We had such a treat with our poets this year.
Poetry is probably what we are best known for at Fly on the Wall Press, and so it is always our most competitive category to get noticed within!
As always, we've found fresh talent here, and are delighted to be publishing many debuts in 2022.
We've also been able to continue working with poets we've admired or worked with briefly in the past.
Have you read the work of any of the below before?
The Chapbook Squad:
Helen Bowie on chapbook 'Exposition Ladies':
Exposition ladies is inspired by the women in films who exist solely to move the plot along, with no lives of their own. The very first Exposition Lady I wrote was inspired by a prompt in a workshop. Once I wrote her, I couldn’t help but see Exposition Ladies in every film I watched.
I started writing poetry after all the theatres and fringe festivals closed down in 2020, with no outlet for my creative endeavours, and my poetry has always been heavily influenced by performance; Exposition Ladies is in some ways an extension of that. My first pamphlet, WORD/PLAY (Beir Bua Press) was built on the ideas of play and interaction that underpinned a lot of my performance work leading up to writing it. Exposition Ladies, on the other hand, is an exploration of the ecosystems that women (and non-binary people, and anyone femme-coded or existing outside of the power structures of theatre and film) navigate, and what the roles we see on stage and screen tell us about the roles expected of us in society.
In addition, I’d like to credit Carol Ann Duffy’s The World’s Wife, and Cathy Ulrich’s Ghosts of You as inspirations for Exposition Ladies.
Jo Bratten on chapbook 'Climacteric':
(September 16th 2022)
Climacteric means both 'a critical period or event', and 'the period of life when fertility is in decline'. These poems are about both of these things, with most poems written in 2020-2021, a critical period both personally (death of my father and onset of early menopause) and universally (climate crisis as well as covid, which is only referred to obliquely: this is not a covid book). These are not, therefore, what I’d call cheerful poems (but there are jokes! at least three!) as they explore the feelings of isolation and anxiety that many of us have felt more markedly in the past year or so, as well as anger at the failing body and at the failures of the body politic; anger at churchmen and rich men; feelings of social and personal guilt and the inadequacy of our attempts to live in a way that does little harm to the earth or other; loss and coming to terms with loss. Towards the end, the poems find a sense of solace and joy in nature and the simplest kind of love.
Maeve McKenna on her chapbook: 'A Dedication to Drowning'
(Friday 18th February 2022)
In this debut chapbook, we are exposed to fleshy centres of poems. Raw and honest explorations of what it is to be a woman, a mother, fertile or discarded.
Maeve McKenna lives in rural Sligo, Ireland. In 2018, her work was shortlisted for the Red Line and highly commended in the iYeats International Poetry Competitions.
In 2019, she was highly commended in the Frances Ledwidge and longlisted in the Over The Edge Poetry competitions. She was joint runner-up in the Trim Poetry Competition and the Hanna Greally Poetry Competition, 2020.
Her work has been published in Mslexia, Orbis, Sand, The Galway Review, Marble Poetry, Channel Magazine, Fly on the Wall, The Haibun Journal, Bloody Amazing Anthology, Culture Matters A Working Class Anthology Of Prose Writing. Her poems have appeared online in Atrium, The Ofi Press, The Bangor Literary Journal, The Honest Ulsterman, HeadStuff, Dodging The Rain and many others.
Maeve was a recipient of two Arts Council of Ireland Awards 2020/2021, a finalist in the Eavan Boland Mentorship Award, 2021 and a recipient of a John Hewitt Summer School bursary, 2021. She was part of a poetry collaboration with three poets which won the Dreich Alliance Competition. This collection will be published in Autumn 2021.
Sree Sen on her collection: 'Cracked Asphalt':
(August 12th 2022)
Cracked Asphalt counts every stone and fallen leaf along the way,
Gaelic street names mispronounced in Bengali accent. Born out of worn-out soles, when I went fundraising door-to-door in Dublin, these poems are a personal exploration of fractured identity and the essence of 'home'.
From Kolkata, India, Sree relocated to Dublin, Ireland in 2019 to pursue MA in Creative Writing at University College Dublin. Currently, based in Westport, she’s working as a digital content specialist for Skein Press.
