Contains strong language Download a screen-reader friendly version of this zine
Cassie had creases in her cheeks, they were wrinkled like fingers that had spent too long in the bath; Cassie had a leak, she had a tearaway tear duct that was responsible for the flood, her clothes were soaked through, they stick to her skin like a wet suit. Every suit Cassie wore was […]
(Chords: A, B, C#, E) I could never meet your expectations Always out of reach Never gave me an explanation I could never be free Clip my wings so I can’t fly Tear my down every time I try I know I could never be in her place When I needed you you just […]
Contains strong language Download a screen-reader friendly version of this zine
Contains strong language Download a screen-reader friendly version
Contains strong language Download A Tale of Two Counties (zine)
Download Mushroom Garden (zine)
GM Kuhn and SZ Shao are commended in the Collaborative Challenge on Young Poets Network, with their zine Mushroom Garden.
Priya and Hannah are commended in the Collaborative Challenge on Young Poets Network, with their poetry/collage piece Confession.
Jack and Daniel are commended in the collaborative challenge on Young Poets Network, with their piece of music and poetry, ‘The perfect caress has a velocity of three centimetres per second’.
Ellora and Hannah are commended in the collaborative challenge on Young Poets Network, with their zine A Tale of Two Counties.
The writers and artists in group are commended in the collaborative challenge on Young Poets Network, with their zine Bad Vibes Only.
Lauren and Simran are the third-prize winners in the collaborative challenge on Young Poets Network, with their song ‘Wings’.
The writers and artists in group are the first-prize winners in the collaborative challenge on Young Poets Network, with their zine Anime Boyz.
Kia and Miles are the second-prize winners in the collaborative challenge on Young Poets Network, with their music and poetry piece ‘cassie and the flood’.
for Chioma Ubogagu Good God! Watch her, how she swallows the crowd-song, how boldly she strikes the pitch’s borders with her toes, warping the white lines, the way she knows to reduce each sun in the stadium lights to a ball, how she kicks into the midst of each fiery […]
Swift and agile Sleek and prehensile – Skittering across bark And as dexterously over brick – Squirrel. The arch survivor – A thief in woodland A bandit of suburbia, Beautiful peanut pirate. You skim the rigging of Rotary washing lines And old telephone wires: Your sail-tail A Spinnaker of balance – A back garden acrobat. […]
In Portland we don’t use the word, we dance around it – furry things, we’d say, the furry things are in backfield again. As a child I only knew I should never look directly at them, the same way I knew not to look at the sun. It was wrong. It would hurt later on. […]
A sunlight-mottled river shunts its weight Towards the sea, having nowhere else to go; Even the evening’s syrupy light can’t glaze it Into something pretty. The days are slow, So I come back often to this crease in the city’s palm, Where you might see a rabbit stare from the gorse Then vanish as quick […]
Contains strong language next to the vineyard tree pub extra ordinaire free gravy on the side with all chips and running down the carvery yellow walls as brown shadow coats rusted telephone poles in something pretty home of the famous hooke team their sweaty shins and boys crying after hours behind the mccoll’s dogs pissing […]
Leaves falling through my open window, I hear thorn bushes rustling in the wind. I see trees dropping apples, Birds rustling their way through the thick branches To reach their nests. Eagles swooping down on my house, Searching for rats. Horses running from the barn. I hear the sudden noises of the cows mooing, Ants […]
They were here when I arrived; decadent strata of spots in rich orange, red, and green, a pointillist Zhangye Danxia on the ceiling of my student en-suite. I tried to kill them, but they came back, appearing out of nowhere like an absurd flash mob so I shower each morning under a hundred spiteful […]
walking down the side of my house, i count the number of steps it takes to cross this white field of pebbles. for months, i could not touch the world. i only knew it through the window in my room. now the wind bounds past me like a dog. someone has overturned a stone in […]
man heaves up stairs man pauses on step seventy-two man spits a prayer man ascends man gropes doorway man forgets keys man forgets keys in back pocket man pushes through man finds air man plunges onto rails man seeks the bars man has cold cheeks man catches a cloud man lets it go man plucks […]
Grace is commended in Gboyega Odubanjo’s People Need Nature challenge on Young Poets Network in 2020.
chenrui is commended in Gboyega Odubanjo’s People Need Nature challenge on Young Poets Network in 2020.
Finn is the second-prize winner of Gboyega Odubanjo’s People Need Nature challenge on Young Poets Network in 2020.
