Meg Barton)

I especially liked the two poems by Derek Healy, and the story by Neil Beardmore,

which is not merely funny, but is also profound. –

it should be read by every teacher in every school (Robin Gregory)

As ever, it is almost impossible to choose from such a treasure box of goodies.

But a choice must be made. So (after much uncertainty and guilt – this one, that one…?)

here are my favourite poems from Orbis 191,


Jack Debney – ‘The Cack-Hander’s Lament.’ This poor, clumsy chap sounds

a great deal like me – many spills and falls just seem to happen.

Anne Rath – ‘Witness.’ Those final three lines feel like a prayer or a gentle spell.

Patrick Deeley – ‘Wedding Gift.’ Time given, time used and time passing. Poor old clock !

David Martin – ‘Hell On Earth.’ Enjoyed the third circle’s artful fate.

Joint Fourth: Beth Booth – ‘Passenger.’ This whole poem echoes

my own sense of doom whenever I step inside a car.

Liked the reference to a Titanic disaster !

Joint Fourth: Isabelle Greenslade – ‘Yellow Earth’. I like the way

Diggers have evolved to look like Dinosaurs –

and now they’re busily destroying our poor, green planet.

Third Place: George Hopewell – ‘He.’ That perfect punchline did it for me !

Joint Second: Ben Bransfield – ‘Powder Closet, Southside House.’

Such economic words, while so much hinges on the boy’s ‘flourpuff lungs’.

This one lingers like arsenic.

Joint Second: Maggie Butt: ‘Silence.’ Now we’re all in Lockdown –

and many people have little communication with friends or family.

But this rich description of quietness almost becomes a calming luxury – or at least, an escape !

First Place: Claudia Court – ‘Lap Of Honour.’

This poem spoke to me. Our family

has had to decide where we should scatter the ashes of parents –

and this month I have already lost three friends.

So this ‘Lap Of Honour’ was a perfect tribute,

combining love, humour and an apt farewell.

Thank you all (Clare Bevan)

I nominate, in alphabetical order: Maggie Butt – Silence;

Bill Dodd – Small bird; Derek Healy – Left; Richard Hughes –

Variations at a taverna. I also very much liked: Maggie Butt – Even now;

Patrick Deeley – Bluebell Horse; Jan Fitzgerald – The numen

(though I wish she could have avoided the over-used “shape shifter”);

Jack Houston – Elegy for myself; Anne Symons – Corsetière. (Robin Gilbert)

My votes for Orbis #191; Hard choices from another great edition:

1/ Maggie Butt – Even Now – It’s beautiful description of

passing seasons and the way life goes on, with or without us.

2/ Mike Barlow – The Voice Takes A Break – I love this idea

of disembodied voices chatting among themselves.

3/Derek Healy – Left – Short and sweet, it says so much, effortlessly.

4/ Gaynor Clements – You’re Never More Than Six Feet From

An Elvis Impersonator Great images of all these Elvises (Elvii?)

with bony hips and curled lips (Robin Daglish)

Orbis #191 Readers’ Award Comments

1. Patrick Deeley: Bluebell Horse. “Imagine a horse…”

the poem begins. Yes, we can, with such vivid description of the sorry state

of the creature, and the desolation of its surroundings. There is the cyclist trying,

by speaking to the horse, to “uncrease/a grievance”; and the heartening desire

of the children for “restoring him to himself”. The poem ends with a somewhat sinister stanza.

The pylons, which “look full of the joys as they twinkle and sing” hint at much of life which holds hidden dangers.

2. Maggie Butt: Even now. A poem of wonder at the way

the natural world carries on, regardless of the suffering of someone who is ill.

The repeated “even now” emphasises this. Every stanza contains striking phrases.

We also feel the suffering of the carer in “a party/I wasn’t invited to”

and “fingers shrieking with cold”. Flowers carry on regardless,

as if summer has “whooped into town”; and some of the plants are cutting through

the gloom as they “scissor their way up”, “green-blading the air”.

3. Claudia Court: Lap of Honour. For the first three couplets, I was imagining

a family outing, a picnic perhaps in a rather strange setting. Then it becomes clear

that the bag contains father’s ashes. There is the brief hint at sorrow in the description

of the journey’s hours, his years, the weight of the urn. Then exhilaration as the sisters scatter

his ashes in a place he loved, leaving him “swerving full throttle on the wind”.

  1. Jack Houston: Elegy for Myself. The first two stanzas give a clear description

  2. of what remains of the tree and its position. I found myself imagining where

  3. the stump would reach on me; and my fingers running over the “honey-gold…smooth top”

  4. of the stump. But the real loss, and the reason for the title,

  5. is expressed so well in those final two lines (Helen Ashley)

This issue is packed full of talent, and I found it very hard to narrow my choices down,

but these are the ones I kept coming back to.

1. The voice takes a break by Mike Barlow. A brilliant poem, and the ‘perfect space’

to comment on the power of what goes unsaid.

2. Even now by Maggie Butt. A beautiful poem, which addresses the continuity

of nature, ‘swelling buds’, despite the darkness.

3. Left by Derek Healy Encapsulates the actions of a few life changing moments,

in heartbreaking, microscopic detail.

4. Corsetiere by Anne Symons This poem feels as seamless as the stitching

required for a well made corset. The opening lines are fantastic.

I also loved, City Of Tulum by Kathryn Macdonald, Passengers by Beth Booth,

Wedding Gift by Patrick Deeley and both pieces by Lorna Sherry
(Claire Louise Hunt)

Here are my four choices for the Orbis #191 Readers’ Award:

1. Claudia Court – Lap of Honour. I like the unusual link between

the racecourse and the dead father’s ashes; the contrast between loud speed and scattered silence.

2. Mike Barlow – The voice takes a break. The opening

and closing stanzas have just the right amount of emphasis.

Not a word is wasted in this poem.

3. Maggie Butt – Silence. This is a silence in which there are

many sounds, both inner and outer.

  1. Marjorie Maddox – Ode To “Normal”. How well this poet conveys

  2. the feeling of tension: the holding back of impulses and emotions (Jenny Johnson)

My choices, with difficulty reduced to four:

Claudia Court Lap of Honour Setting neatly introduced, the mystery

of the visit skilfully explained and a telling revelation in the last two lines. Clever use of couplets.

Lorna Sherry The Nightjar A quiet poem full of atmosphere,

where the outdoors and indoors balance each other, and with a structure

and use of repetition which hold the ideas together.

Jan Fitzgerald The Numen Intriguing, with insight

into a child’s mind and the sense of time passing.

Finola Scott Spoils and Division A familiar subject treated in a very original way,

with a pleasingly concrete style of description and a telling, somewhat menacing, last line (Jenny King)

My choices for the Readers’ Award are as follows; four outstanding poems:

1st: Anne Symons for Corsetiere: deliciously unusual and very well written.

2nd: Patrick Deeley for Bluebell Horse; the most truthful description

I’ve ever read of those worn-out horse paddocks that lie

on the outer rings of towns and cities. Excellent.

3rd: Bill Dodd for small bird, an unusual leap from the tiny repeated sound

of a bird to thoughts of god.. Lovely

4th: Maggie Butt for Even now. The repetition of ‘even now’

at the beginning of each stanza was very well handled (Gill McEvoy)

Here are my choices

1st Peter Sutton : Mr Bounce

2nd Jack Houston No!

3rd Anne Duncan At Dinner

4th Lorna Skarry The Nightjar

What an issue – difficult to choose beyond ‘No!

I would give my eye teeth to have written the first two –

Sutton so sharp, so witty and so dark and Houston’s wonderful villanelle.

