Five Leaves Publications- Poetry

Latest Publications:

Isaac and I
by Chris Searle
ISBN: 978-1910170434, 276 pages

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by Adrian Buckner
ISBN: 978-1910170328, 64 pages

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Downshifting celebrates places where the nourishing values of literature survive; places where the technological revolution and celebrity culture fails to intrude upon enduring and deeply felt human values. Though by no means a reactionary tract for the time, it is not afraid to mourn the loss of value and meaning, to lyricise the enduring, to turn away from the default modern poses of irony and fatalism. It also contains several meditations on the writer's childhood, assenting to Auden's dictum on the key shaping of the adult by the things to which one's love is firstly and voluntarily drawn. Above all, Downshifting seeks to sing all its tunes with a light touch, to eschew the po-faced, the solemn, the overwrought and obscure.

Adrian Buckner has two previous collections from Five Leaves Publications – Contains Mild Peril (2008) and Bed Time Reading (2011). He teaches in the Creative Writing Departments of Derby and Nottingham Universities.

Staring Directly at the Eclipse
by Henry Normal
ISBN: 978-1910170403, 76 pages

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Better known as co-writer of award- winning TV and film shows such as The Royle Family, The Mrs Merton Show and Coogan’s Run, and producer of, amongst others, Oscar- nominated Philomena, Gavin and Stacey, Moone Boy and Alan Partridge, Henry Normal returns to his first love: poetry.

Staring Directly at the Eclipse is his first collection of poetry for over twenty years. It features poems from his acclaimed BBC Radio 4 program A Normal Family, together with new and selected poetry from his performance work.

As well as his trademark humour, the collection encompasses the subjects of death, loneliness, loss, human frailty and other classic conversation stoppers.

Over Land, Over Sea
Poems for those seeking refuge
Eds. Kathleen Bell, Emma Lee and Siobhan Logan
ISBN: 978-1910170281, 142 pages

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An anthology of 102 poems expressing solidarity with the refugees who are currently receiving so little welcome as they take to boats and rafts to cross the Mediterranean and make their way with difficulty through Europe. Readers are invited to take a view of the situation which is not governed by the fear and hatred whipped up by the language of media and many politicians.

The book has been produced in the East Midlands by an editorial committee, typesetter and publisher working free of charge, and the initial print costs were covered by a crowdfunding campaign. All proceeds from sales of the book will be shared between the charities: Médecins Sans Frontières, Leicester City of Sanctuary and Nottingham Refugee Forum.

Contributors include: Alan Baker, Kathleen Bell, A.C. Clarke, Kerry Featherstone, Chrissie Gittins, Mark Goodwin, Tania Hershman, Siobhan Logan, Emma Lee, Carol Leeming, Joanne Limburg, Aoife Mannix, Roy Marshall, Hubert Moore, Thomas Orszag-Lund, Simon Perril, Sheenagh Pugh, Mahendra Solanki, Maria Taylor, Rory Waterman, Gregory Woods and Siobhan Logan

Kathleen Bell’s pamphlet at the memory exchange was shortlisted for the Saboteur awards. She teaches Creative Writing at De Montfort University. Emma Lee has published three poetry collections: Ghosts in the Desert, Mimicking a Snowdrop and Yellow Torchlight and the Blues. She reviews for The Journal, Sabotage Reviews and London Grip. Siobhan Logan’s Firebridge to Skyshore and Mad, Hopeless and Possible have been performed at the Science Museum and Leicester’s National Space Centre. In 2014 she led Writing East Midlands' first-ever digital writing residency


Something Happens, Sometimes Here
Contemporary Lincolnshire Poetry
Edited by Rory Waterman
ISBN: 978-1910170229, 138 pages

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This book brings together poems by eleven of Lincolnshire's finest contemporary poets, all of whom are inspired in different ways by England's second-largest county. Some of the contributors are incomers to Lincolnshire, seeing the county afresh. Others can trace their ancestors back hundreds of years and are conscious of their working lives as labourers, farming folk and tradesmen.

The poems largely eschew the cathedral city of Lincoln, focusing more on the less-populated and mysterious hinterland of small towns and isolated settlements. For every poet the county has an influence which is greater than the sum of the streets, fields, rivers and that great big sky.

Contributors: William Bedford, Clare Best, Michael Blackburn, Alison Brackenbury, David Cooke, Kathryn Daszkiewicz, Robert Etty, Sam Gardiner, Rennie Parker, Joel Stickley and Rory Waterman

Rory Waterman now lives in Nottingham, teaching creative writing at Nottingham Trent University, but returns to Lincolnshire regularly. His debut poetry collection is Tonight the Summer's Over (Carcanet). He is joint editor of New Walk magazine and writes regularly for the Times Literary Supplement

A Modern Don Juan
Cantos for These Times by Divers Hands
Edited by Andy Croft and Nigel Thompson
ISBN: 978-1910170045, 360 pages

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‘I hope it is no crime / To laugh at all things,’ wrote Byron in Don Juan; ‘for I wish to know / What, after all, are all things – but a show?’

Two hundred years after Byron turned his back on the hypocrisy and cant of his native England, fifteen contemporary poets pay homage to Byron’s greatest satirical creation by writing a new Don Juan for our own age of cant.

A Modern Don Juan follows the sexual adventures of Byron’s picaresque anti-hero in the twenty-first century. Mixing Low Comedy and High Seriousness, the book follows night-club DJ and picaresque anti-hero Donald Johnson as he stumbles from one romantic disaster to the next. Along the way, the authors pass comment on the customs and common-sense of the contemporary world. Donny seeks his fortune in Cameron’s Britain, Berlusconi’s Italy and Sydney’s clubland. He is a London restaurant critic, a Brussels Eurocrat and a reality TV celeb. If you are quick you can catch him in Greece, Budapest, Central America, a prison cell – even in Outer Space. He is indeed new Don Juan for the twenty-first century.

The contributors are Ben Borek, Andy Croft, Claudia Daventry, Ian Duhig, Rachel Hadas, WN Herbert, George Jowett, John Lucas, Amit Majmudar, Sinead Morrissey, Alicia Stallings, George Szirtes, Nigel Thompson, Tim Thorne and Mike Wilson.

Things of Substance
New and Selected Poems
by Liz Cashdan
ISBN: 978-1907869761, 140 pages

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Things of Substance brings together poems written over the last six years with selected pieces from earlier publications. It is a substantial new collection of the work of a well-respected prize-winning poet. Cashdan’s work reflects her interest in the connections between words and visual images. The poems respond to place in city and countryside. They also look back in time, delving into family history and beyond, giving voices to people from the past. Liz Cashdan is “a poet who will appeal to lovers of art in all its forms... she enters the mind of the artist with tremendous empathy... we see repeatedly in these poems how she provides a glorious explosion of the senses – sight and touch in particular." Belinda Cooke (Stride magazine)

Liz Cashdan is a poet and a teacher. She has published four poetry collections (two shared). The most recent is The Same Country (2006, Five Leaves). Her particular interest is in place and identity, often looking at historical subjects, and giving a voice to characters from the past who would not otherwise have had a voice. She has a degree in History and an MA and PhD in literature. She teaches fiction, travel writing, autobiography; and poetry, which often includes all of these.