A Golden Shovel
the end times in numbers: 4 horsemen 1 cancelled judgement day 1 giant rip through the sky 1 ocean brimming with plastic 1 people at risk remember self-care! pumice from the endless eruptions is effective on dry arms. steaming pyres also have a cleansing effect on skin, if you have any left. have a blackout […]
after Kate Bingham I learnt that words don’t mean anything, That your hands do all the talking. I learnt that you don’t always have to tell the truth And I learnt that there’s always a loophole To weasel your way through. I learnt how to take offence at an inanimate object And how to play […]
there are worse things to be. i could be, for instance, dying, or alive, but just enough to be taking up space. i could wade through a body that does not belong to me. yes, i could ravage, rumble, sour your milk, bite your children, poison your evening news. i could enlist my grandparents to […]
Hannah is commended in the Poetry and Political Language Challenge on Young Poets Network, in partnership with the Orwell Youth Prize.
Emma is commended in the Poetry and Political Language Challenge on Young Poets Network, in partnership with the Orwell Youth Prize.
Content warning: grief
Content warning: rape
Rian is a commended Foyle Young Poet in 2019. They wrote and judged August Challenge #4: The Spoken Word Challenge on Young Poets Network in 2020.
Jessica is the second-prize winner in August challenge #4: The Spoken Word Challenge on Young Poets Network.
Evelyn Blythe is the third-prize winner in August Challenge #4: The Spoken Word Challenge on Young Poets Network.
this is the moment skeletons became atheists. gold lodged in the back of throats and stuck, rigor mortis like you never had a chance. and maybe the soup tastes like corpses, or maybe the soup tastes like god. or like angels, and cracks in the barbed wire. because skeleton is a synonym for survivor, in […]
The sky reddening like an unbruised body— and you, gone for days now, calcified in this unshed nightmare where the tiger is closing its teeth over your wrist again, dozens of rabbit carcasses littering the halls again, tiger slipping quiet through the nights, […]
Somewhere out there is a statue of me where my face isn’t as long, my sadness shorter. I meet with her head-on. I tell her to turn in the direction of the power ballads and the attractive folks that sing them. I’ve just seen a face, says Paul McCartney in the middle of 1965, and […]
Halfway through the horror movie, the lights give out, the whole city held under a blanket. Turning the other cheek. Some phantom hand finds mine. I will learn to love you softly is what the house would say, its belly emitting a quiet dust rumble, drops in the kitchen sink like fingers drumming a wooden […]
I The mini liberators of women, hoisting those hems to the Heavens, giving their legs room to breathe. II The silver capped scholars, keeping those iridescent specimens in place for little curious eyes. III The diligent sewers’ stabilisers, holding together linen squares so they can stitch their designs to life. IV The silent supporters, presenting […]
Body lies on the bottom step. How did it get there? we ask. Body is bloody. Hair matted. Nails dirty. Body ’s hand falls near the light. We are glad Body has made no mess. Clean fall. No Body would notice. What should we do? Body says rug. Wrap me […]
Jasmine is the first-prize winner of August Challenge #3: Repetition & Imagery on Young Poets Network.
Ottavia is the third-prize winner of August Challenge #3: Repetition & Imagery on Young Poets Network.
Lauren is a top 15 winner of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2020, and is commended in August Challenge #3: Repetition & Imagery on Young Poets Network.
Iqra is commended in August Challenge #3: Repetition & Imagery on Young Poets Network.
Joan of Arc and I lay head-to-head in the wash of a meadow frothing Queen Anne’s lace like a corrupted lung. Her fingers dabbling my palms like water, that martyr and I speak of our own voices: mine, stolen; hers given like a sack of entrails. Did the voices twitch, I ask, did they wriggle […]
For Wilfred Owen Contains strong language our bodies ache on the streets where we rattle plastic cans for change we watch the flocks of low drooping eyes scuttle by like brambles in the north wind we have become part of the scene patient hopeful crying out but nothing happens on the corner a preacher […]
I saw Humphrey Bogart in a train station, Crewe, three o’clock in the morning, and he looked as faded and grey as I felt stumbling half asleep off the late service. When I was ushered out the doors, he was just there by the taxi rank, leant up on a pillar, smoking, lit up […]
You may know Jesus. That preacher/teacher/healer/magic man with the clear silt skin. You may have seen him around town, raising the dead and making friends. Maybe he cleaned up your acne, maybe he showed you the gold humming of God. Take a look at his Tumblr: @carpentryqween. 1/? Jesus is a rebel leader/activist/socialist/pacifist and last […]
“Do you not know I am a woman?”(Act III, scene ii, As You Like It) My lover and I no longer speak. We leave notes in the mist on one another’s eyes. Once, he carried me through fields of sheep when I began to doubt that softness could be born. My lover doesn’t see the […]
Delhi, 2020 Delhi today is like a dried-out battleground / after one final revolution. Sentries in khaki thrash / young men on peculiar vehicles / for something I don’t understand. I hide my sewed-up face / in dark alleys; people look at me from the other side of their windows / scared. I’d have […]
Show me your teeth, God. Tonight, at the Apple Store under the unshut moon. Visit me tonight, God. Fog this spirit mirror with your Word — blind me with this new handheld eclipse. Oh, but my head sings with standing so long as the marrow of this sun-bleached bone. Church as mirage. Along its aisles […]
Ferenc II Rákóczi was a Hungarian aristocrat who led rebellions against the Habsburg empire in the early 18th century. He is widely considered a national hero in Hungary.”Rákóczi” is also the name of a popular Hungarian breakfast salami. Dear, kind Ferenc: I am in love with your meat-printed face. I fan this last pious slice, […]
Irma is the second-prize winner in the Poetry and Political Language Challenge on Young Poets Network, in partnership with the Orwell Youth Prize. Irma is also commended in August Challenge #1: Re-mixing History, Fiction and the Unexpected.