Dylan Thomas taught us that a villanelle could be strong and serious and Houston confirms. this

(Robin Ford)

I’ve marked so many powerful and original poems this time and ones

that made me smile – Doreen Hinchcliffe’s The Return,Marjorie Maddox’s Ode to Normal,

George Hopewell’s He, Lorna Sherry’s The Nightjar, Patrick Deeley’s Bluebell Horse,

Maggie Butt’s Silence and Even Now, Beth Booth’s Splendid, Bill Dod’s small bird,

and Anne Symon’s Corsetière. They were all different and so well crafted.

Readers Award

1st Maggie Butt – Silence

2nd Patrick Deeley – Bluebell Horse

3rd Beth Booth – Splendid (Jenna Plewes)

I enjoyed, was moved by and admired 10 poems in this issue but my final choice:

Left by Derek Healy

Even Now by Maggie Butt

Wedding Gift by Patrick Deeley

I’d give a lot to have written one of these. Two thoughts: in Wedding Gift

the line ‘where a stranger’s paintings had hung’ I think is unnecessary

and the line and a half in Maggie’s ‘when doctors can’t agree and talk percentages

oddsing it like bookies’ is masterly – the point of the poem just slipped in.

My other seven poems were, in no order of preference

Hell on Earth by Dave Martin

Bole Hill II by Gaynor Clements

Pater Unfamilias by Gaynor Clements

Bluebell Horse by Patrick Deeley

Silence by Maggie Butt

The Numen by Jan Fitzgerald

small bird by Bill Dodd (Dorothy Pope)

I very much enjoyed the #191 edition. My vote goes to Yellow Earth

by Isabel Greenslade. I found this both playful and descriptive,

with a sense of earth and image, and machine grinding into nature. I really enjoyed it.

Second vote to Tina Tocco’s Marriage. Beautifully expressed in three lines!

Third, Claudia Court’s Lap of Honour, a poignant metaphor.

4. Dave Martin’s Corner of a Foreign Field.

I also enjoyed Jan FitzGerald’s The numen and loved the first verse

“When I was a child he emerged at night from a gnarl in the apple tree.”

Also “on a night too bright for sleeping” was atmospheric.

Beth Booth’s Passenger conjured up well the anxiety around being in a car

not driven well, or allowing one’s child to go into a car where one does not know

or trust the driver, or worrying about the other drivers on the road who might injure oneself

or a loved one. Also the pollution factor and its impact on the environment, well expressed.

Silence by Maggie Butt had some descriptive words and phrasing especially in the second verse –

clitter of knitting needles, scrumble of paper…

I found both Patrick Deeley’s poems poignant (Helen Whitten)

Votes and comments on Orbis #191

1st Isabel Greenslade – Yellow Earth – wonderful imagery of diggers

at play, when their work might rip up the forests of the world.

2nd Mike Barlow – The voice takes a break – I enjoy poems about silence and the unsaid

3rd Natalie Crick – At Dinner – a step into the macabre,

but a recognised moment of not really all right.

4th Anne Symons – Corsetière – Delicious (Sue Spiers)

#191 is terrifc, best Orbis I’ve read

with the incredibly high standard of your selection of poems:

1st: Gaynor Clements for Pater Unfamilias. I enjoyed all five

and could have chosen two or three of the others, but this was the best.

2nd: Patrick Deeley for Wedding Gift. Fresh and original with a great last verse

Joint 3rd: Doreen Hinchcliffe for The Return. Excellent and moving combination

of mystery and emotion though even better if Hopper reference was omitted;

could be used as preamble at readings?

Jack Houston for Elegy for Myself. Clever, complex and denser, the more I read it (Peter Ebsworth)

In some issues of Orbis, the task of selection for Reader’s Award is almost impossible.

This is one of those. I will write it quickly before I change my mind again.

1. Lap of Honour by Claudia Court and Pater Unfamilias by Gaynor Clements

2. Silence by Maggie Butt ( enjoyed both of her poems)

3. small bird by Bill Dodd – loved those last few stanzas

4. The Voice takes a Break by Mike Barlow and Mr Bounce by Peter Sutton (loved the musicality in this)

Also really liked: Bluebell Horse by Patrick Deeley, Corsetiere by Anne Symons

and so many more of the witty well-written and interesting poems. But that’s not helpful is it? (Eve Jackson)



Orbis 190, Winter 2019/2020

£5 (Overseas: £11/€14/$16); Subs: £18/4 pa (Overseas: £40/€50/$60)

Front cover artwork: ‘Gaia’, Luke Jerarm, photograped by Peter Raymond
back cover, detail from image:

It’s a whole new world out there – and in here, and like Bianca Pellet,
that must give you Hope, especially when the … pearl-coloured morning
(Dawn Gorman) is slowly giving way to brighter skies, if not quite as early as
Mike Bedford, at 2 am. And we cover some BIG themes, like Jami Macarty
and Leviathan… Moving swiftly on, since David Heidenstam is discussing
Improbabilities, you may want to know  more about Clown’s crossing by
Caroline Price, how cute is Foxy (Christina Buckton), and why Ralph Mold
is writing about the life in Brian. Not only that, if you are intrigued,
like Alessio Zanelli,  about The Missing Words,
well, maybe James B. Nicola knows how to find the answer:
One Reason Why I Use a Big Old Dictionary.
Or look up something just as fascinating in this issue:

Featured Poet,
Ian McDonough: (The Windows; Family Tree; Man in a Puddle; Fishertown; Montana

Poems from
Ciaran BuckleyThese Witchmen; Dawn Gorman,This pearl-coloured morning;
Jo PetersI know you don’t read poetry but…; Estill PollockCat;
Sabyasachi NagHow to Interpret a Dream?;
Lois Roma-DeeleyNight Driving with Narcissus and Echo

Prose from

Cat Campbell, What moves the river; Gaby FuldaThe Master;
Carsten Smith-HallNever give up

Past Master

Merryn Williams on Arthur Symons


James B. Nicola on Snow in the Suburbs by Thomas Hardy

Reviews by Maria Isakova Bennett, David Harmer, Clairr O’Connor, D. A. Prince,
Theresa Sowerby, Lynne Taylor 
and Noel Williams

Orbis 190 contributors also include

Veronica Beedham; Glenn Bradford; Arthur Broomfield; Peter Burrows;
Terese Coe; Gail Dendy; Andy Eycott; Robin Gilbert; Paul Green;
Pauline Hawkesworth; Andrew Heath; Lance Lee; MaryEllen Letarte;
Sheila Martin; 
Mark Paffard; Jo Peters; Tanya Prudente; Donna Pucciani ;
Gwen Sayers; Pam Stocker; Robin Lindsay Wilson; Dorothy Yamamoto



Orbis189 (Autumn)

£5 (Overseas: £11/€14/$16); Subs: £18/4 pa (Overseas: £40/€50/$60)

Front cover artwork: ‘The Silent room’ by Van Renselar
back cover, detail from image:

Do not despair…

We may be going less than gently into the darkest part of the year,
taking too much of a Forward Step along with Elizabeth McSkeane,
but like Harry Gallagher, best keep Clutching At Dreams because it’ll soon be
you-know-what, and that could mean Pass the parcel with Alison Chisholm,
raising a Toast with Liz Byrne – and a few Presents from Michael Swan.
But some of you may perhaps follow Rob Walton’s lead, making Assignations,
while others, as Linda King suggests, could make themselves useful mending; no,
not those kind of Seams, from Tracey Hope but what Laura Potts is telling us about
The Body Broken. Or finding out  about Samuel Prince’sOlympus Camera Rupture
and Martin Bennett’sStaffordshire Macwhirr.
Yes, it may be cold outside but you can always escape into the warmth of Orbis.