Nineteen Forty-eight
by Andy Croft, illustrated by Martin Rowson
ISBN: 978-1907869327, 90 pages

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Nineteen Forty-eight is a comic verse-novel, audaciously rewriting George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four in Pushkin sonnets. Set during the 1948 London Olympics, it offers a radically alternative history of the Cold War, in which Britain has a Labour-Communist coalition government, the Royal Family have fled to Rhodesia and the US threatens to impose an economic blockade on Britain.

Featuring cartoons drawn especially for the book, Nineteen Forty-eight combines hard-boiled detective-novels and Pushkin sonnets, film-noir and Ealing comedy.

Andy Croft
Andy’s books include Red Letter Days, Out of the Old Earth, A Weapon in the Struggle, Selected Poems of Randall Swingler and Comrade Heart. He has written five novels and forty-two books for teenagers, mostly about football. He has edited many anthologies of poetry. His own collections include Ghost Writer, Sticky and Three Men on the Metro (with W.N. Herbert and Paul Summers). Nineteen Forty-eight is his second novel in Pushkin sonnets.

Martin Rowson
Martin is a multi award-winning cartoonist whose work appears regularly in The Guardian, The Independent on Sunday, The Daily Mirror, The Morning Star, Tribune and many other publications. His books include graphic adaptations of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy and a forthcoming updated version of Gulliver's Travels. Among his other books are The Limerickiad, The Dog Allusion, and Fuck and Stuff, a memoir of his late parents which was long-listed for the 2007 Samuel Johnson Prize.

The Oxygen Man
by Joanne Limburg
ISBN: 978-1907869587, 31 pages

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The poems that make up The Oxygen Man were written in response to the death of the author’s younger brother, a brilliant chemist who took his own life in 2008. They follow Limburg as she visits the mid-Western town where her brother lived, worked and died, range back over their shared childhood, and look ahead as she tries to work out what it means to be the one who stays behind.

Joanne Limburg is the author of two poetry collections published by Bloodaxe. Femenismo was shortlisted for the Forward Best First Collection Prize; Paraphernalia was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. She has also written a memoir: The Woman Who Thought Too Much. She lives in Cambridge with her husband and son.

"Limburg’s universe appears to be constantly twisting away from perception even as she pins it down in lines of singular economy."
- Poetry Book Society

Bed Time Reading
by Adrian Buckner
ISBN: 978-1907869310, 24 pages

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Reading in youth, re-reading in middle age and the life being led by the reader. This is the subject of Bed Time Reading, a sequence of poems prompted by sight of the student's "voracious pencil" on an old copy of Anna Karenina and sustained by the quest for words, named by Larkin as being "at once true and kind".

Adrian Buckner edits the poetry magazine Assent. His previous, full-length, collection, Contains Mild Peril, was published by Five Leaves.

An Essential Self:
Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, A memoir.
by Lucas Myers
ISBN: 978-1907869013, 128 pages

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A unique record and assessment of the life and work of the two poets by one of Ted Hughes’s closest friends.

The author, an American, met Ted Hughes in Cambridge in 1955. They became friends and met Sylvia Plath at the party which was the scene of Hughes and Plath’s first encounter. Ted stayed with Myers during his courtship of Sylvia in the spring of 1956, before their marriage in the summer. Myers also discusses the role of Assia Wevill, whom he met in 1964, staying for a time in the flat she shared with her husband. 

The intertwined relationships of the poets and their families are unravelled, previously published accounts and interpretations of events are scrupulously put right, and the routes to Hughes’s Birthday Letters and Plath’s ‘Ariel voice’ carefully followed.

Lucas Myers was born in Tennessee, in 1930. After Groton School and the University of the South, he was a student at Cambridge, graduating in 1956. He taught in Rome and Paris, and in 1960, returned to the USA, where he was employed by the United Nations and the United States Government. After a return to Europe, he lived in New York, San Francisco and India. In 1997, he retired and returned with his wife to Tennessee. Lucas Myers is the author of Crow Steered Bergs Appeared, published in 2001

Ted Hughes and Translation
by Daniel Weissbort
ISBN: 978-1907869006, 148 pages

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Ted Hughes and Daniel Weissbort, as co-founders of the quarterly magazine Modern Poetry in Translation, had a working relationship over many years. Weissbort provides a unique insight into Hughes’s views on translation and on his interest in making accessible the work of foreign-language poets and classical drama.

"Poetry is less and less a prisoner of its own language", Hughes wrote, inaugurating the first Poetry International. With many examples, Weissbort examines the ways in which Hughes worked with texts, often in collaboration with the original writers, from modern European poets, especially those of or associated with Eastern Europe, to Pushkin, Racine, Ovid and including Hughes’s invented language forOrghast.

Daniel Weissbort, along with Ted Hughes, founded the magazine Modern Poetry in Translation in 1965. Weissbort remained editor until 2003. He directed the Translation Program at the University of Iowa, where he is an Emeritus Professor. He is Honorary Professor in the Centre for Translation and Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Warwick. Weissbort has published numerous collections of translations and anthologies, and he edited Ted Hughes: Selected Translations for Faber, as well as collections of his own poetry, most recently, Letters to Ted (2003). Ted Hughes and Weissbort co-edited Selected Poems of Yehuda Amichai, published in 2000.

The Rose Fyleman Fairy Book
illustrated by Hilda Miller
ISBN: 978-1905512973, 120p pages

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A facsimile of the 1923 Methuen edition. Rose Fyleman’s lovingly illustrated fairy book has been out of print for decades, and currently sells for three figures on-line. This is a whimsical book, for all who remember the author’s phrase “There are fairies at the bottom of our garden...”

Rose Fyleman, born in Nottingham, was a popular writer of
stories and poetry for children. She died in 1957. Her work —
and that of the illustrator Hilda Miller — lives on in fairy sites
all over the internet.

The Poems of C. Day-Lewis
Read by Jill Balcon
ISBN: 978-1905512898, Audio CD

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This CD collects seventeen of the best known and best loved poems by the former Poet Laureate C. Day-Lewis, including “Walking Away” and “The House Where I Was Born”. The poems are read by his widow, the late Jill Balcon, who introduces each poem. The collection ranges from C. Day- Lewis’ pastoral lyrics to the more political work of the 1930s and his more reflective and personal work of his later years.

