‘Climate grief’ by McKenna Faulkner

How are we supposed to dance 
together. I refuse to stomp my feet 
unless you’re around. I will only break my ribs 
laughing if you laugh, too. 
How can I kiss another mouth 
if nothing is being sung. I will cry 
only if you do, too. I will slash my tires 
to be with you. I will not learn to run 
unless to carry you. I will not learn to dance 
alone beneath the moonlight: the night will devour 
me. Without you, the gentle breeze 
poisons. Me, without you, still breathing, 
though I do not want to.

Meet the Poet!

McKenna Faulkner is an American-Dutch poet and writer currently studying Creative Writing at Oxford. She writes and publishes in both English and Dutch, featuring in magazines such as Absint and Tijdschrift Ei. Her work touches upon topics such as multilingualism, mental health, and ecology, almost always with a touch of fantasy. She is currently working on a debut novel and learning to play the violin. 

‘Emily’s earth’ by Julia Biggs

Moor-clutching fingers
softly sink ‘neath seas
of living heath-breath,
blown into the livid hillside’s longing surge,
high waves rising
to a moss-bedded heaven,
tide turning
to a turfy breast
of wide-sufficing rest,
re-making her—daughter of the heather  

Meet the Poet!

Julia Biggs is a freelance art historian and lecturer.  She lives in Cambridge, UK.  Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Crow’s Quill MagazineVersificationWords & WhispersNot Deer Magazine and Hungry Ghost Magazine.  Her current research explores haunting seascapes, the culinary uncanny and the delicious excesses of the Gothic mode.

Four Poems by JW Summerisle

v a r i o u s  b o d i e s  i n  v a r i o u s  b a t h s

twelve fish open
mouth and sink
shallow in the brook.

it is the mouth of hell.

he says
so you
identify with the one

who cut all her hair off?

and i say nothing.
i shan’t raise him up.

my flock drinks the
water and their
fleeces all turn black.

it is a collective act.

at their meal of glass

my sisters sup the
blood of grapes. black fish
burst and dirty.

they smell sweet, however.
shed their skin like snakes.

f i f t i e s  m e m o r a b i l i a

a poltergeist is smashing plates.
it smells like burning hair.

decorative vintage edge meets
edge of kitchen wall. kitsch

wall unit pours teacups
over me.

recuperate this mug. seal
it with something soft.

like wool plucked from
your own black beastly head.

wouldst thou like to live deliciously?

the devil intones sarcasm
smoking the bones above

your feet. the disembodied
spirit screams obscenities

about a dog. your body.
your skin. her kith. your kin.

a cracking sound summons up
a sheep from out of hell.

the cost is our collective
sanity. and a collection

of vintage plates.

c o a t  f u l l  o f  p l a g u e

local history says the plague

was brought here last by a
coat. a dead girl’s family

sent it up as a gift for one girl
here. and she died. from the

sickness in it. and i often
think of the plague pit

apparently unmarked

where the unmourned bodies of
my brothers lie host

to a hundred plague fed

p a c k e t  o f  m a y f a i r

bruise of smoking,
my mothers head

swells from the
hands of the

bryll cream man

whose blue eyes
presuppose a heaven

that doesn’t care for us
at all.

Meet the Poet!

JW Summerisle lives in the English East Midlands. Their chapbook, ‘kinfolk’, is available from Black Sunflowers Poetry Press (and can be ordered through Waterstones and Blackwell’s). They make and sell artwork, clothing and weird stuff online.

Translation Tuesdays: ‘Three plus Two’

Each season we share a series of translated work from a particular country, as part of our mission to share voices you may not yet know! Building bridges, creating conversations across borders… making a whole with Fragmented Voices. Today, we are delighted to bring you some Polish poems, translated into English. Enjoy!

Three poems by Ilona Witkowska

Translated by Mircea Dan Duta


not wanting to sleep,
not wanting to work

building yourself chapels
while something is still lurking me here

there’s a free way
but just step on it

equation without three knowns /  

the sun of May was burning my head

(even if by reflex I use the form “us”,
I was alone that time)

(using by reflex the form “us”,
who did I actually mean?)

the best is where we just are,
for it’s actually us and no one else /

when I was a little girl, granny used to teach me
trample earthworms and just don’t worry about the thing;
she used to say: oh, yes! oh yes!