Featured Poet Gerður Kristný
Anne Frank; Triumph; Ægisíða; God; North

Poems from:

Jan BallNot sharing at Yoshu;
Alexander HandWhite sesame seeds, about two pounds;
Heikki HuotariConfirmed;Beth McDonough,Yet another riddle of strange states;
Ann van WijgerdenElephantine

Prose from

Sari Pauloma;The Train Arrived; David McVeyOffending the Senses;
Mark ReeceBoy

Translation, Judith Wilkinson: Toon Tellegen, Wat Ik van een gedicht verwacht
and Woorden die hij niet kan schrijven

Past Master: Peter Viggers on Cesar Vallejo

Article: ‘The Spring And Fall In A Writer’s Step’ by Will Daunt

Reviews: Maria Isakova Bennett, Ross Cogan, Philip Dunkerley, David Harmer,
Clairr O’Connor, D. A. Prince, Theresa Sowerby 
and Andrew Taylor

Orbis 189 Contributors also include

Alex Barr; Jill Boucher; Brian Docherty; Peter Ebsworth; Joel Robert Ferguson;
Anas Hassan; Alistair Heys; Nigel Jarrett; Carl Nelson; Mhairi Owens;
Khadija Rouf; Frances Sackett; Hermione Sandall; John Short




Orbis 188 (Summer)

£5 (Overseas: £11/€14/$16); Subs: £18/4 pa (Overseas: £40/€50/$60)

Front cover artwork: ‘Key to madness’ by Kelly Marie Davidson
back cover, detail from image:

We like to do what it says on the can, or rather, the cover,
so contents always range far and wide, in time as well as space,
and of course, from contributors all over the world. OK, maybe
it’s just a Meeting in an Upstairs Room, with Vivienne Hanna-Artt,
but Will Daunt welcomes you to dear old England, and times gone by,
with Adlestrop,  and you can go back to Thira with Wendy Goulstone,
or aim for The Starry Outer Paradise with Yuan Hongri
(Translated by Manu Mangattu). Eamonn Lynskey takes you Walking
on the Via Vittoria Colonna, Rome
, but you’d be surprised where
Andrew Curtis is headed in Bang to time; maybe even more so
when Sheila Aldous reveals The Secret of Breathing. Indeed, lean in to
Kevin Griffin, because he’s talking Sotto Voce, revealing perhaps that
Royston Tester is Still in love with the bass player,
the truth about Odin and the Caterpillar, from Warren Mortimer
and what Stuart Pickford’s up to in Big Nose and Fat Man.
So, like Cat Campbell, do you know what you Want?
In the end, let Taylor Strickland show you: @RestAndBeThankful,
there’s plenty to enjoy in Orbis

Featured Poet 
Gareth Roberts (Tidelands; Weeping from the King’s Wood…;
When the words are leaving)

Poems from: Lynn Foote (Veulettes-sur-Mer); Maggie Reed (Wonderful Clowns);
K. V. Skene (Moonsplaining the man); Anthony Watts (Ozymandias in the Wood)

Prose from: Desiree Kendrick (Don’t Hate Me);
Lani O’Hanlon (So bright and tender); Charles Osborne (Line 13)

Translation: Pablo Dubois (Espiga: The Ear Of Wheat);
Yvonne Reddick (Firesetter;
into German, by Jutta Kaussen; into Hungarian, by Júlia Lázár)

Past Master: Benjamin Keatinge on Konstantin Miladinov

Reviews:Maria Isakova Bennett, David Harmer, Jenny Hockey, Afric McGlinchey,
Clairr O’Connor, D. A. Prince, Andrew Taylor 
and Noel Williams

Orbis 188 Contributors also include

Sheila Aldous; Cat Campbell; Andrew Curtis; Will Daunt;
Maggie Davison; Miranda Day; Linda Ford; Wendy Goulstone;
Kevin Griffin; Vivienne Hanna-Artt; Alice Harrison; 
Paul Jeffcutt;
L. B. Jørgensen; Lavinia Kumar; S. W. Layzell; Chris Luck;
Eamonn Lynskey; Nancy Anne Miller; Warren Mortimer;
Robert Nisbet; 
Katherine Noone; Gabrielle O’Donovan;
Stuart Pickford; Theresa Sowerby; 
Taylor Strickland;
Royston Tester; Robin Thomas; Hongri Yuan





Orbis 187 (Spring)£5 (Overseas: £11/€14/$16); Subs: £18/4 pa (Overseas: £40/€50/$60)

Front cover artwork: ‘World’s Away’ by Megan Duncanson
back cover, detail from image:

First, Ted Hughes, then Sylvia Plath (although some of you may want to argue
about that), in an article by Paul Stephenson.  But Spring is here, somewhere,
although still chilly enough to snuggle up with Neil Beardmore,
In Bed, Writing Poetry About Hokusai, as long as you don’t end up having nightmares
about Annie Newcomer’sUkraine. Much better to have A Dream To Dare,
like Morgan Kenney, or to imagine being The God of Little Things (Faye Boland).
And does Louise WilfordWhen He Marched Back, have anything to do with
Rodney Wood’s ABC of the Royal Navy? Or, Tim Cunningham’s description of
Nostalgia Day In Paradise – even Alisa VelajAniara, Aniara
Or My Transcendence of Night? Back down to earth, sort of, let Claire Booker
tell you all about being Eyeless in Riyadh. Last, but by no means least, pay a visit to
Tim Dowley’s Life class. And if you fancy being transported to a classy life,
you know where to look. Right here:

Featured PoetDenise McSheehy: Seamless & Complete; Night Walk; Somewhere

Poems from: Marie LecrivainMy Amygdala Didn’t Get the Memo;
David LukensBeware The Smart Toaster; Marcus Pavard,
What We Worshippers Do Afterhours; Sue SpiersIn Silence; Richard Toovey,
There ought to be a word for it; Susan WicksNight Breathing

Prose from:Charlotte GringrasHappy Families;
Denise McSheehyWhiteJenna PlewesYellow

Translation: Laura ChalarPaisaje by Federico García Lorca

Past Master: Jonathan Cooper on Charlotte Mew

Reader’s Response: Philip Dunkerley

‘In Defence Of Humour:
Comedic effect in the poetry of Sylvia Plath’: Paul Stephenson

Reviews: Maria Isakova Bennett, David Harmer, Jenny Hockey,
D. A. Prince, Lynne Taylor 
and Noel Williams

Orbis 187 Contributors also include

Fred Beake; Patricia Brody; Lucinda Carey; Victoria Gatehouse;
Jenny Hockey; 
Glenn Hubbard; Eve Jackson; Fred Johnstone;
Robert Keeler; Martin Kerry; Jenny King; 
Craig Kurtz; Hilary Mellon;
Tom Paine; Katherine Barrett Swett; Jules Whiting




Orbis186, Winter

£5 (Overseas: £11/€14/$16); Subs: £18/4 pa (Overseas: £40/€50/$60)

Front cover artwork: ‘Art Deco‘ by Phillip Ward
back cover, detail from image:

A Raven and a Crow walked into a bar? No joke ,
but a tale you’re sure to want to sample, about Ted Hughes, and John Smelcer.
And indeed, such a good start to the year with an issue ranging far and wide,
literally from the Sublime to the Ridiculous, if via the rather Grim:
Self Portrait with Death Playing the Fiddle, anyone? Thanks to Kevin Densley.
So perhaps I should ask myself, like Christine CurtisAm I doing this right?
And move swiftly on to the practical, to watch Lorraine CareyPatching up Loulou,
or fathom out the perplexing, in Keith Moul’s description of Avid Disinterest:
the Yogi, 
the Mentor, the Model. Or we could join Camino Victoria Garcia
By the Aspetuck River, well, rather than following Eurydice’s Husband,
 Úna Ní Cheallaigh’s versionwhile David Mark Williams can bring us
back to Reality in Light Programme Avenue. Then we’ll finish off
with Love from Dinah Livingstone – and from Orbis, wishing you all the best for 2019.

