New poem: The love poem that wasn’t

This is an old one, but came back to mind yesterday in conversation with friends at a National Poetry Day event… Seems to be a common situation poets encounter: people are often either eager to be written about, like a muse or something, or convinced a piece (especially the dark ones) was written about them… Truth is, it doesn’t actually matter.

The love poem that wasn’t

He’d forever nag me to write him
a love poem, the ultimate PDA;
to stand up in front of everyone
and say “I pick him – he is ace.”

Don’t regret not writing the thing,
only that I squandered his time:
he simply wasn’t very interesting
but then, I was never overly nice.

Publication News : Writers for Calais Refugees

Today I have a poem featured in Writers for Calais Refugees. You can find it below:

A little about the anthology, from Editor and poet, Marie Lightman:

“Reception conditions for the refugees in Calais are worsening and there is an increasing death toll of refugees attempting to cross the channel from Calais to Dover. People are getting together all over the UK to send basic aid, that is not being provided in the holding camp in Calais. Writers are in the unique position to be able to express their concerns about the situation that the state does not seem to share.

Writers for Calais Refugees is an anthology in support of people seeking refuge.”

I feel strongly about this situation and found the poem itself extremely difficult to write – how to talk about a situation I am fortunate enough to have no personal experience of; how to do so without prurience and exploiting the suffering of others… But I wanted to assist in any way possible.

I’m including a link to an article on practical ways to help – it’s not for me to tell anyone what to do; the info is simply there if anyone wants it.

Bye for now, lovelies… x

Publication News – New poem “I Never Listened” in Your One Phonecall zine

Yes, that’s about hte size of it….

And you can have a look here..

I particularly enjoy Your One Phonecall as they’re a tad on the dark side. Do have a browse around if you pay them a visit.

Bye for now, world of blog… I shall return, honest…  xx

National Kissing Day – No, I didn’t know either…

I’ve Not Celebrated
(For National Kissing Day – 19th June 2015)

Could’ve I suppose – mooched
down to Tramps and grabbed
some unsuspecting

Or taken the practical approach;
multi-tasked a pout-lip pitstop
into my day.

Puckered up in the bus shelter,
snogged in the pound shop.
There’s always Tesco to liven up.

In Boots by the coldsore cream,
in the doctors’ germy waiting room;
phlegm be damned – it’s romance!

Up against the dog poo bin
by the pond in the park,
taunting the frogs.


Midsummer Dreams by Alison May – and a bit from me, on dreamy stuff….

In celebration of the e-launch day for Alison May’s brand new romantic comedy, Midsummer Dreams, I’m posting today on the theme of all things dream-related.
Alison has invited writing friends to blog on the following themes:

I had a dream…

I had a nightmare…

My dream for the future…

Me, being me, I thought I should write something poet-y, whilst vaguely – very vaguely – structuring it around the three points above, so here it is:

Dream Sequence

I had a dream… I’m drifting like a ditched chicken wrapper,
my bones picked clean of yesterday’s flesh and left,
yet free, lifting to float and fly, away, away, away
from the fight outside the Blower the police
are ignoring, from the bouncers leering
at the girls in the queue outside Velvet,
from the kebab shops and the cab rank;
over the racecourse, dancing up and catching
the climb of the visiting big wheel as it rises;
I crinkle a wink and grin at the lovers holding
hands at the top, candyfloss and hotdogs misting
with their shy-sweet second date touches;
she’s clutching the safety bar, him pretending
he’s not shit-scared, of heights, or anything.
If I could, I would bless them – I do,
anyway, and fly on.
I dream we all can fly,
safety rails or not.

I had a nightmare… One of those falling ones.
Old wives say if you hit the ground in your dream
you die – in real life. Time, rain, the weight of water
too big for my flimsy, it’s drenching me, weighting
me, dirty and sodden, the cackle-hard ground
spinning up to crack open my face.
Rust-clotted underbellies of the fairground rides
rear up like neglected dinosaurs in the mud,
aching and flaking brown to the rutted grass,
infected oil bleeds to the puddles and potholes.
I am bleached and wrecked – not flying, lung-punched.
There is no escape. There is no blessing to make
– I am litter, waste, voiceless. To be crushed.
But if I can only wake up – I’d take you with me…

Wake up! Wake up!