C. Day-Lewis, with WH Auden, Stephen Spender and Louis MacNeice, was one of the key poets of the 1930s, After the war he became a popular broadcaster. In the fifties he was Professor of Poetry at Oxford University and was later made a Companion of Literature by the Royal Society of Literature. He was Chair of the Arts Council Literature Panel and a member of the Irish Academy of Letters. C. Day-Lewis was Poet Laureate from 1968 until his death in 1972.

This is the only CD of C. Day-Lewis poetry available.

Jill Balcon’s audio-books ranged from Carol An Duffy’s The World’s Wife to Claire Tomalin’s Samuel Pepys. Her television and film credits ranged from The Sweeney to Derek Jarman’s films. Her 60 years as an actress were celebrated by a BBC play, Deadheading Roses which also featured her son, Daniel Day-Lewis.

Old City, New Rumours
Edited by Ian Gregson & Carol Rumens
ISBN: 978-1905512935, 120 pages


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Old City: New Rumours is an anthology of work by poets who have lived or worked in Hull, a city described by Philip Larkin as having ‘a different resonance.’ The collection is a sequel to the influential 1982 collection A Newly Rumoured City (Ed. Douglas Dunn, with a foreword by Philip Larkin). New work by all the poets featured in that 1982 collection are included as are other poets including Andrew Motion, Grace Nichols, David Wheatley and Douglas Dunn himself.

Philip Larkin died 25 years ago and commemorations are being held in Hull during the summer of 2010. This exciting publication celebrates Larkin 25, but it will be read long afterwards.

With contributions from: Sean O’Brien, Andrew Motion, Tom
Paulin, Roger McGough...

Carol Rumens was the Director of the Philip Larkin Centre
between 2006/7. She has been published regularly since 1973,
mostly poetry but she has had one novel published and several
plays performed. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature
and Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Hull.
Ian Gregson is a poet and critic. His poetry is published by Salt,
his other books include Character and Satire in Post-War Fiction
(Continuum). He was included in the 1982 Hull collection.
Ian Gregson and Carol Rumens also teach at the University of

Things to Say
by John Lucas
ISBN: 978-1905512928, 64 pages

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John Lucas’ ninth full collection of poetry begins with a long poem echoing Auden’s “Letter to Lord Byron”, and discusses love, art, politics, social class and the industrial midlands. He then moves on to wars, ancient and modern, concluding with Lucas’ alter-ego, Thorn Gruin, moaning pitifully as always.

A modern poet who, something of a rarity, talks about class and politics as well as love and art. Lucas’ craft has been developed over five decades of being published

"Lucas is a first rate craftsman" - Platform

Of his previous work, Ambit spoke of "the deep humanity running through the book… and a happy determination to get to grips with the messiness of everyday life."

John Lucas is a major modern poet who has written for all the leading literary journals of the day, including London Review of Books, Poetry Review and the Times Literary Supplement. He was the poetry editor of the New Statesman for ten years. This is his ninth collection of poetry. He has also translated the Everyman Classic Egils Saga. His 92 Achernon Street won the Authors Club Dolman Prize for Travel Writing.

by Charles Reznikoff
ISBN: 978-1905512638, 96 pages


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Introduction by George Szirtes, winner of the TS Eliot poetry prize

Reznikoff’s subject is one people’s suffering at the hand of another. His source materials are the U.S. government’s record of the trials of the Nazi criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunal and the transcripts of the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem.

Except for the twelve part titles, none of the words here are Reznikoff’s own: instead he has created, through selection, arrangement, and the rhythms of the testimony set as verse on the page, a poem of witness by the perpetrators and the survivors of the Holocaust themselves. He lets the terrible history unfold – in history’s own words.

"…Reznikoff is the quintessential poet of New York City and one of the key figures in Jewish-American poetry. A writer of astonishing insight and unsurpassable charm, his poems endeavour to make visible much that usually goes unnoticed." - Publisher’s Weekly USA

"When we come to the end of Holocaust we want to find a place to be sick…No poet has ever written a book so nakedly shocking… One marvels at the courage Reznikoff must have drawn upon to write it."
- Anne Stevenson

"His Auschwitz was not… William Styron's "fatal embolism in the bloodstream of mankind," but a real place where men and women lived and died without witnesses, and mourners." - Sylvia Rothchild

Charles Reznikoff was born August, 1894, in Brooklyn, New York. His parents were Russian Jewish immigrants who fled the pogroms that followed the assassination of Alexander II. He was a blood-and-bone New Yorker, a collector of images and stories who walked the city from Bronx to Battery and breathed the soul of the Jewish immigrant experience into a lifetime of poetry. He died in 1976; one year after this book was first published in the USA.

The Night Shift
Edited by Michael Baron, Andy Croft
& Jenny Swann
ISBN: 978-190551258, 132 pages, hardback

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Welcome to the poetry of the night. The graveyard shift. The kingdom of the undead. The Night Shift is a celebration of the moon-lit life of the animal kingdom, the nocturnal hungers that wake when the sun goes down. It is also a book about the midnight world of insomniacs, lovers, long-distance drivers, breast-feeding mothers, bouncers, poets, drunks and shift-workers.
Representing the work of over fifty poets, including W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Paul Muldoon, John Clare, Sylvia Plath, Simon Armitage, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Dylan Thomas and Carol Ann Duffy, The Night Shift brings together the late-night music of ticking clocks, hooting owls, crying babies and the BBC World Service.

Michael Baron is involved with Words on the Water in the Lake District. He edited the Five Leaves collection On a Bat’s Wing; poems about bats. Andy Croft has edited several collections for Five Leaves. His latest solo work is The Ghost Writer. Jenny Swann has written three poetry collections, worked as a poetry editor and now runs Candlestick Press.

John Humphrys is a presenter on BBC Radio 4's Today

Three Men on the Metro
by Andy Croft, WN Herbert & Paul Summers
ISBN: 978-1905512843, 72 pages


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Three Men on the Moscow Metro is a journey from the Newcastle Metro to the Moscow Metro. Armed only with a battered copy of Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men on a Boat (a cult classic in the Soviet Union) poets Andy Croft, Bill Herbert and Paul Summers are soon lost underground. Like their predecessors on the Thames, they are completely out of their depth, idealists abroad, adrift in a very foreign medium.

Andy Croft’s many books include Red Letter Days and the poetry collections Ghost Writer and Sticky. He has written forty non-fiction books (mostly about football) and three novels for teenagers. His edited books for Five Leaves include Red Sky at Night and Not Just a Game. He lives in Middlesbrough.

W.N. Herbert’s poetry includes Cabaret McGonagall (short-listed for the Forward Prize), The Big Bumper Book of Troy (long-listed for Scottish Book of the Year) Forked Tongue and Bad Shaman Blues (both shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize). He is Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing in the School of English at the University of Newcastle.