Featured Poet

Christopher Rice: In Transit; Skylark on Stackpole Head; Decoys; Paranoia

Poems from: Miles LarmourThe Corncrake, Alive and Cupped;
Dinah LivingstoneLove; Geraldine MillsAbove their station;
Lani O’HanlonMy dream out; John SmelcerExodus Raven;
Alec TaylorThe Archaeopteryx and the Smilodon

Prose from: Michael G. CaseyLetter to Meryl; Shirley Jones,The Museum;
Marcie McCauleySpectators

Translation: Dan Veach: Conde Arnoldos

Past Master: Sue Tyson on Edward FitzGerald

Reviews by Angelina d’Roza, Philip Dunkerley, David Harmer,
Jenny Hockey, D. A. Prince, Lynn Taylor and Noel Williams

Orbis 186 Contributors also include

David Ball, Clare Bevan, J. E. G. Blanchard, Sheena Bradley,
Jennifer Compton, 
Robin Ford, Richard George, Caroline Gill, Chris Hardy,
Derek Healy, Ashleigh John, 
Tim Love, Elspeth McLean, John McOwat,
Keith Moul, Natalie Scott, Roger Singer, 
Sue Tyson and Robert Penn,
Olivia Walwyn, Helen Whitten, Richard Williams






Orbis185, Autumn

£5 (Overseas: £11/€14/$16); Subs: £18/4 pa (Overseas: £40/€50/$60)

Front cover artwork: ‘The Travellers‘ by Jane Indigo Moore

back cover, detail from image:

Fancy a taste of The Full English Brexit, offered up by Michael Henry?
Or fed up already, perhaps that’s why Frederick has gone to ground;
Anne Osbourn has a puzzle to solve, And if you’d also like to escape
the gloomy weather,along with Maxima Kahn, in this Gathering Fall,
lose yourself in Art, and enjoy Kevin Cahill’s description
of How They Met Themselves. Well, better than giving cause for concern:
Stratford A. Kirby’sSheep Worrier –
even more so with the Cow Trespassing, from Bill Dodd;
could end up thinking, may as well Make me a wilderness, like Matthew Smith
or even a Red Brick Wall (John Bartlett). But one thing’s for sure,
reading Orbis helps build up inspiration.

Featured Poet

Fokkina McDonnellAnimate and inanimate objects relating to J Abraham;
Just another week; 
Partial view of a loch

Poems from: Chrissy BanksAn Agnostic’s Christmas; Kevin Cahill,
How They Met ThemselvesChris RaetschusLimerence;
Frank WoodPericles, His Diary

Prose from: María Castro DominguezBlind Insight;
Phil KnightCampanula Capratica;
Fokkina McDonnell,This is a portrait if I say so;
Vincent SmithLove that will not let me go

Translation: Ranald BarnicotFrom the Italian of Gabriele D’annunzio

Past Master: Jocelyne Thébault on Arthur Rimbaud

Article: ‘His Chosen Islands: Richard Murphy’ by Benjamin Keatinge

Reviews by Angelina d’Roza, Philip Dunkerley, David Harmer,
Clairr O’Connor, D. A. Prince, Andrew Taylor and Noel Williams

Orbis 185 Contributors also include

Nick Burbridge; David Burridge; Malcolm Carson; Eileen Casey; Ian Caws;
Doreen Duffy; Attracta Fahy; Carol Featherstone; Lorna Grinter;
Claire Louise Hunt; 
Simon Lewis; Ray Malone; Probal Mazumdar;
Dave Medd; Stuart Pickford; 
Marilyn Ricci; Sheila Spence;
Jill Townsend; Davide Trame; Frank Wood


Orbis184, Summer

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Front cover artwork: ‘Dragon with Hiroshige‘ by Jeff Gettis

back cover, detail from image:

What are we to make of this fabulous Summer? Yes, enjoy the Heatwave,
along with Julie Mellor; it’s a veritable River of Light (Ali Pardoe),
as Peter SuttonEcho o o o o (s). But let’s start by finding out about
Mark Paffard’sMountaineers of Leningrad, or trust Margarita Serafimova,
and venture to The Water’s Edge. However, if we find ourselves wondering about
Colin Pink‘s Beautiful Lies, it may lead to Lara Frankena
and The Plagiarist’s Lament, or perhaps all turn out to be Magic,
as Hiram Larew says. So why not stop to smell the (PressedFlowers,
from Marybeth Rua-Larsen, although sadly, they’re not to be found
in Denise Bennett’s account of Blossom Alley, or with Calamity’s Child,
as Daragh Bradish explains. And before it’s all what Tim Dwyer calls an
Imagined Memory, snap up a bargain, for example, In This Style, 10/6
(Georgina Titmus). And here’s another one to make the most of –
make this issue of Orbis top of your reading list.

Featured Poet
Ian McEwen: The riches of embarrassment; A spell of wind; Homily on practice

Poems from: Michael AtkinsonKafka’s GardenHolly DayThe Sacred Texts;
Briege Duffaud,  La Vie Simple à la Campagne;
Mary O’DonnellA Report to the Home Galaxy on ‘Speck’;
John ZedolikConcluding Comfort

Prose from: Peter EaganMr Tortilla;
Mitchell Krockmalnik GraboisTurbine Syndrome and The Baroness;
Fiona Vigo MarshallThe Library of Dreams

Translation: Luba OstashevskyTwo poems by Anna Akhmatova

Past Master: Hannah Stone on Andrew Marvell

Reviews by
Maria Isakova Bennett, Angelina d’Roza, David Harmer, Jenny Hockey,
D. A. Prince, Andrew Taylor, Lynne Taylor, David Troman 
and Noel Williams

Orbis 184 Contributors also include

Anne Banks, Jill Boucher, Peter French, Mary Melvin Geoghegan,
Ann Gibson, Alice Kinsella, Pete Langley, Gill McEvoy, Robert Ronnow,
Paul Saville, Pam Thompson, Carl Tomlinson, Ray Whitaker


Orbis 183, Spring

£5 (Overseas: £11/€14/$16); Subs: £18/4 pa (Overseas: £40/€50/$60)

Front cover artwork: ‘Dragonflies First Flight’ by Amanda Dagg
back cover, detail from image:

Who wouldn’t love to know More About the Marmoset? Fortunately,
Max Gutmann can explain. 
And why is Alex Josephy writing
On Not Going into the Garden? It’s a Gift,
says Sarah Lindon, like creating poems such as Julie Maclean’s Light Wave
and Particles of Icarus
and John Timothy RobinsonA Keepsake
in Handfuls of Memory Eart
Or even when you know things like
This is how it feels before the rain, as Ben Macnair tells us.
Meanwhile, Yvonne Adami can be discovered Walking the Merri,
whilst Katherine Swett 
is a Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog.
Mark Carson however reveals the grim details 
of being an Apprentice;
like John-Christopher Johnson, think Frankenstein
On that rather dark note,
let us reassure you there’s plenty here to make you Smile
thank you,
Lorna Sherry; you’re sure to enjoy this issue,
along with Grahaeme Barrasford Young – Because I say so.
And finally, or rather, with Tony Hendry,
simply And

Featured Poet
, Judith ShawGreek Juggernaut; genuine middle eastern sculpture;
it helps somehow; There are more fences now

Poems from Lucía Orellana-DamacelaRain Noir:
Zebulon HusetOf Chivalry and Chance;
Ed JonesWhen Jesus Spoke to the Elephants;
Mary MakofskeCreation/Apocalypse;
Hannah Stone, ‘How unpleasant to meet Mr Eliot’;
Martin ZarropSleepers

Prose from Jim MeiroseThe Burning Bush;
Luba OstashevskyPeople are crazy;
Lorna Sherry, Smile

Past Master: Eamonn Lynskey on Eugene Lee Hamilton

Reviews by Maria Isakova Bennett, Philip Dunkerley, David Harmer,
Afric McGlinchey, 
D. A. Prince, Andrew Taylor, Lynne Taylor and Noel Williams

Contributors also include

John Arnold; Anne Ballard ; Stephen Clarke; Jim Conwell;
Nigel Ford; Paul Francis; 
Pauline Hawkesworth; Richard Hughes;
Paula Jennings; Lindy Newns; John Perrault; 
Anne Rees;
Peter Viggers; F. J. Williams; Nicky Winder


Orbis182, Winter

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Front cover artwork: ‘Venice Costume Drama‘ by John Penney
back cover, detail from image:


Have those long, dark nights had you observing, along with Jo Peters,
It’s not that I don’t believe in ghosts? Well, as we head into the light, finally,
we can echo Laura Ciraolo and Go lightly through life, especially if January
involved a bit of a Dry Patch (Mat Riches) – or were you as determined as
Jenny Johnson
, declaring I Am Swift Purpose? Although, as Brian Daldorph
explains, there is an art in knowing  when it’s Time to go, while Oz Hardwick
will tell you the Rudiments of Practical Philosophy, something about which
the Ancients knew a thing or two. But rather than making Bronze Offerings
In The Water
, along with Tim Miller, maybe we should pour A Libation,
thanks to Ginny Sullivan. And to everybody who enjoys poetry –
Orbis is filled with some excellent samples.