Not flying, not falling. Tonight we’re walking.
It comes to me, on the up-jolt of my toes’ bounce
on the dry wood of the Sabrina, the white lights
strung overhead like a giggle in this summer night sky,
same lights that sighed me home, chill wind numbing
my shins, late-night autopilot that November,
when drizzle flayed my hands like bleach.
Same nights frost clouded our breath, ice trails
on my cheeks. Me – and everyone around me;
students meandering, all smartphones and quick lips,
homeless ghosts, workday drones, lonely widowers
and PCSO’s, cyclists with no lights,
joggers in obscene lycra pants.
We’re all walking. Just moving along,
each step on the bridge vibrating our rhythm.
And the dream, it hits me like a iced lolly
daggered down my back, straight, red and sweet
from nape to small, spine-sucking me to the spot.

Let’s stop.

My dream is a real thing. A glitter-tipped kitten-ear thing,
a fluffy humbugs in the pocket of a favourite coat thing.
It’s a crumpled and clumsy and used up thing,
a comfort and worn cushions thing.
Not rubbish, but recycling.
My dream is a woman-made thing.
My dream is a swan on the Severn,
legs flapping like the clappers under the murk.
My dream is of every Ending being the first-kissed page
of our own best memoir – laughing loud in the face
of those who’d tear out our pages.
My dream is caught in the arc of that big wheel,
the reflections in the eyes of the second-date
kids brushing lips at the top for the very first time,
a first that makes them forget all their other firsts.
There is no flying. There is no falling,
there is no bloody breakage on the ground.
Our feet are steady.
The fairground will pack up and move on,
Pitchcroft’s sprinklers will tease up new grass,
dog walkers will, or won’t, scoop the poop.
And our dreams are tucked safe in our pockets,
with a soundtrack of traffic-echoed laughter,
tinny pop music and refugee gulls crying at twilight.
My dream for the future is real and permanent in our hands.


For anyone wondering, this poem bears no resemblance to the plot or setting of Alison’s novel! These are merely my mind’s own meanderings on dreamy things… The poem also mentions a few places in my hometown of Worcester – although the tourist board will not be sponsoring me any time soon! Pitchcroft is the racecourse, where the Fair sets up for a weekend a couple of times a year; Velvet is a nightclub; The Blower is The Horn and Trumpet pub; the Sabrina is a footbridge – which does indeed bounce as you step – over the river Severn. And yes, we do have swans – they scare me a little, the way they look at you.

Now, this novel: Alison writes what I think of as non-fluffy romantic fiction. This is about bigger stuff than shoes and handbags and why the boy hasn’t called for, like, 2 days after kissing the girl and letting her spill orange juice down his crisp white shirt, like, cos she’s, like, adorably clumsy. No, this is romance firmly rooted in the real world – with added Shakespeare, in this case. And she’s very funny too!

You can download the kindle edition of Midsummer Dreams here:

midsummer dreams

About Midsummer Dreams

Four people. Four messy lives. One party that changes everything … Emily is obsessed with ending her father’s new relationship – but is blind to the fact that her own is far from perfect. Dominic has spent so long making other people happy that he’s hardly noticed he’s not happy himself. Helen has loved the same man, unrequitedly, for ten years. Now she may have to face up to the fact that he will never be hers. Alex has always played the field. But when he finally meets a girl he wants to commit to, she is just out of his reach. At a midsummer wedding party, the bonds that tie the four friends together begin to unravel and show them that, sometimes, the sensible choice is not always the right one.

You can find out more about Alison May and her books at.

Please do reblog, share and Tweet as you see fit. You can find me on Twitter @HollyannePoet. I’m always pleased to hear from people.

New Magazine! “The Fat Damsel – poems to survive in”


Yes, it’s me and I’ve got some exciting news to share. It doesn’t involve free cake or self-refilling chardonnay bottles, but it’s still pretty darn fab.

There’s a new UK poetry zine on the block and it’s one I’m particularly looking forward to reading.