Paul Summers’ poetry publications include Vermeer’s Dark Parlour, Beer & Skittles, The Last Bus, The Rat’s Mirror, Cunawabi and Big Bella’s Dirty Café. He was founding co-editor of the magazines Billy Liar and Liar Republic. He lives in North Shields.

Contains Mild Peril
by Adrian Buckner
ISBN: 978-1905512430, 72 pages

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“It was the kind of day/ that slows down after half past one…”writes Adrian Buckner (“Suburban Memory”). Contains Mild Peril is the kind of book that turns a slow afternoon into a richly rewarding one.

Buckner’s first full collection is not a book to be belted through, snatched between one commitment and the next, not a book with sharp elbows or a cutting tongue; but a book to be savoured, enjoyed and admired for its gentleness and humour. Its heroes are provincial old codgers, village cricketers, the invisible people who live behind net curtains, the stalwarts who make up the numbers at adult education classes.

If Contains Mild Peril celebrates the determinedly unfashionable, it certainly doesn’t wallow in nostalgia. Full of surprises and wonderful images (the girls on the bus who are sundered and re-united, the yellow hoop stuck in a playground tree) Buckner is in the best tradition of quiet men — when he talks, everyone stops to listen.

“A Buckner poem moves, and moves unexpectedly. He does this not to be pyrotechnic, or modish, but because his subject is mankind…” - U.A. FANTHORPE

Adrian Buckner has published two pamphlet collections, The Blameless Life (1997) and One Man Queue (2004). Contains Mild Peril is his first full collection. He edits the journal Poetry Nottingham and lectures in Creative Writing at Derby University. He lives in Derbyshire with his wife and two children.
by Anna Woodford
ISBN: 978-1905512317, 32 pages

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"Dad has always driven slowly
as though he has always been
dragging this trailer
full of loose ends
from his childhood that he can't let go"

Trailer is a series of meditative poems about the poet's family history and the way the past travels with us. The poems - like paintings by Chagall - stir up time and place to dissolving point, honouring the material world but not taking it for what it is. Or isn't. Trailer is a memorial to the poet's grandparents and great grandparents.

"' much dark one candle/can leave' writes Anna Woodford at the passing of her grandmother. It's a dark that will accompany, will see her through. There's a level-headed love here that, like life itself, is strong enough to carry the equipages of wit and brilliance in her poetry." - Gillian Allnutt

"I never thought I would use the word 'cool' as a compliment to characterise a young poet's work, least of all when it deals with family material of such deep personal resonance. And yet that is my reaction to Anna Woodford's workings in what has lately become a popular literary territory involving grandparents and immigration. The emotions are strong, and for this very reason, in relation to her material, she stands, whether consciously or intuitively, 'at a slight angle to the universe', as Forster famously wrote of Cavafy. She is tough-minded and tender-hearted." - Anthony Rudolf

Willow Pattern
by Penny Feinstein
ISBN: 978-1905512287, 36 pages

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Penny Feinstein’s poetry is almost English and almost rural. Somewhere just out of view lie other worlds and uneasy histories.

Feinstein’s themes grow out of the quotidian realities of life, emerging like the creamy-capped mushrooms she celebrates. Her dramatis personae are musicians, craftsmen, family and friends, with glimpses into the lives of strangers. Each leaves their mark, makes something unique out of raw, everyday materials.

The poems in the first part of Willow Pattern take us from dinner-table to mountain-top, from simplicity to deeper understanding. In “Getting On”, the sequence that makes up the second part of the book, the poet bears witness to the decline and death of a parent, delineating with honesty and compassion the wrenches of adjustment and the long, slow farewell.

“So, tentatively, I probe the management
of your death. Not hustling or writing you off,
just trying not to be caught in the glare
of pain or fear or guilt or time or love.”

Penny Feinstein taught in inner London schools before retiring to Derbyshire where she began writing. Her poems have appeared in Jewish Renaissance, Staple and Second Light as well as in anthologies published by, among others, Bloodaxe Books. This is her first collection.

Ghost Writer
by Andy Croft
ISBN: 0907123244, 196 pages

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The Ghost Writer is a literary detective-story featuring a cast of assorted ghosts, spies, poets, bad drivers and hopeless lovers. It’s a verse-novel in Pushkin sonnets. And it’s based on Hamlet.

"Andy Croft produces staggeringly flawless verse which is never heartless in perfection." - The North

"The Alexander Pope of the North." - John Hartley-Williams
by Kevin Fegan
ISBN: 0907123392, 48 pages

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Life is a good fire
around which stories are told
and, in the end, when the fire goes out;
all we are left with is words

Kevin Fegan explores the poetry to be found in heavy industry - and it doesn't come much heavier than steel. Blast is the fictional tale of a retired steelworker from the Templeborough melting shop in South Yorkshire. After 40 years of dirt and graft, laughter and sweat, he is determined to enjoy retirement, even if it kills him.

"Kevin Fegan is a poet and a playwright with a capacity for sympathetic identification and a taste for tough, complex issues."
- The Guardian

"Fegan runs ever faster to keep his work at the leading edge of contemporary life" - The Independent

"Britain's most innovative playwright" - Plays International

Blast was firstbroadcast on Radio 4, then performed live over a week at Manchester Poetry Festival before going on national tour.

By Heart
edited by Victoria Briggs
ISBN: 1905512228, 32 pages

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Jan-Willem Anker
Maria Barnes
Sarah Corbett
Antony Dunn
Daljit Nagra
Mustafa Stitou
Edited by Victoria Briggs

By Heart - Uit Het Hoofd is a bilingual collection of poetry by significant poets from Britian and the Netherlands. Translating poetry is an art. Sometimes it is not just language but culture which must be translated, as demonstrated by this title. By Heart means the same as the Dutch Uit Het Hoofd, "By Head".

In this collectin the six poets have collaborated on tranlations of material reflecting their own concerns, which range from Daljit Nagra's experience of being British/Asiam; the Dutch/Morrocan Mustafa Stitou's contemporary political interests; Sarah Corbett's specifically female perspective; Maria Barnas' vivid imigery; while Antony Dunn and Jan-Willem Anker draw on that which is outside the everyday.

All write with their heads and their hearts.
Choose Your Frog
by Harold Rosen
ISBN: 090712335X, 160 pages

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In these poems a lot is being said through animals, rather than just about them. There’s politics too, sometimes oblique, sometimes direct. There is a strong theme of the encounter between urban East End Jew and the countryside, when once the encounters with animals were only with skinny dogs in Club Row or the eel stall in Hoxton Street Market.