Prose Poems by Barbara Klicka

Translated by David Malcolm


A start like a recipe for spring. I was going a long journey in a fast car. Everywhere there were clouds, I appreciated the value of the sun-roof. We passed some storks, so I said:

look, storks. He said: you’re happy like a little kid. Stupid, I said, I’m happy like a little kid, because you’re speaking to me like to a woman in April, be my friend, I want to be aglow from that. Then

I called the witnesses on the spot, e-mails, ballets. All in pretty big quantities, because nothing stubbornly would do for me. Doesn’t matter, because the calendar resurrection’s on the way

for this I’ll bring the world a cheesecake.
Let them all love me, since you can’t.


A dream of seven nails in the skull. I hesitate – for none of the possibilities is ready for sense. My father says: think, you don’t cry out. I say to my father: cry out, don’t think. I live free as the wind, she feeds me.

And now look – I’ve picked up seven nails for my dance; seven guys from the Albatros and one dead girl. I lived over brow, over tit, over the wise stream, but the time came when they threw me out and led me to the field.

And in the field the harness goes on. Hi hi, the harness goes on in the field. Long live want and barren sand! May the grains fall to the depths of the seas, may the ponds go down in algae and black duckweed! Here the earth’s only good for covering things up.

‘Almond Blossom’ by Peter J Donnelly

Your favourite work of art, you say,
but not whether you’ve done the jigsaw. 
It isn’t mentioned in your personal history, 
which is not, you stressed, a memoir. 

Maybe when you’ve written that it will be.
I’m not sure what you’d say about 
the picture, other than that Van Gogh 
was joyful with his use of colour. 

It’s hard to imagine it a work in progress
photographed by your husband, 
with the blue bits arranged on sheets 
of paper, the white bits in one tin, 

the green ones in another, for what 
would that achieve? Perhaps like me 
you’d have pairs of pieces dotted
between the edges like marks on a mirror. 

Meet the Poet!

Peter J Donnelly lives in York where he works as a hospital secretary. He has a degree in English Literature and a MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales Lampeter. His poetry has been published in various magazines and anthologies including Obsessed with PipeworkBlack Nore Review,  High Window,  Ink Sweat and Tears, The Poet’s Republic and he is soon to feature in Atrium. He won second prize in the Ripon Poetry Festival competition in 2021 and was a joint runner up in the Buzzwords open poetry competition in 2022. His first chapbook ‘The Second of August ‘ has recently been published by Alien Buddha Press

A Poem by Sophia Isabella Murray

I am slowly learning that I am worthy of love but I’m not for everyone &

the jackdaws built a nest in our chimney, unforgiving of our forgetfulness to steer them away with the warning wire blocking exits; the wasp stings regardless of a victim’s etiquette casually pollinating unintentionally as if their stripes weren’t enough of a fuck you to the bees; the birdsong of the cuckoo changes tune as the sun grows but she still lays her eggs in the nest of the ones who raised her; the anemones grow red where blood was spilled but the winds still blow them open to the weakest light; the piano in our kitchen never stays in tune but you still play it because she understands the way you move; the pebbles of doubt I wilfully store in my pockets to weigh me down, you take out one by one. 

Meet the Poet!

Sophia Isabella Murray is 10% witch, 10% poet, 10% hermit and 100% mother. She is also not very good at Mathematics so tries to use her words instead. She lives with her husband, children and her familiar – assuming the form of a small, angry terrier – in a house on the ley lines surrounded by the stormy Northumberland hills. Her first collection, The Alchemist’s Daughter, was released by Time is an Ocean Press and her first chapbook, Reasons Why We’re Angry, will be available from Querencia Press in 2023. You can view her work online at Instagram: @sim_poetry

‘Postcard’ by Phil Wood

upon her stone a thrush rehearses
a stormcock bird   the tempest bursts

all bones glean in soil song, that pulse
of water rite   the goodbye rust

grotesques gurn   their mocking faces
where is the letterbox for graves?

this writing’s damp   with mushroom stamps
gargoyles spout   the gutters gush

I write the card   in pouring rain
the speakable sky   of wet not dry

Meet the Poet!

Phil Wood was born in Wales. His interests include painting, chess and (of course) poetry. His recently published work is a collaboration with Belfast photographer John Winder and can be found at Abergavenny Small Press.

‘Daisy’s Knot’ by Ben Banyard

She comes to my desk,
clutches a mangled clump.
My necklace is all muddled up.
Can you fix it, Daddy?