“The Fat Damsel” is the creation of Jane Burn, poet, artist, editor, and one of my personal style icons – this lady rocks a quirky hair accessory like no one else I know!

So what’s it all about then…

Jane says on the website:

“Poems To Survive In
Welcome to The Fat Damsel. We are looking for pieces that you simply had to write. Words that had to come out of you, words that came immediately, or words that you had to wait years to have the courage to write. Send us your poems or short pieces that show the world that you are a survivor. From the big things, to the small things, life can be a battleground. Send us pieces that other survivors can read and relate to and gain some support from. We look for honesty and heart. We look for poems to survive in.”

You can read more here:
And scribbler types may be interested to hear they are currently open to submissions… Full details are on the website.
The Fat Damsel is for everyone – not just females and not just fat ones – all are welcome and embraced if they want embracing.
There’s Facebook for updates here:
And Twitter, here (“managed”, ahem, by me!):


Please feel free to share, reblog, retweet as you see fit! These are exciting times!

Holly x

New poem… with no name…

This poem was written for a local spoken word night in Worcester (, where this month the theme was “Superheroes”. Thankfully everyone present kept their underwear on the right side of their trousers.

Ok, apart from one specific reference, my links to the theme were tenuous to say the least, but I’m happy to report that it seemed to go down ok, so I thought I’d share the piece here. It’s quite spoken word-y rather than page-y, which is why I wanted to read it aloud – for me, it’s about momentum and movement in the rhythms – a journey, if you will. One day I may even suss out getting audio on the blog!

You’ll notice the poem still has no name – there’s been a bit of a running joke of it being entitled “That Wretched Poem”, which was my name for it whilst drafting, redrafting and generally struggling to whip it into some form of order. But as titles go, I think that’s probably not the one…

The city described is Worcester, where I live – there are a lot of dreamy and beautiful spots in this place, but I wanted to highlight other perspectives too, and those are not always going to be found via the local Tourist Information marketing info…

Anyway, here it is… As always, I’m glad to hear from you, either here or via Twitter (I’m still learning Twitter…) via @HollyannePoet.


The busker saxes outside Debenhams
over a naff backing track:
sexes a Pavlov’s hip-sway out of me.
But today there is no time
– it’s fast-forward, go-time.
I’m spinning on my sandals,
slicing the cashpoint line,
Wonder Woman slash Roadrunner,
a caffeine-high hybrid flying
in the stink and hiss of burger van onions –
not to be distracted by buns
jiggling and hot meat sweating –
I’m late. Late, late, White Rabbit
blowing out a less important date:
a text and a tube of Parma Violets,
that’s all it’s taken.
And my craze-brain’s snapshot;
his palm, rich with lifelines stretching
empty over the Severn’s scum and glitter,
the Queen’s swans debating, if he’s waving…
They decide it’s probably the other thing.

So I’ve no time – no time to stop,
feel the cathedral bells vibrate my bones,
the sureness of magic and home.
The city’s upchuck Technicolour
blasts me on, sensory Redbull:
past the Scope and the Oxfam,
Barnados and all those cancer shops,
hospice shops, Red Cross, Blue Cross
– the big fuck-off M&S.

Swarovski, TK Maxx, Sports Direct,
every second shop a Poundland,
a Costa, A-boards for Cash Converters,
chalkboards for tapas and Prosecco;
Argos, Caffe Nero,
the queue at Greggs for steak bakes,
nuclear pasties – out of flavour this election.

Maccie Ds spills giddy kids into the bus lane,
selfie-artists portrait-posing, iphones skyed.
A street-preacher megaphones love
and damnation;
the Big Issue man down to his last few copies,
the issue no smaller this day or tomorrow.
Suits stream regardless;
white-collar wideboys, ties flapping flaccid,
fake tans and flammable hair gel.
All the faces that aren’t my mission.
All the places, not my destination.