Featured Poet
, Ben BransfieldSurfaces; Penance;Cellar; The Weight; The Chord

Poems from
Andrew Button (Johnny Marr’s Fingers); Wendy Everett; (The silence of);
Jean O’Brien; (Paper-Chain-Dolls): Harry Owen (Unhinged at Chintsa);
Theresa Sowerby (A Charm of Gates);
Anne Tannam (The Poet Transformed Into Anger)

Prose from Alexa Recio de Fitch (Fabrication); Grahame Lloyd (Seeing the Light):
Sam Smith (Ideas not derived from experience but with observable outcomes)

Translation From the Early Irish: Terence Brick (Líadain)

Past Master: Becca Menon on Isolde Kurz

Reviews by
Angelina d’Roza, Philip Dunkerley, David Harmer, Clairr O’Connor,
D. A. Prince, Lynne Taylor, David Troman and Noel Williams


Orbis 182 Contributors also include

Sheila Aldous; Jean Atkin; Veronica Beedham; Martin Bennett;
C M Buckland; Ann Flynn; A. P. Fraser; Adrian Green; Jenny Hamlett;
Simon Leonard; Kathleen McPhilemy; Frances Nagle; Carsten Smith-Hall;
Laura Solomon; Jonathan Totman; Richard Williams; Jim C. Wilson


Orbis181, Autumn

£5 (Overseas: £10/€14/$16); Subs: £18/4 pa (Overseas: £38/€50/$60)

Front cover artwork: ‘Bridge Over Troubled Waters’ by Shanina Conway

The Long and the Short and the Tall? Well, long poems this time, certainly,
and a lot that rhyme  (which perhaps this should do in honour of the occasion),
except – Helen Harrison’sThe Rhythm of Wood. Plus a couple under 10 lines,
and maybe you’ll agree with  Gregory Arena, that We’re all Dr Who?
Yes, quite a few Tales of the Unexpected: ever come across
The Patagonian Su? Let Colin Sutherill explain. Or you could visit  Mt. Hiei
in the company of Pauline Flynn, perhaps pay a Cold Call, with Martin Malone.
Meanwhile, Lay by Gale Acuff is entirely open to interpretation,
and better pay heed to Marie Dolores’s suggestion: Beware the Meek.
What exactly does Cathy Whittaker have in mind, saying, I will buy a trunk?
No prizes however for guessing whom Grahame Lloyd’s
Trumpery Trumpety Trump is about. And forgive us
if we seem to be blowing our own trumpet, Because reading the magazine –
you’ll soon see why…

Featured Poet

Lyn Moir: Life Drawing; Playing Deck Shuffleboard with Somerset Maugham, 1948;
At the Movies, Ohio 1942

Poems from Matt BarnardA Portrait of the Artist as a Sasquatch;
Judith DrazinA Blue TimeJonathan EdwardsBest Man;
Eve Jackson
The Dutch Circus Came To Town and They Missed It;
Grahame Lloyd,Trumpery Trumpety Trump

Prose from
Gregory ArenaExamination: the Italian English Certification Centre Cambung ©;
Christine DespardesMassCityJoanne FelthamPerspectivo (Translation):Perspective

Past Master: David Troman on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Article: Carol Sausman: On Rhyme and Reason

Reviews by Maria Isakova Bennett, Ross Cogan, Angelina d’Roza,
David Harmer, Lindy Newns, Lynne Taylor, David Troman 
and Noel Williams

Orbis Contributors also include

Kevin Barrett; Jane Blanchard; A. C. Clarke; Michael Coy;
David Crann; Fiona Donaghey; 
Kieran Egan; Scott Elder;
Aidan Fadden; Leo Holloway; Patricia Leighton; Tim Love; 
Julie Lumsden;
Patricia McCaw; D. A. Prince; Tanya Prudente; Alexandra Sashe;
A. K. S. Shaw; Anne Symons; Philip Williams; Alessio Zanelli

bis180, Summer

£5 (Overseas: £10/€14/$16); Subs: £18/4 pa (Overseas: £38/€50/$60)

Front cover artwork: ‘Day Out by James Walsh ©
back cover, detail from image:

Here’s one for all those with a child genius, and a vague yearning to learn
(just try googling it…): be intrigued by Laura Seymour
and The fate of the peanut specialist. Not to mention Frances Sackett’s
description of the Moon in Flood –and why is Mum’s Laughing (Anne Stewart)?
And just how do you go about Outwitting Baba Yaga? Pat Farrington explains,
while John Andrew spins a yarn about his Line of Ancestry.
Join in with Elizabeth Barton’sSong of a Suburb, keeping a watch, though,
for Sue Davies and The Strawberry Thieves, as well as The Burner
(Tom Moody). Then relax with some Cocktails in the company
of James Conor Patterson, raising a glass to Neil Beardmore’sAmanuensis.
But heed the Teachings of the Shaman from Louis Nthenda,
and Sarah Barnsley’s instructions:
We have made a number of key appointments –
be sure to keep yours with this issue of Orbis

Featured Poet Kevin Casey: A New Confectionery; Promises; Darning the Sky

Poems from:
Arthur BroomfieldSeeing Limerick Station through quantum physics;
Craig KurtzHuswife’s Velleity; Edward O’DwyerThe End of Ice-Cream;
Fiona Pitt-KethleyFigs and Amethysts; Gwen SayersNkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika

Prose from Charles OsborneThe Girl in the Sand;
Jennifer OuelletteThe Heroes;
Pavle Radonic, LOVES HIGH AND LOW Wives and Devotions

Translation: Brent SouthgatePoems from Martial

Past Master: Helen Ashley on Edward Thomas

Reviews by
Clairr O’Connor, Angelina d’Roza, Philip Dunkerley, David Harmer,
D. A. Prince, Andrew Taylor, David Troman 
and Noel Williams

Orbis 180 contributors also include

Mike Alderson; Aidan Baker; Linda Benninghoff;
Toby Campion; Andrew Curtis; 
Nathan Fidler; Angela Howarth;
Ian McLachlan; Antony Mair; 
Katherine Noone; Val Pargeter;
Karen Petersen; Laura Potts; Paul Protheroe; 
Natalie Scott;
K. V. Skene; David Troman; Chris Woods


Orbis179, Spring

£5 (Overseas: £10/€14/$16); Subs: £18/4 pa (Overseas: £38/€50/$60)

Front cover artwork: ‘Waverley Abbey’ by Melanie Zohrabi  
back cover, detail from image:

It’s easy to get confused: do you need to be a Mystic,
like Marilyn Donovan, to be able to understand what lies Beyond,
as Nick Conrad says, or even fathom out the Rubber Hand Trick
with the help of Sue Norton. Coming From Here with Nick Carding,
you can find out why the Half-Light at Scarborough is important to
Sue Spiers, before learning from Helen Harvey, who is Coming Home to Roost?
On a more serious note, Lavinia Kumar tells us about
A Slave Catching God’s Eye, and there’s a warning from
Jill Boucher: Droit du seigneurBut you can still enjoy Michael Swan’s Ballade
and relish Audrey Molloy explaining why Envy is a Daylily,
then let Antony Johae tell you all about an African EpiphanySo remember,
if Marlon Brando makes his Debut on a Shopping Channel (Peter Ebsworth),
you’re all welcome to make yours here in Orbis