I can tell that something went wrong
when she tried to unravel it herself,
only to make it much worse.

I keep it on my desk,
fiddle with it in idle moments
worry away to loosen it.

Eventually I untie the last clump,
admire the simple clean line,
a silver acorn on a fine chain.

I fasten it around her neck,
hope to always resolve her tangles,
no matter how tight the knot.

Meet the Poet!

Ben Banyard lives in Portishead, on the Severn Estuary just outside Bristol, UK. His third collection, Hi-Viz, was published by Yaffle Press in 2021 and is available via his website: https://benbanyard.wordpress.com. Ben also edits Black Nore Review: https://blacknorereview.wordpress.com.

Translation Tuesday – ‘Two by Two’

Each season we share a series of translated work from a particular country, as part of our mission to share voices you may not yet know! Building bridges, creating conversations across borders… making a whole with Fragmented Voices. Today, we are delighted to bring you some Polish poems, translated into English. Enjoy!

Two Poems by ENORMI STATIONIS (Bartosz Radomski)


to the unaided eye
invisible from the terrestrial world
a small red dwarf

among the infinite number of stars
shining in the universe
is closest to the Sun

but the order of the cosmos
does not allow them to get close


In the morning I can still hear its sound.
The music still reverberates in my head.
The sun wakes up and lights up the sky.
My world is just going to sleep. It is rocking.
I am unable to read the notes
From today’s stave of my life.
I sing and play to my own tune.

Two Poems by David Mateusz


I saw a homeless guy on Dębnicki Bridge spread his arms
out in the orans posture, waiting for what
is yet to come. I took walks along the boulevard
and recognised the spot where the Vistula coughed up 

two dead swans. Once a year,
I offered a sacrifice in the form of illness,
usually in November, for the sake of 
peace. I heard a rook praying out by 
Planty Park, and the spring airing of townhouses 
accepted as proof of changes to come. I saw

the march of inequality and bottles upon the heads
of the Left. I saw the march of inequality and scars
upon the heads of the Right. You were all beautiful

and drunk that night, and I ate up the hate 

both your hands served up, when I ran out in rapture
right into the annunciation of some suspect ladies 
and among girls as sad as the Ruczaj district
             to eat up

their fish with knife and fork, and the sky using fingers,
running blind. 
    You showed me how to love and betray,

and so I knew how to love and betray. I inhaled
sterile apartments and the stink of their bins. Carrying
across a river the carcass of an idea, I saw
a homeless guy on Dębnicki Bridge spread his arms
in the orans posture, waiting for what
is yet to come.
And I’m still looking,

as that same intense absence dictates the pulse –

* translated by Marek Kazmierski


Since I’ve been living in water tower station,
I step outside just to trim the privets.

You’ll get a slap on the wrist, you nearly cut 
your finger off, my father says handling sheers

sticky with resin, obedient and quiet like mother,

looking a lot better in his hands. How many times
did I get a slap on the wrist for touching or taking it
upon myself or my lips? How many times did I have

to return and apologize? Since

I’ve been living in water tower station, our hands
are full of resin. – How will you finish, put it back where it belongs
– my mom cuts in.

Thrice I asked about the name of the plant.

* Translated by Lynn Suh

‘Full Of Green’ by Julie Stevens

In a grubby green cardigan, he shelters with coffee
offers time to music, which is not to his taste.
The garden inside is a better sound.

A girl in apple-green stilettos staggers past.
Paints a running whiff of coffee
down his shoes. Her apple turns sour.

She barks at him. Mind out the bloody way!
Wipes her own loss and slumps, as far away
as the café allows.

Paintings line the wall, take my eyes
to green topiary, green conifers, green buds −
an escape to keep you alive.

Your cardigan will keep the leaves growing,
play your future, but steal my thoughts.
A mind empty, but full of green.

Stay in the warm old man. Green is safe here.
Your dangling threads can curl from cuffs
and soak up coffee. Catch the hour. Catch the years.

Hold that conifer and let it lift you,
walk those fields and charm the air. 
I’m here, you’re there and we are gathering green.

Meet the Poet!

Julie Stevens writes poems that cover many themes, but often engages with disability. She has two published pamphlets: Quicksand (Dreich 2020) and Balancing Act (Hedgehog Poetry Press, 2021). Her next collection Step into the Dark will be published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press later this year. www.jumpingjulespoetry.com