Harold Rosen is Emeritus Professor at the University of London School of Education where, as a teacher and researcher, he was concerned with the teaching of English and language in education. His most recent publications include Are You Still Circumcised? This collection of autobiographical stories, published by Five Leaves, was described in the Times Educational Supplement as "for anyone who’s ever used language or been a child".
Did I Hear You Write?
by Michael Rosen
ISBN: 0907123767, 200 pages

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Michael Rosen children's poet laureate draws on his visits to thousands of schools to explore the writing culture of children. This second edition of a useful book for teachers and parents includes a new bibliography of recommended books for children.

"The job of laureate might have been custom-built for Mr Rosen, and it is something of a surprise that it has taken so long to come his way."
- The Guardian

"...both perceptive and informative... The text is peppered with lively anecdotes and insights." - Junior Education

"...a classic text that is still 'alive' and useful in contemporary classrooms. Did I Hear You Write is a superb book. It begins with a discussion and plea for the 'voice' of the child to be heard through the medium of their own writing and continues with a series of ideas to encourage children to write from their own experiences. inspirational book worthy of all staffroom collections."
- The Primary English Magazine

Also by Michael Rosen:

The Golem Of Old Prague
The Skin Of Your Back
You Are, Aren't You?
Flood Warning
by Berta Freistadt
ISBN: 0907123945, --- pages

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Flood Warning is about the melancholy and madness of love. It celebrates different aspects of woman, lover, child, friend and, in her most dangerous aspect, the moon.

Part two works on questions of identity, the making of community and the struggle of a London Jew to understand the war in Israel.

"These poems explore loving women: the risks, passions and sensuality play across the page. From moonstruck, magical and whimsical flood warning, to cautionary tales, celebratory, lustful, romantic and everyday. And also poems interrogating an easy belonging." - Dorothea Smartt

"Berta Freistadt's poems are passionate yet full of precise observations. In their haunting images she takes the reader to the places of her soul." - Peter Daniels Luczinski

"... awash with witches and bad girls...There's a wonderful energy at work... I love the frankness of these poems." - Poetry London

Berta Freistadt is a Londoner of mixed heritage. Her poetry is published in anthologies, magazines and journals in the UK, Israel and the States and can also be seen somewhere on a London bus.
Gardens Of Eden Revisited
by Michelene Wandor
ISBN: 0907123333, 160 pages

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"...a gossipy irresistible send-up of the Old Testament" - Vogue

"Michelene Wandor demonstrates her tremendous versatility as a writer. Strong on dialogue, the conversations between Eve, Lilith and God are compelling, witty and wise" - Poetry Quarterly Review

Lilith to Eve

I merely said 'no'.

That's when he gave me
his attention
for the first time

Fire and Ice: the world turned upside down (extract)


Today the world is turned upside down
today autumn creeps between stone and leaf
today I am haunted by a memory
a memory of carnival
a memory of May creeping between leaf and stone
into October

I remember Bacchus, the God of wine, riding through the city
on a cart drawn by white panthers
I remember a wedding with a bear as the groom
a fish buried with full military honours
a horse galloping backwards

I remember cities in the sky
the sun and moon turning cartwheels in the piazza
I remember the world turned upside down

I remember carnival

Michelene Wandor is a playwright, musician, broadcaster and critic

I Could Become That Woman
by Sibyl Ruth
ISBN: 0907123546, 33 pages

- Out of Print -

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I Could Become That Woman celebrates desire and the way it disrupts our lives, turning friends into lovers, partners into parents. The poems weave a world where identity is constantly re-created as the imagination hijacks confession, as fantasy and memory collide.

Sibyl Ruth's first collection of poems, Nothing Personal, was published by Iron Press and her work has appeared in many magazines and anthologies. She was the Poet Laureate in Birmingham, where she lives, working at the Midland Arts Centre. Some of her other poems appeared in an earlier Five Leaves' publication, The Dybbuk of Delight: an anthology of Jewish women's poetry. Sibyl Ruth has a German-Jewish mother and a Welsh father.

Full House
Surrounded by stubborn furniture,
all yours.

Double-sided bookcases,
stacks of little tables.
Oak cabinets, sideboards, cupboards.
The uncomfortable chaise longue,
an out-of-tune piano.

Pieces glower from every corner.
Obstructing windows,
they cast odd shadows,
darken doorways.

There's plenty of room, you say.
I could make the occasional gesture with a duster.
Be more accommodating.

While they graze my shins for fun
snag sleeves, tweak fingernails,
nip my vulnerable toes.
And they won't be moved.

I'd imagined owning less.
Somewhere unvarnished, uninsured
--- bare walls and floors,
with wind chimes, maybe lanterns.
Stars looking down on a shared emptiness.

"Sibyl Ruth is a powerful and engaging poet. She has a marvellous ear for the ironies of day to day life and a natural sympathy with outsiders." - Jonathan Davidson

"She has Carol Ann Duffy's ability to choose every word of the maximum resonance, but there is a tender, quiet note here too."
- Angela Topping

"....when she hits the right note, she does it magnificently, as in Baxter or Night Feed. She has that ability to use just the right words, as in True Confessions, where she captures the awkwardness of first sexual contact exactly right and with a dark humour: "In bed she can’t say what she’d like./He doesn’t know where to put himself"
- Seam
I Married the Angel of the North
by Peter Mortimer
ISBN: 0907123937, 70 pages

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I married the Angel of the North (extract)

I have married the Angel of the North
because it is bigger than me
because its roots are 100 feet in Northern soil
because it is always in when I call
because it is always in flight when I call
because it sees the horizons the rest of us don't
because in my waking dreams
the imagined wush-wushing
of those great boat paddle wings
pushes the slowing blood
through all our Northern veins

"Peter Mortimer is the unsung hero of Northern literature"
- Newcastle Journal

"His poetry is highly coloured, and is out to charm us" - Stand

"...this attractively produced collection juxtaposes jollity with more substantial and enjoyably gloomy pieces. My favourite is "log", an ambitious and lovely poem about growing children and a weighty piece of flotsam that takes up residence by the fire..." - Other Poetry

Peter Mortimer runs the Iron Press, and is a full-time writer of plays and poems, and of travel books.

His previous books include:
Broke Through Britain, featuring a penniless walk from one end of the country to another; A Rainbow in its Throat (poems); The Last of the Hunters, a documentary about North Sea fishermen.