Featured Poet: Maggie ButtOare Creek; Beachcombing;November 1918

Poems from: Daragh BradishExtract from the Villa Journal. Cheeses;
Fiona Colligan-YanoThe Sea Rabbit; Barbara CumbersThe Quaggy and the Kid;
Jane McLaughlinDita’s Scarf; Martin Reed,The Man Who Died in his Own Porch;
David Mark WilliamsSchool of Little Birds

Prose from: Michael G. CaseyLetter to Meryl – The Sequel;
Charlotte GringrasJay Bee and crewSari PaulomaNever Give All The Heart

Translation: Philip Dunkerley: Emilia Pardo Bazán, Almas Gemelas

Past Master: Pat Galvin on William Butler Yeats 2

Article: Lyn Cooper: Poet from 19 to 91 by Marti Cooper

Reviews by Maria Isakova Bennett, Clairr O’Connor,
Angelina d’Roza, David Harmer, 
D. A. Prince, Lynne Taylor,
David Troman 
andNoel Williams

Orbis 179 contributors also include:

Marti Cooper; Clive Donovan; Michael Farry; Doreen Hinchliffe; Charlie Jones;
Marie Lecrivain John McOwat; Lee Nash; Tanya Nightingale; Charles Osborne;
Felix Purat; Zara Raab; Lynne Taylor; Li C. Tien; John Whitehouse


Orbis178, Winter

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Front cover artwork: ‘Underneath the Grove of Sycamore” by Gavin Singleton
back cover, detail from image:

Not long now, surely…Saving the Light (Tom McFadden) tells us
Spring is on the way.and we’ll all be outside, tucking into Haagen Dazs
alongside Geroge Saito,somewhere, oh I don’t know, perhaps overlooking
a Harbour Scene, sharing the view with Jack Little.
We could be looking for Charlie Baylis and his Mermaids, or even
The Witch, Her Book in Martha Street’s tale.However, given the English weather,
more likely we’ll be thinking Sarah Sibley’s got it right: The wind is a curse,
if not quite as bad as what Vuyelwa Carlin says concerning
a Rat in the Frosty Garden. But let’s get serious and discover
what Dorothy Yamamoto knows about A brief history of footwear.
Or should that be Surreal? Courtesy of Michael Henry, Je suis un mouchoir
because you can enjoy all sorts, even the unexpected, in Orbis.

Featured Poet

Pat Galvin: The Moon Fell Among the Trees; Unseen; It was a Different Life,

Poems from: Derek Coyle, Carlow Poem #59; Robin Daglish, Nowhen;
Helen Kay, Dyslexia and the Live Art Hit; Elizabeth McSkeane,
Arguing with ArithmeticK. V. Twain, At Night I Covet the State of the Sculpture;
Martin Worster, The Night Guard

Prose from: Linda Griffin, Soldiers in the garden;
Mark Reece, A Meeting of StrangersSarah Samuels, The Parcel from Kabul

Translation: Fred Beake, Four poems from Theognis (Book 2)

Past Master: Philip Dunkerley on Cora Coralina

Reviews by
Ross Cogan,
Clairr O’Connor, David Harmer, Afric McGlinchey,
D. A. Prince, Lynne Taylor, David Troman
andNoel Williams

contributors also include:

Mark Behan; Denise Bennett; Gail Dendy; Richard George;
Ann Gibson; 
Alan Hester; Dorrie Johnson; Fred Johnston; Robert Kennedy;
Mary Lee; 
Michael McCarthy; Dave Medd; Nancy Anne Miller;
Simon Perchik; Jenna Plewes; 
Joan Sheridan Smith; Ginny Sullivan;
Peter Sutton Merryn Williams; Martin Worster


Orbis177, Autumn

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Front cover artwork: ‘Copper Rain’ by Kelly Marie Davidson
back cover, detail from image:

Singing in the Rain, and Walking the Dog; as you may guess
from the cover, plenty here to be making a song and dance about,
rather than having to think about Xxxx…present buying,
unless a copy of the magazine of course, could be Contained,
Alison Chisholm claims, while Jenny Hockey makes the case more strongly:
Why not end your days withoubecause you and Bobbie Sparrow both,
could be awaiting The quiet intercession of Eros,
or savouring the sound of Noctilucence with Noel Williams.
Isn’t that The key (John Brooke)?
Craig Dobson tells us all about Water’s Way,
but the way we do things at Orbis is to ensure
that you continue enjoying the magazine.

Featured Poet

Anna Wigley:The Mysterious and Devastating Library Disease;
The Last Soirée

Poems from:Geoffrey Godbert: The Deaths of Little Things;
Alice Merry: Like one of my skeletons;
Stuart Nunn
: Fugitive dishes of the world #7;
Juliet Wilson
: The Animals Decide to Become Invisible

Prose from: Cristina Haraba: Blindness; David Olsen: Frau Bieber’s Confession;
Rosa Thomas: Dancing Girl

Translation: Pablo Vieytes: Words;
Manu Mangattu:Yuan Hongri:The Song of the UniverseThy Song;
Neither Day nor Night
in the Kingdom of Heaven

Past Master: Stuart Nunn on Alexander Pope

Reviews: Maria Isakova Bennett, Philip Dunkerley, David Harmer,
D. A. Prince, David Troman
and Noel Williams

Orbis 177 contributors also include:

Christopher Allan; James Aitchison; Anne Banks; Stephen Bett;
Jo Burns; Mark Czanik; Adele Fraser; David Harmer; Richard Hughes;
David Lloyd; Michael Loveday; Eamonn Lynskey; James McKee;
Olha Matso; Kathy Miles; Anita Ouellette; Ali Pardoe; Sari Pauloma;
Fred Pollack; Neil Reeder; Marilyn Ricci; Marg Roberts; Davide Trame;
Jay Whittaker; Helen Whitten; Nicky Winder


Orbis176, Summer

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Front cover artwork: ‘Horizon’ by Peter Leslie Wilks
back cover, detail from image:

Still waiting for the sunshine? Maybe this issue will brighten things up
with Helen Ashley and some Borrowed Light, whether you join
Grahaeme Barrasford Young, Playing, Lorna Sherry up in Edinburgh,
Nicki Griffin, In CarnadoeWaters, or go with Juli Jana on a Bus Ride
Further still: Alec Taylor’s Space Ilimad. And humming along to
Lara’s Theme (John Arnold), you could enjoy Miraculous Kashgar,
a Story told by Li Suo and Liang Yujing, and Watching The Invisible Man
with Patrick Deeley. But fine weather or not, unlike Hilaire, (I make no) Apology,
because to experience anything fully,as Bibhu Padhi tells us,
what’s needed is: Touch, Taste, and Time
all of which you can have with Orbis

Featured Poet

Peter De Ville:
Amoxy and Metro face the Dragon; The Blue Scarf; Protest and Intervention

Poems from: Daniel Roy Connelly: Austerity drives;
Katherine Crocker: Nakwetikyawa’s Well;
Alex Josephy: Misericordia:
Mary O’Donnell: On Reading My Mother’s Sorrow Diary;
Terry Trowbridge: The Raven Puppet; Patricia Walsh: Bruscar

Prose from: Phil Dunkerley: As Red as Rubies;
Oz Hardwick: The Drifter’s Song;
Val Williamson: Escapement

Past Master: Sean Howard on Charles Sorley

Reviews: Maria Isakova Bennett, Philip Dunkerley, David Harmer,
D. A. Prince, 
David Troman and Noel Williams