Erik is commended in August Challenge #1: Re-mixing History, Fiction and the Unexpected on Young Poets Network.
Helena is commended in August Challenge #1: Re-mixing History, Fiction and the Unexpected on Young Poets Network.
Ife is a commended Foyle Young Poet of 2019. He wrote and judged August Challenge #3: Repetition & Imagery on Young Poets Network in 2020.
Riya is commended in August Challenge #2: Fairy Tale Poetry on Young Poets Network.
Molly is commended in August Challenge #2: Fairy Tale Poetry on Young Poets Network.
Annie is the first-prize winner of August Challenge #2: Fairy Tale Poetry and the second-prize winner of August Challenge #3: Repetition & Imagery on Young Poets Network.
Based on the legend of Chang’e Winter: the living room gleaned of moonlight. A city slumped anemic over its knees, milky and putrid like a wound unsutured. I used to scrape rust from kitchen counters and drink fat until my tongue swelled gibbous, large enough to swallow the November sky and your rice fields gone […]
is thinking of you at those just-teenage get togethers at Rebecca’s, hoping to feel grown but betraying your youth by gripping your glammed-up fruit shoot too tightly. Dionysus creating Strongbow Dark Fruit (and the Aldi knock-off too) is thinking of you at family BBQs, where you are fourteen and disgusting and need something to do […]
And I never saw my mother again. All my stars fell palms-first into the thorns outside my small glassless window. No door, no stairs. I just found myself, there. My thimble. My long smoking rifle and I, the smoke softly ceasing to exist. It takes seventy years to wash my hair. She did it in […]
Şahmaran tells me behind her bar, don’t trust a man if you have to tell him but you have sisters and a mother, too. don’t trust them if they think clearing the table is a compromise don’t trust the family father who thinks his sons rather fear him don’t trust the boy who pulls your […]
Don’t let your widowed father remarry— that is, if you still want to wake up at dawn to the sound of your heart beating between your ribs. Remember: stepmothers are evil and vain and bloodthirsty and own talking magic mirrors capable of making calculated analyses of your beauty. Remember: all that […]
A boy: small thighs, coat aged into feathers, walks in through the cold. Undressing his wet clothes I find breadcrumbs in the folds of skin. He unwinds the limbs of an apple. Milk slips from his childish lilt. I weep as he sucks the glass like an orphan. I bring him my blankets and I […]
after Carol Ann Duffy’s The World’s Wife My boy went down to the river and came back bronzed man. Sneer frozen on his handsome face, eyes unblinking, tongue of gold, contempt held Sharp (between his iron cavities). We were unlike. He’d twisted his heart into alloy pockets as cold as the river in the winter-time. […]
He feels like he could eat the world raw. I feel like our happy ending is another broken promise. like the sun will set when he does, when the roar of his name across battlefields is not enough; it never was I feel like his hair will never look the way it does now. like […]
is empty of children, ripped cardboard, happy endings. A flesh rimmed cavern, sinews strung under the heart like harp strings. Tanks rumble under my feet when the wolf talks, gutter-pulsing in skin. I lie on my back & pretend this hollow is a spaceship, primed for a red sky. The acid river foams down my […]
Contains adult themes Medusa died this year. Didn’t you hear? You can’t turn men to stone If they never look at you. Come on, She said, My eyes are up here! Medusa cut her hair short, Squeezed into yoga pants And filed her fangs The Thursday night Before it happened Because she’d read an article […]
by Suhrab Sirat, translated by Claire Carlotti I am the night; my soul, my gaze, my dream are the worst wounds While in the shadowed mirror, my lips brush against pursed wounds. Autumn bleeds through each season, my Libra upsets Sagittarius And the arrow strikes Scorpio, releasing venom from burst wounds. The bull, weary and […]
by Suhrab Sirat, translated by Crystal Peng I am soul gaze, ghost, & slumber my nights are sullen, wounded when I kiss myself in dim mirror my lips are gushed & swollen, wounded I am years stitched […]
by Suhrab Sirat, translated by Jhermayne Ubalde My soul, my hopes, my dreams – they bleed My reflection, stained red with the taste of an estranged lover’s kiss Autumn bleeds into centuries Scorpio: dancing with death Libra: pulling back the drawstring Sagittarius: embracing its result The world sways on a bovine axis of fury painted […]