One of his stories appeared in Five Leaves' City of Crime.
Last Hour of Sleep
edited by Naomi Jaffa
ISBN: 0907123740, 32 pages

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The invigorating poems in The Last Hour of Sleep introduce a daughter, sister and woman awakening to her past and her present passions. With honesty and panache they celebrate the complexities of her sometimes difficult relationships with places, horses and people.


but I might persuade myself
that I’d definitely still fancy you
rotten, if only you’d have
a good wash, perhaps slosh
a dash of Givenchy,
install a power shower even.
Then maybe we’d stand
an outside chance
of staying together
longer than an instant coffee
in the morning
which is already
looking much too far ahead.
Basically I’d really like it
if you were gone
now, out of my bed,
back to wherever it was
you said you lived.
Was it Highgate?
And I’d be very grateful
if you never showed up
at work on Monday
as the office equipment
salesman (who still looks
just like that actor)
who I lusted after
for the whole of last week
because of an Irish accent
and a name like Gabriel.


As far as I know he never even liked it here
but quite suddenly, after staying away almost nine years,
my father is back to visit me in Kerala, South India
— in the middle of night (as you’d expect) but also
during the afternoons around teatime, riding
the same airhorn-blasting hot and dusty trains.
And he seems to like to call especially before breakfast,
during that last hour of sleep in hotel bedrooms.
He looks about sixty, but to be truthful, to date him
accurately, I’d have to compare him with the photos.
Definitely he’s much happier.
Just the other morning he arrived, shorter
than me as usual, and swept me off my feet,
lifted me right off the ground and hugged me
for no reason. Put me down! I’m much too heavy.
Put me down! You’ll break. But he didn’t
and he doesn’t and my toes never touched
our old-gold, top-floor landing carpet.
He fills out his trousers again and his cheeks
are back to normal: fat, tanned, glistening and clean-shaven.
I kiss him and kiss him, inhale that mix
of Gillette foam and Floris’ Rose Geranium.
And all the time he dizzies me with smiles.

"Naomi Jaffa’s poems - intimate, sensuous, sensual - have the vivid texture of real life. Her bold use of the domestic, the ordinary, illuminates often disturbing or ambivalent emotion. She writes brilliantly about adolescence, a certain daddy’s girl rebelliousness. Here are nakedly and exuberantly female poems which conjure sexuality, memory, longing, grief and pack many a shock of emotion."
- Liz Lochhead

Naomi Jaffa grew up in London and Scarborough. With family roots in Russia and Germany, her Jewish parents were both professional musicians. Since 1991 Naomi has lived in East Anglia, working initially as Suffolk’s Literature Development Worker. For the past five years she has been director of the annual international Aldeburgh Poetry Festival. This is her first collection.
Let Your Left Hand Sing
by Kevin Fegan
ISBN: 978-1905512416, 48 pages

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"Every morning, on my way to work, I pass all my neighbours' houses;
but today I will stop and knock on their doors and listen to their stories..."

...and these are the stories of migration. The story of a Jamaican woman from Northampton who remembers the Anansi stories of her childhood; of the Hindu woman who likens her native Poona to her home in Leicester; of the woman from the Sudan who "was eight when the soldiers came"; of the Ukrainian who has lived in exile for fifty years; and of the prisoner who has stayed in seventeen towns, but not set foot in any of them. Kevin Fegan too is a migrant, from an Irish family who came to the Midlands for want of work.

"Those lucky enough to catch Fegan's skillful delivery can bear witness to its effectiveness on the stage as well as the page"
- Manchester City Life (on Matey Boy)

"It is a brilliant concept to insert a living myth into contemporary Irish history. It is above all a bold ambition to put the play into verse, challenging a number of famous Irish ancestors." - The New Statesman (on McAlpine's Fusilier)

"Devastating theatre that demands superlatives, I can't praise it enough" - The Stage and Television Today (on Rule 43)

Let Your Left Hand Sing was commissioned by the Long Journey Home project, with Commonwealth Games funding. The dramatic monologue has been performed by Kevin Fegan in refugee centres, art galleries, in prisons... and, together with his other Five Leaves' titles - Blast and Racer - will be on national tour of small scale venues and literature programmes.
Not Just A Game
edited by Andy Croft & Sue Dymoke
ISBN: 1905512139, 240 pages

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Mohammed Ali used to write poetry. Shelley and Wordsworth wrote poems about mountain-climbing. Byron wrote poems about swimming. The best athletes are like poetry in motion. As Jane Austen put it in Pride and Prejudice, “For what do we live but to make sport…?”

Not Just a Game is a unique archive of modern British sporting life – angling, boxing, canoeing, cricket, darts, golf, motorcycling, netball, polo, rugby, rowing, running, skating, snooker, swimming and tennis – as recorded by contemporary poets like WH Auden, Wendy Cope, James Berry, John Betjeman, Jean Binta Breeze, PG Wodehouse, Carol Ann Duffy, Ted Hughes, Helen Dunmore, Douglas Dunn, Selima Hill, Sean O’Brien and Roger McGough.

Not Just a Game celebrates individual achievement and collective effort, personal satisfaction and public pride, superhuman endurance and skill exchanged for the rewards of immortality. From the first length to the final frame, the egg and spoon race to the Cup Final, from Jack Hobbs to Brian Clough, Centre Court to the Great North Run, Not Just a Game captures the tension and the laughter, the pain and the pleasure, and the blood, sweat and tears.

It’s not just a book for sports fans.

It’s not just a book for poetry lovers.

It’s not just a game.

Andy Croft has published six books of poetry, the latest being Comrade Laughter, and thirty-six books for teenagers, mostly about football. A former half-marathon runner, he was once Poet-in-Residence on the Great North Run. He still plays five-a-side football and is a season-ticket holder at Middlesbrough FC.

Sue Dymoke's books include The New Girls (her first full poetry collection) and Drafting and Assessing Poetry. She lectures in education at the University of Leicester. She has been an ardent Chelsea FC supporter since the age of ten and is now an enthusiastic, but slow, swimmer.
Passionate Renewal
edited by Peter Lawson
ISBN: 0907123732, 354 pages

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They rose to a passionate renewal
And I must serve their freedoms with my own

A.C Jacobs ('In Early Spring')

Passionate Renewal is the first anthology celebrating the poetry of British Jews. The book is a major collection, containing substantial numbers of poems by each contributor. The twenty poets write on Jewish and universal subjects.

British Jewish poets have achieved major influence within the poetry world since 1945. This history includes Emanuel Litvinoff’s famous attack on T.S. Eliot’s anti-Semitism; Philip Hobsbaum’s “Group” from the 1960s; Michael Horovitz bringing thousands to hear “poetry of the underground”, his passion being shared by Jeremy Robson. Jon Silkin edited Stand for over forty years; Michael Rosen is one of the best selling poets for children; Daniel Weissbort (with Ted Hughes) set up Modern Poetry in Translation. Michael Hamburger, A.C. Jacobs and others made their name as translators. Elaine Feinstein, George Szirtes, Ruth Fainlight and Dannie Abse are major figures on the poetry circuit. As well as having their own collections, Gerda Mayer, Lotte Kramer and Karen Gershon have been widely anthologised. Many contributors are admired in other fields: criticism; biography; fiction; and, in Bernard Kops case, play writing. Among recent voices, Richard Burns, Jonathan Treitel and Joanne Limburg are becoming well-known, the latter being short-listed for the Forward prize for the best first collection.