Orbis 176 contributors also include:

Gary Beck; Jane Blanchard; C M Buckland; Lucinda Carey;
Jim Conwell; 
Stella Davis; Judith Dimond; Frances Galleymore;
Chris Hardy; Ashleigh John; 
Gloria Keeley; Richard Livermore;
Tim Love; Terry Quinn; Chelsea Ruxer;
Caroline Smith; Jean Taylor; F. J. Williams


Orbis 175, Spring

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Front cover artwork: ‘White lacy April in Sussex’ by Gill Bustamante
back cover, detail from image:

Can we tempt you, since Di de Woolfson
is providing a Lure, to accompany us, and Sheri Vandermolen, on Holi Days,
or perhaps observe St. Kevin and the Otter with Mark D. Hart.
Or how about a visit, indeed, a visitation, from David J. Costello’s Angel,
although that may lead to States of emergency, Michael Bartholomew-Biggs,
warns us, in which case, like Anne Rees, you’ll be thinking:
May the Force be with you. But you could take refuge with Luke Palmer,
In the house of lying-in, where Kevin Griffiths is getting Next to the Skin,
because, as Neil McCarthy says, it’s Something of a sign
you do not want to be missing out on this issue.
And then find out from Sean Heslin, maybe, the result of A Courtroom Drama

Featured Poet: 
Jane Spiro: Painting eggs; Half, Whole

Poems from: Terence Brick: Ballade des Dames de Temps Jadis;
Susi Clare
George Moore: Natural Order n the Hands of Thomas Aquinas;
Andrew Pidoux
:The Grammar of the Garden; J. Twm: Fire of The Gods;
Kelley Jean White
: Women Who Refuse to Wear High Heels

Prose from: Kimmy Beach: Nuala: a Fable; Jane Spiro: Special Delivery

Translation: (Latin): Martin Lyon: To Wallace Batchelor, Librarian, on his Retirement

Past Master: Peter De Ville on Sidney Royse Lysaght

Reviews by: Maria Isakova Bennett, Ross Cogan, Angelina d’Roza,
David Harmer, Jennifer A. McGowan, Clairr O’Connor,
D.A. Prince, Andrew Taylor
and Lynne Taylor

Orbis 175 contributors also include:

Ruth Arnison; Prue.Chamberlayne; Kathryn Daszkiewicz; Richard Halperin;
Jenny Hill; V. B. Irons; Tom Kelly; Jenny King; Simon Leonard;
Caroline Maldonado; Lindy Newns; William Oxley; Cedric Picken;
Anne Rees; Roger G. Singer; Sue Spiers;
Rosamund Taylor; Peter Viggers; Lyn White; Howard Wright




Orbis 174, Winter

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Front cover artwork: ‘Contemplation’ byChristopher Langley;
back cover, detail from image:

The light is brightening, finally, dawning you could say, with much to contemplate. For example,
Richard Toovey and Thirty-Six-Immortal-Poets-Japanese-Asian-Culture-/360314130089 pt=Art
But keep a very close watch on Colin Sutherill’s Snake Eyes
when accompanying Andy Hickmott andZoology 101. Instead, you could head for the coast
to watch Carolyn Oulton watching the Ebb-Tide, or join Beth Somerford
at Ditchling Beacon, steering clear of The Hound of the Baskervilles (Will Kemp)
and David Greenslade’s Wicker Basket Tank if it comes at you, maybe After a minor medical hiatus
(Elizabeth Birchall)… So, back where we started, and Antony Mair is Thinking of Shelley in the Winter Gales,
John Vickers
pondering The white shadow, while Paul Connolly considers the Night and Stars
Indisputable Truth
(Bogusia Wardein), that’s what you are mostly going to find in this issue –
though maybe best take it easy with Jenny Hamlett and The Enchanted Cakes at Capenhurst

Featured Poet

Michael Coy: Ambrose Clues-Up Augustine; Hitler’s Watercolours

Poems from: Roger Caldwell: John Steed in retirement remembers Mrs Peel;
Jane Housto
n: Piddocks; Eve Jackson: It isn’t easy being sea;
Jules Whiting
: Tucked Between the Pages of a Wordless Glance; Jeremy Young: Metamorphosis

Prose from: Michael Coy: McBurney’s Urn; Jilly Funnell; Dinner Date;
Laura Solomon (with Kya Solomon, Zoe Solomon and Nadia Smith): Castle

Translation: David Ball: François Migeot: Faces

Past Master: Jean O’Brien on Dora Sigerson Shorter

Reviews by David Harmer, Jennifer A. McGowan, Clairr O’Connor, D. A. Prince,
Lynne Taylor, David Troman and Noel Williams

Orbis 174 contributors also include:

Arthur Broomfield, Shane Doheny, Julie Lumsden, Achilleas Katsaros,
Rupert M Loydell, Katherine Noone, Ann Osbourn, Rob Packer,
Donna Pucciani, Adam Rooke, Alexandra Sashe,
K.V. Skene, Sheila Spence, Jean Stevens, Marc Swan, Frank Wood

Orbis 173, Autumn 2015OutsideCover173

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Front cover artwork:
‘Night wolf’ by
Lolita Parekh;
cover, detail from image:

But you’re all right now… as the old joke goes.

And so is Linda Benninghof,
Gas, food, lodging, Patricia Griffin,
despite having to battle

The Wind from the West,and
Pat Farrington,
back From the Underworld.
There, she may well have encountered
That Man (Breda Spaight),
Pete Langley’s Airside Bagatelle Lady
or The Cern Archivist (Julian Turner).
No wonder
Sharon Black enquires Are My God So Different From Yours?
And thank goodness
Maurice Devitt provides a Beginner’s Guide to Escapology.
But if you do go
Astray with Clifton Redmond,
or end up feeling a bit
Lost, like Patrick Moran,
at least you’ll find something good to read in here, all 96 pages of it.
Although of course, as they always say,
Lavinia Kumar points out, It’s Not the Size


Featured Poet: Belinda Rule: Lust; Siren; Letters home

Poems from Chaun Ballard: Phrase Not Found in Search Engine; Simon Fletcher:Yüan; Samuel Prince: Drowned Doll by the Herons;
Catherine Rockwood:
Landtschip: Belmont; Jane Seabourne: Now I Can Make Scones; Charles Wilkinson:The Comedian’s Seabed 

Prose from Jennifer McGowan: How Blackthorn Came to Be;
Anna Geraldine Paret:
If Wishes Were Fishes; Paul Saville: Rajasthan

Article: Venice by Frances Sackett

Past Master: Peter Butler on Robert Bloomfield

Reviews by Ross Cogan, Angelina D’Roza, David Harmer,
D. A. Prince, Lynne Taylor, David Troman
and Noel Williams

Orbis 173 contributors also include:

William Alderson; Tara Ballard; Denise Bennett; David Burridge; Keith Chandler;
Scott Elder; Jonathan Greenhause; Pauline Hawkesworth; Claire Louise Hunt;
Patricia Leighton; James B. Nicola; Ilse Pedler; Tanya.Prudente; Jimmy Rodda



Orbis 172, Summer 2015

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Front cover artwork:
‘Heart Angel’ by Garry White;

back cover, detail from image:


Summertime –
that usually means something like
The Zoo in the rain (Brian Daldorph),
and sadly,
it does appear to be raining cats and dogs
Letters and After They Have Gone
by Richard Dinges Jr,
you may prefer Tariq Latif’s view of Dawn by Victoria Parade.
Wondering what a Souvenir of Lowestoft means to Peter Wallis,
or Zen Romance: Reflections, to Michelle R. Disler?
And what would happen if Sheila Wild’s Cassowary at the Court of Louis XIV
got a Foothold (Susan Rouchard)? Well, you can learn about Naming from
Maggie Butt and Tooth Wisdom from Andrew Pollard,
and look forward to many a happy, fairytale ending.
Or maybe not, because according to Yuko Minamikawa Adams –
Mickey Has Chopped off Dumbo’s Left Ear