So I plough on, zagging crowds;
pushchair-rage yummy-mummies,
escapee toddlers poddling,
pensioners tutting. Chuggers chugging
– clipboards-on-commission.
Hello! You look nice! Would you like
to help sick children? It’ll only take…
But I’m not nice. All human life…
There’s wannabe crims and dimwit girls
sucking lollipops by Topshop;
letchers, leather jacket posers,
perverts in cheap shirts,
lonely old blokes –flat cap clichés,
street-smokers and pickpockets.
Dogs on string. Dogs in designer coats.
Lovers. Lovers in scuzzy blankets,
lovers in Nandos, lovers in Barclays,
sweating in the air-con to bag
that murder-sentence mortgage.
All needing a hand to hold,
but not everyone’s going to say it.
And none of these hands are his.

Today the exhaust-rot scum that greys
your trainers sparks the air.
Trees spew spring blossom,
Weatherspoons belches out
lunchtime lushes
unrepentant on the pavement,
bleary in the sun’s glare
and the glares of the staple-mouthed
Daily Mail demographic.
This is my town.

Tripping down the side of Superdrug,
skid-footed over fag butts, gum-spit,
cardboard and cartons.
Past the Housewives Choice –
apples overflow like an Eden ogy;
bruised berries sweet-up half-rank
stacked outside for wasps
and wanton tea-leafs.
Lustful wheeliebins yawn their ripe mouths,
guffawing at the latest Council cuts,
they shout me on,
my squat reject cheerleaders

Come on. We must take what we can
whilst sly backs are turned,
whilst knives are pointed elsewhere,
back-pedal fast from twilight’s chill
before the night stalks in to claim us.

The police are moving on skeleton-fades
somewhere else today.
Nothing is solved,
but the grime is free, the grime is shared:
pigeons will shit on anyone’s head.
I’ve got the hand for him to hold.
The swans were wrong.
I’m coming.

Publication News: Clear Poetry

Hello World of Blog – I trust everyone is well!

Just a quick note to say I’m rather chuffed to have 3 poems featured today on a fab new page called Clear Poetry. You can reach my pieces via the link below…

However, please don’t stop reading there… The blog showcases contemporary poetry that is – as its name suggests – clear and accessible. This is not to say the poems are in any way simplistic or one-dimensional. Far from it. I highly recommend having a good rummage around through the fast growing archive – there’s a lot of quality stuff here.

You can also find Clear Poetry on Twitter – @clearpoetryuk – and also, should you so desire, you can find me – @HollyannePoet.

So that’s all for now – be back soon…

Not a poem: 10 things I’ve had said to me about being a poet

This is kinda self explanatory:

1. “You’re published? You must make good money then!” Ha!
2. “Can you write, like, proper stuff – y’know, not poetry, like, real books?” Pfft.
3. “Will you put me in a poem if I upset you?” I doubt it very much – sounds dull.
4. “Are you very passionate? I’ve heard that about you lady poets…” (With hopeful look from sleazy creature.) Roughly translates as “Are you easy and can I sleep with you?” No, and no.
5. “Are you a very sad, lonely person?” Can I ask you intrusive questions too?
6. “Do you have a fear of abandonment?” See no.5.
7. “Will you write my autobiography – I’m really interesting!” Only if the fee is right. And I can make up stuff.
8. “So these are all about your exes? You must have a lot of exes!” Oh, those stabby poems do get some attention…
9. “These poems make me feel so close to you…” Eek! Stalker alert!
10. “It must be nice to have a hobby…” Yes, probably – try it and let me know how you get on.

You may have others… do let me know… ;)

New Poem: When I Grow Up

When I Grow Up…

Never fantasised of fairy wings,
pink princess dresses and tiaras,
glittering specific definitions
of what a girl is;
the pretty-petty strictures
she must lace herself into,
bind her jaws tight –
no laughing –
to be deemed worthy
of rescue, by some prince;
glass slippers shatter,
won’t run you away.

It’s witches who hold the power,
stir and steam it in dark kitchens;
they curse, banish and burn,
their Bloody Mary’s never
expected to be Virgins;
crack stubborn mirrors
who refuse to reflect
neglected beauty;
fly to freedom, mocking
domestic duty – that crock –
on their allocated kitchen brooms.
Cinderella never had the nerve.

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