"This newly published collection is a joy… and you don't have to be a 'literary' person to appreciate it." - Alonim

"The act of gathering these (poets) together reveals the importance of Jewish writers to a wider British tradition, both as poets, but also as translators, and communicators with the wider world. This is an important and revealing anthology." - Poetry Book Society Bulletin

"…a fine anthology" - Jewish Socialist

"Lawson's publishers are to be congratulated on publishing such a well-produced, sturdily bound and very reasonably priced volume. Passionate Renewal should be in every home and library that collects poetry." - Professor William Baker, Northern Illinois University

"Fifty-five years seperate the oldest from the youngest poet which makes a gratifying sense of an evolving, dynamic tradition and the possibility that Passionate Renewal may be a groundbreaking publication in the service of that tradition." - Nottingham Evening Post

"The quality is extremely high and, in addition to its appeal to readers with a special interest in judaica, well deserves a wider audience." - Manifold

"I would like to go on commenting on much more in this generous and fine gathering of poems - on those by Weissbort, Mayer, Kops and Szirtes (another I was unaware was Jewish) - but space is not endless in a magazine. Read the book, it's worth it." - Acumen

"...the editor, Peter Lawson, has been meticulous in his research, finding poems from books and pamphlets long out of print... you don't have to be addicted to gefilte fish and salt beef to enjoy this anthology of 2001." - Ham & High Books of the Year

"A Jewish Eisteddfod" - Association of Jewish Refugees Journal

Published in association with the European Jewish Publication Society

A Poetry Book Society Special Commendation.

Peter Lawson researches and teaches poetry at Southampton University. He writes regularly for the Jewish Chronicle and the Jewish Quarterly.
Poems For The Beekeeper
by Robert Gent
ISBN: 0907123821, 200 pages

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Danny Abse, Fleur Adcock, James Berry, Alan Brownjohn, Catherine Byron, Wendy Cope, Robert Creeley, Kwame Dawes, Carol Ann Duffy, Helen Dunmore, Gavin Ewart, UA Fanthorpe, Elaine Feinstein, John Harvey, Adrian Henri, Selima Hill, Mick Imlah, Jenny Joseph, Jackie Kay, Liz Lockhead, Michael Longley, John Lucas, Roger McGough, Ian McMillan, Wes Magee, Adrian Mitchell, Henry Normal, Brian Patten, Tom Paulin, Nigel Planer, Peter Porter, Peter Redgrove, Christopher Reid, Vernon Scannell, Penelope Shuttle, Jon Silkin, Ken Smith and Charles Tomlinson are represented by up to four poems each in this collection celebrating 15 years of Beeston Poets.

"The sense of different voices comes across strongly" - English and Media Magazine

Poetry: the Nottingham Collection
edited by John Lucas
ISBN: 0907123236, 138 pages

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Poetry: the Nottingham collection includes 52 contributors, all living, born or otherwise connected with Nottinghamshire. A companion volume to “Sunday Night and Monday Morning” – a collection of new fiction by Nottinghamshire writers.

Contributors include:

Catherine Byron
Philip Callow
Andy Croft (Smokestack Press)
Duncan Glen (Akros Press)
John Harvey
John Lucas
Jamie McKendrick
Stanley Middleton
Blake Morrison
Graham Mort
Peter Mortimer (Iron Press)
Henry Normal
Tom Paulin
Peter Porter
Peter Sansom (The North)
Vernon Scannell
Alan Sillitoe
Matthew Welton
John Hartley Williams
Gregory Woods
and others

"...a great book to dip in to, a hymn to a place and a manifesto for poetry that is regional, democratic and plain... There are plenty of famous names here... others deserve to be better known... but the book's real delights are poems by younger poets." - Morning Star

"This is what good anthologies should be: surprising, deft and graceful. And a great cover!" - Staple

John Lucas has recently retired as Professor of English at Nottingham Trent University. He is a former poetry editor of the New Statesman and has written many critical works including England and Englishness, and, for Five Leaves, The Radical Twenties. He also runs Shoestring Press.

by Kevin Fegan
ISBN: 0907123449, 48 pages

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Racer is a dramatic poem set on the Isle of Man TT, the most famous, and most dangerous, motorcycle road-race circuit in the world. Here, The Racer screams his way round the roads, at speeds of up to 200mph, recounting his life and loves on and off the circuit, making one final attempt to be the champion.

Cover by Clifford Harper. Racer completes a set of three A6 books by Kevin Fegan, the others being Blast and Let Your Left Hand Sing.

"His verse is as tough, topical and streetwise as any disco rap"
- The Guardian

"Those lucky enough to catch Fegan's skillful delivery can bear witness to its effectiveness on the stage as well as the page"
- Manchester City Life

"Strong, lyrical writing, Fegan is really a promising writer"
- The Observer

"The most unpredictable and innovative voice in British theatre"
- UBU, European Theatre Magazine

Racer was first commissioned and broadcast on Radio 4, performed by Paul McGann
The Skin Of Your Back
by Michael Rosen
ISBN: 090712366X, 200 pages

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"His free form structure is deceptively simple and the magic is a result of his precise choice of concrete words and accurate observation"
- New Moon

My Mother at the Undertakers (extract)

I turned away but saw my father
lean in close to her
raise his hands into the space between his face
and hers.
For one moment I thought he was going to clap.
Then it seemed he was going to hold her head.
Or perhaps his.
But what he did then was shake his hands,
shake them in that space between his face
and hers.

It seemed like some ancient gesture
some blessing. Or curse. Or both.
Wishing her safe passage?
Or cursing her for leaving him.
He stared and muttered
looked away and looked again.
I could see what he was doing:
forcing this picture into his mind,
making himself hold on to this last view of her
after forty years of knowing it like the back of his hand.
Or hers..
The Smug Bridegroom
by Robert Hamberger
ISBN: 0907123880, 72 pages

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One week before your operation
you've become glass to me:
a delicate vessel holding all you might be
between unsteady hands. This motion
of crossing a room could tip your libation.
I wait in the kitchen, not wanting to miss any
drop of you walking towards me. I see
pyjamas in a half-packed suitcase open
upstairs. I'm a father letting you go
for a ride with stranger, out of my sight.
Treat him well, I want to say. You don't know
his gifts: how memorable the light
has become since he stood by this window;
his breath stroking my spine in bed last night.