Featured Poet
: Owain Lewis,
Note to an unknown person; Passing Place; The Lost Connection

Poems from Allen Ashley, Jesus is on the Internet;
John Casson, I feed on insects;Dawn Gorman,The Looker;
Jodie Hollander
, Tomodachi

Brenda Bea Hutchings, For All The Princesses;
Antony Johae, Writing on the Wall;
Chris Raetschus, RevengeJ.S.Watts,Target Setting


Laura Chalar: Fernando Pessoa, A Sonnet Already Old

Peter Boyle and Raymond Farina, NOTES FOR A GHOST: A fanciful portrait

Past Master: Chris Raetschus on Constantine P. Cavafy

Article: Simon Fletcher interviewed by Neil Leadbeater

Maria Isakova Bennett, Angelina D’Roza, David Harmer,
Jennifer A. McGowan, Clairr O’Connor, D.A. Prince,
Andrew Taylor, David Troman
and Noel Williams

Orbis 172 contributors also include:

Veronica Beedham; John Casson; David Crann; John Dixon; Lee Nash;
Jocelyn Page; 
John Perrault; Peter Phillips; Zara Raab;
Gerard Smyth; Angela Topping; Phil Walsh



Orbis171, Spring 2015

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Front cover artwork: ‘Birds’ by Tammy Ruggles;
back cover, detail from image:

If there’s one thing we’ve got plenty of, it’s Stories (Bibhu Padhi),
sometimes artful, like The Yellow Cow by Jennie Osborne,
sometimes dark and mysterious, with David Banks Exorcising Gehenna,
or Geraldine Clarkson’s After-woodsand often both,
when you join Robin Thomas and Edward In The Garden.
You’re off on A Strange Journey, as Kathy Miles will tell you.
Spend a Moment with Roxy Dunn, enjoy Michael Henry’s Nocturne in Biarritz,
play Rock, Paper, Scissors with Richard Williams, or discoverKimmeridge, courtesy of Khadija Rouf.
Yes, follow E. Kristin Anderson’s instructions: “A Nearby Fence, Pull” –
then all will be revealed…

Featured Poet: Bethany Pope
Hanging, Among the Oranges; My Mother, Masking; A Taint in the Blood

Poems from: Jean Atkin: Itsuarpok;


Cathy Whittaker, Waiting; Alan Zhukovski, The End of Oblivion

Prose from: Julie Maclean, Animal Rites; Don Mulcahy, Back There;
Bethany Pope, Teamwork; John Short, Nobody Talks Anymore

Translation: Judith Wilkinson: Menno Wigman, Herostratos; Stramien
(with support from the Dutch Foundation for Literature)

Past Master: Helen Ashley on Matthew Arnold

Article: Orbis: Genesis and Exodus by founder Robin Gregory

Reviews: Angelina Ayers, Maria Isakova Bennett, Ross Cogan,
David Harmer, Jennifer A. McGowan, D.A.Prince,
Andrew Taylor, David Troman
and Noel Williams

Orbis 171 contributors also include:

E. Kristin Anderson; Anne Banks; David Banks; Fred Beake;

Geraldine Clarkson; Monica Corish; Dagmar Drabent; Roxy Dunn;

Nausheen Eusuf; David Harmer; Michael Henry; Jenny Hockey;

Kathleen Kummer; Simon Lewis; G. P. Manuell; Kathy Miles;

Caroline Natzler; Jennie Osborne; Bibhu Padhi;

Jeff Phelps; Khadija Rouf; Gerry Stewart; Ginny Sullivan; Declan Sweeny;

Robin Thomas; Olivia Walwyn; Richard Williams; Jim C. Wilson





Orbis170, Winter 2014

£5 (Overseas: £9/€12/$15); Subs: £17/4 pa (Overseas: £35/€42/$58)

Front cover artwork: ‘Church Street’ by Steve Williams;
back cover, detail from image:

Of course you want to know what happened
on the road to Ploubalay with Chrissy Banks,
though admittedly risking a peek over John Paul Davies’s shoulder into
Jack The Ripper’s Bedroom will makes you Perfectly Blue, Faye Boland warns.
Nobody, including Aidan Baker would classify it asThe Finest-Hour Syndrome. –
best stick to the Facts, provided by Fokkina McDonnell
because you never know just what will squeeze out of the Genie’s Bottle (Li C. Tien).
Or do you have an answer for Susan Lindsay:
Shall We Get Swept Away By Lunch-time?
Why not find out? Will you be attracted to the shining lights in this issue of Orbis,
along with a surprising number of moths…

Featured Poet

Mark Carson: Grogan’s Castle;

Incognito, Cumbria; Holy Week, Ronda

Agoraphobics, Cambridge; Night flight, Karachi


Poems from: Sue Burge: Seven Easy Steps to Working with Angels;

Luba Ostashevsky; The Fish; Jonathan Lewis:Walking to The Nutcracker; Benedict Newbery: Film Review by Vlad


Prose from: Ágnes Cserháti: Standing on the Corner; Charlotte Gringras: The Thief of Time; Mark Reece: Forced Exercise

Translation: Anita Marsh; Anthony Costello; Anthony Howell: Alain-Fournier,LaRonde

Past Master: Merryn Williams on W.H. Davies

Article: Reading Poetry Aloud by William Alderson

Reviews: Angelina Ayers, Maria Isakova Bennett, Clairr O’Connor, David Harmer,
Afric McGlinchey, Jennifer A. McGowan, D. A. Prince, David Troman
and Noel Williams

Orbis 170 contributors also include:

John Ashley; Nick Burbridge; Jennie Christian; Annemarie Cooper; Barbara Cumbers; Fiona Donaghy;
Richard George; Alice Harrison; Liz Horrocks; Mary Lee; Jim Lindop; Richard Martin; Jean O’Brien;
Anita Ouellette; 
Edward Ragg; Rachel Spence; John Whitehouse; Alessio Zanelli




Orbis 169

Front cover artwork: ‘When The Forest Calls‘ byTheresa Tahara;
back cover, detail from image:

Featured Poet
Maureen HillBering; Anna Christina; Glass; Bertha – Mrs Rochester

Poems from:Yvonne Baker:The taste of black moss; Simon Fletcher:Landscape;
John HartElation; Kate NorthHematocyte;Paul Stephenson:The Swell Speed of Mrs Jackson’s Knees

Prose from: Gail DendyBreath’s Journey; Ayelet McKenzieBroken Surfaces;
Luke MurphyThe Glass Cage

Translation: Michael SwanPetrarcha Canzoniere 272

Past Master: Dave Troman on Edgar Allan Poe

Article: Enda Coyle-GreeneOne Woman’s Voice – the poems of Sheila Wingfield

Reviews by:Angelina Ayers,Maria Isakova Bennett, Suzannah Evans,
David Harmer, 
Afric McGlinchey, Jennifer McGowan,
Clairr O’Connor, Lynne Taylor, D.A. Prince

Orbis 169 contributors also include:
Niamh Boyce; Séamas Carraher; Ross Cogan; Ian Colville; Stella Davis;
Siobhan Daffy; Eliza Dear; Marianne Dissard; Martin A. Egan; Margaret Gleave;
Cora Greenhill; 
Oz Hardwick; Chris Hardy; Gloria Keeley; Noel King;
Simon Leonard; Luke Palmer; 
Ali Pardoe; Kathleen M Quinlan;
Marilyn Ricci; Marg Roberts; Catherine Rockwood;
Phil Ruthen; Martha Street; Alec Taylor; Linda White 



Fish Poetry Prize

Closes: March 31 

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19th Poetry on the Lake International Competition
Deadline 30th March 2019

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Wirral Festival of Firsts / Wirral Poetry Festival Open Poetry Competition 2019
Closing Date: Friday,
March 22

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