by Suhrab Sirat, translated by Divya Mehrish I am soul, eyes my shadow haunts my dreams wounds these dreams: nights of wet mirrors; lips pressed against reflection; I kiss my lips, I kiss my eyes. My lips are wounded. I am a time […]
by Suhrab Sirat, translated by Annie Lane My soul, my sight, my shadow, my night, my every dream – all are bloodied. I kissed my reflection, the mirror split – My lips are wounded. A venomous year, an autumn year. Each constellation ploughs into the next and My Scorpio is wounded. The bull’s horns shake […]
by Suhrab Sirat, translated by Gemma Craig-Sharples My lips on mine in the mirror, wounded A comfortless kiss for my soul, wounded His arrow pins me to poisoned autumn And the year snags: seasons wounded Earth trembles on the raging bull’s horns with A hitch of heart, this heart, my heart, wounded I have no […]
by Suhrab Sirat, translated by Charlotte Hughes I am sleep, a body gazing down at its own shadow during the night of wounds. I am lips the color of the red dawn that kiss the mirror, love their wounds When each season turns to autumn—Sagittarius shot through, Libra uneven. Venom eats Scorpio inside out like […]
by Suhrab Sirat, translated by Ellora Sutton Gaze: the night is bright and light-wounded. The mirror shatters. My kissing lips are wounded. I am a calendar, days split and divided by barbed wire. I am Libra, Sagittarius, Scorpio, wounded. My sloppy red heart, heart, heart, this raging bull is wounded. I have no footprint. My […]
Annie is commended in the 2020 poetry translation challenge with Modern Poetry in Translation, judged by Clare Pollard.
Crystal is the second-prize winner in the 2020 poetry translation challenge with Modern Poetry in Translation, judged by Clare Pollard.
Jhermayne is the third-prize winner in the 2020 poetry translation challenge with Modern Poetry in Translation, judged by Clare Pollard.
Divya was a commended Foyle Young Poet in 2018. She is the third-prize winner in the Poetry and Political Language Challenge on Young Poets Network, in partnership with the Orwell Youth Prize. She is commended in the 2020 poetry translation challenge with Modern Poetry in Translation, judged by Clare Pollard; and in August Challenge #2: […]
Gemma is commended in the 2020 poetry translation challenge with Modern Poetry in Translation, judged by Clare Pollard.
Claire is the first-prize winner in the 2020 poetry translation challenge with Modern Poetry in Translation, judged by Clare Pollard.
For Tammy the hamster I think perhaps nature made you Soft for us, because there’s no sane Reason for you to wear a cloud for a coat. If there is in your littlenesses Some ancient, statue-high message I think it is not a lofty one. You speak more in the warm Thereness you bring on […]
Speck of skyslide, Penicillium mold grown in zero gravity you have no shape to speak of. Semi-precious adhesive, you belong with beautiful things. Ancient Egyptians would have placed you with gold inlaying death masks with Blu Tack and fingerprints understanding that a soul takes many forms, each carrying the same weight. O […]
You, my favourite soprano, sizzling egg white, caged bird with metal tongue, the moon reflecting the air of the room back to itself. I turn you on in the morning and you don’t stop, spinning gold from the open window, festooning my face with the curious fingers of unsure ghosts. You are a crystal ball. […]
Content warning: references to suicide Even after it all, I want to live so badly that I lock the doors, I turn the gas stove off and lift my head from the bathwater. I return the insignificant calls and write letters to thank other people for living too, for waking up early and making bread […]
I am sorry for tearing off my mask (your holiday home) and shouting what the – as you huffed on car carpet but I remember how strong your red bauble back gleamed with its dilated pupil pattern and – at the rolled window – how reluctantly you allowed the wind to touch your line-drawn legs […]
Black Hydra jungle vines, curly and thick. Cut off the head and three more grow back. Dear pubes, I am supposed to despise you. Mow the lawn until I am smooth, pure and woman again. Rip you from the root like some unholy and unfeminine weed. Perhaps I did this once – forgot about cavewomen […]