"This is a collection of first person poems, all of which reveal a sensitive, intelligent voice. The middle section of the book deals with the break up of a marriage and achieves a succinctness and precision I've seldom encountered elsewhere. The Smug Bridegroom brims with quality: it is lucid, economical, outstanding. By far the best poetry collection of 2002." - New Hope International
(full review at

"The book is a journey through the hinterland of marriage, separation, new relationships, and heart surgery... the scale of each of these different areas seem sharply and accurately drawn together with memorable use of images... elegant and forthright cameos. The poet cares about our response, and with this comes a sense of fellow humanity." - Dreamcatcher

"It is the extended sonnet-sequence called The Rule of Earth that is the nerve-centre of the book... it is the sonnets that make this book worth buying... the tonal register is consistant throughout; the voice intimate, sensitive..." - Staple

"In poems of great subtlety and technical finesse, and without unneeded ostentation or concealment, Hamberger gives as clear an insight into love's routines and surprises as I have recently seen in any British poetry." - Magma

Robert Hamberger was born in 1957 in Whitechapel. His poems have been broadcast on Radio 4 and have appeared in many magazines and anthologies. This is his second full collection and there have also been four pamphlet collections. The above poem was, as part of a sequence, shortlisted for the Forward Prize, Best Individual Poem, in 2000.
Still Breathing
by Cathy Grindrod
ISBN: 1905512104, 44 pages

Out Of Print

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In Still Breathing, Cathy Grindrod explores her relationship with her father through his illness and death; the many voices of grief; and the ultimate human will to survive.

Cathy Grindrod is Poet Laureate for Derbyshire, part-time Literature Officer for Nottingham City and a freelance literature worker and poetry course tutor.

Her first full collection, Fighting Talk, was published by Headland. Cathy’s work also appears in Poetry: the Nottingham Collection published by Five Leaves.
Tears of Honey and Gold
by Jacqueline Karp
ISBN: 0907123554, 40 pages + endpapers

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In Jacqueline Karp's first collection, Sudden Maraschinos, she brought together poems inspired by several Northern and East European countries. In this new collection she turns to Spain — marking its contours and its history, including the influence of the exiled Arab and Jewish populations. The author moves through the country, carefully commenting on what she sees.

"There are travel writers and travel poets; and I know which I prefer. Ms. Karp is a travel poet; she is also a traveller and a linguist. She is able to bring a reporter's veracity to her subjects, made special by her particular vision and style." - Michael Bengerter

Writing on Sudden Maraschinos, Katherine Gallagher remarked that Jacqueline Karp’s work is "stylistically adventurous, with journeys into other cultures, other voices. Karp’s poetry is a delight — distinguished by intelligence, toughness and lyrical grace."

Jacqueline Karp lives in France. Her poetry has appeared in many magazines including The Reader, Penniless Press and The Journal.
You Are, Aren't You?
by Michael Rosen
ISBN: 0907123090, 200 pages

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Poems on Jewish and socialist themes, published jointly with Jewish Socialist magazine.


My father came to England
from another country
My father's mother came to England
from another country
but my father's father
stayed behind.

So my dad had no dad here
and I never saw him at all.

One day in spring
some things arrived:
a few old papers,
a few old photos
and - yes -
a hulky bulky thick checked jacket
that belonged to the man
I would have called 'Grandad'
The Man Who Stayed Behind.

But I kept that jacket
And I wore it
And I wore it
And I wore it
till it wore right through
at the back

Also by Michael Rosen: The Golem Of Old Prague
The Skin Of Your Back * Did I Hear You Write?
On A Bat's Wing
edited by Michael Baron
ISBN: 978-1905512270, 136 pages

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Bats have had a bad press.
Yet they snaffle bugs by the thousand
And carefully clean their babies’ faces.

Catriona O’Reilly, A Lecture upon the Bat

Poets through the ages have written about love, loss, war and peace and…bats. Emily Dickinson, Edward Lear, D. H. Lawrence and Stevie Smith as well as modern poets Seamus Heaney, Kathleen Jamie, Les Murray and Ted Hughes have found bats to be a source of inspiration and mythology, flitting in and out of human experience in some unexpected ways. The title of this collection is based on a line in The Tempest.

Winging through the leaves of this unique anthology and hanging upside down on its every page are bats large and small, real and fictional; scary bats, scared ones, evil bats and positively heroic ones, bats on ceilings and skylines, in airing cupboards and even cuddling up in bed with some of the 65 authors included.

Professor John Altringham (University of Leeds) provides a preface, briefly introducing us to the more than 1,100 species of bats throughout the world.

"Not long ago, following some chiropterophobic remarks in this column, I was reproached in gentle terms by the mild-mannered members of our great nation's bat-fancying community. At last I have the chance to make amends, by recommending a book of poems about bats. Who knew there were enough good poems about bats to make a chapbook, far less an entire anthology? Yet here they are – wonderful poems by Seamus Heaney, Emily Dickinson, William Shakespeare, D H Lawrence, John Updike and dozens of others. I particularly enjoyed Frank Jacobs's poem, which ends: "Bats when flying undismayed are;/ Bats are careful; bats use radar;/ Bats at night-time at their best are; Bats by Batman unimpressed are!" On A Bat's Wing is published by Five Leaves Poetry, and all royalties go to the Bat Conservation Trust. Every byre should have one."
- Daily Telegraph

Michael Baron initiated the major Words By The Water Cumbrian Literature Festival in 2001. He was one of the founders of the National Autistic Society and is a member of the Cumberland Bat Group and of the Bat Conservation Society.

Speaking English
edited by Andy Croft
ISBN: 978-1905512126, 160 pages

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This is not a book about John Lucas (although he has a walk-on role in several of these poems), but one which seeks to address the subjects which have engaged his attention over the years - England, literature, cricket, criticism, history, teaching, publishing, politics, poetry, beer, jazz…

Speaking English celebrates common experience, the regional and the radical, the demotic and the democratic, the poetics of saying what you mean and the politics of meaning what you say.

Speaking English brings together more than a hundred distinguished poets from four continents - including John Hartley Williams, Jamie McKendrick, Blake Morrison, Robert Nye, Tom Paulin, Peter Porter, Deryn Rees-Jones, Anne Stevenson, Matthew Sweeney and George Szirtes - to celebrate the seventieth birthday of the prolific English critic, editor, publisher and poet John Lucas.

John Lucas is Professor Emeritus at the Universities of Loughborough and Nottingham Trent. He is the author of many scholarly and critical works, including studies of Dickens, John Clare, Arnold Bennett, Ivor Gurney and Elizabeth Gaskell. He has published seven books of poetry, and is the former poetry editor of the New Statesman. His translation of the poems of Egils Saga is an Everyman Modern Classic. He also runs Shoestring Press.

Andy Croft has edited several books for Five Leaves and has written many books of poetry and on literary history.