Sree’s creative works have appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, Dedalus Press
‘Local Wonders Anthology’, Honest Ulsterman, bath magg, The Night Heron Barks, nether Quarterly and others. She’s the winner of UCD Maeve Binchy Travel Award 2020; recipient of the Cill Rialaig Residency 2020 and Agility Award 2021 by Arts Council of Ireland. Her story ‘Still Life’ was shortlisted at the Wild Atlantic Words Short Story Competition 2021.
As a journalist, her articles have appeared in The Hindu BusinessLine, Firstpost,
DNA, Times of India, Sakal Times and other media platforms.
(un)interrupted tongues by Dalbinder Kular
(August 19th 2022)
Dal Kular is a Sheffield born and based writer of Punjabi/Sikh heritage. She is a facilitator, tutor and mentor specialising in creative writing arts for healing and has an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. From leaving school at 16 years old with 3 O-levels and being told she could never be a writer – to severe burnout, grief and loss – Dal returned to the power of words and writing in her late forties, as an act of radical self-care and healing. Through her She Howls writing circles, co-writing spaces and Our True Nature writing workshops for women of colour – she encourages women to discover the power of their own voices. She has been awarded Arts Council funding to work on her memoir about her mother, grief and nature. She is most often found roaming the Peak District in her tiny brown van, Muddy. You can find out more at www.dalkular.com.
"(un)interrupted tongues began it's life as a little multi-media zine to research and explore the interruptions of my creative journey and the impact that had on my life as a working class woman of colour. Written and created intuitively I wanted to unravel my past, including ancestral past, to understand my present, in the context of bigger social issues. It is a manifesto of healing, unbelonging as power and to never give up on creative dreams."
"I have used Punjabi punctuations in the text, the dandi | and dodandi || – these are equivalent to a full stop and a pause in the reading of a text, used as a pause for reflection when in holy texts. This is one of the ways in which I hope to decolonise the text."
And of course, our 2021 Aryamati Prize winner! (May 20th 2022)
Sundra Lawrence was born and resides in north London. She is of Sri Lankan Tamil heritage. Her work often interweaves themes of migration, and conflict and does so with empathy and a deftness of touch. She has performed her work across the UK and internationally. Her poetry and short stories have featured on national television, radio, podcasts, and art exhibitions. They are published in anthologies including the Los Angeles Review. Sundra is the founder and director of Write Lines. She teaches creative writing, and is a creative consultant for the London Literature Lounge. She is a Malika’s Poetry Kitchen Alumni.
'Flame' was detailed and moving. These poems exploring civil war in Sri Lanka are incredibly brave and necessary, shining a spotlight on the resilience of the locals - as well as the lingering, multigenerational effects that the brutality of war leaves on people long after they have left their home. We can't wait to publish this pamphlet next year, which spans across 30 years of family history.
The Poetry Collection Duo:
Matt Broomfield on 'brave little sternums': (July 8th)
All the poems in 'brave little sternums' were written during the three years I spent living and working in the autonomous, Kurdish-led region of Syria known as Rojava, in solidarity with the women-led, direct-democratic revolution there.
As Kurdish-led forces spearheaded the campaign to defeat ISIS, images of ‘Kurdish women fighting ISIS’ were broadcast around the world. You may also remember Turkey's two brutal invasions of the region, including the October 2019 assault greenlit by Donald Trump. Turkish warplanes and tanks backed radical militias to take over swathes of Rojava, looting, raping, pillaging and murdering as they conducted forcible ethnic cleansing against the Kurds and their allies. But beyond the frontlines, several million people continue to live in a system of direct, grassroots democracy, with guaranteed female participation and women’s leadership at all levels of political and civil life. Rojava is far from perfect, but the three years I spent living and working in Rojava were an education in both utopic thinking and practical action. The revolution is very much alive.
I wrote these poems as a way of processing our role on the frontlines of geopolitical catastrophe; dealing with the daily violence and danger we faced on the ground; and scrutinizing my own role as an 'internationalist' working alongside Kurds, Arabs and other local comrades. From my personal queer identity to the future of a whole region, these questions are not easy to answer. They shouldn't be. So much primary-coloured propaganda and grey criticism has been written about Rojava, totally missing the real energy of the place. The revolution is living, ugly, beautiful, writhing, self-contradictory, hopelessly compromised, and utterly worth fighting for, and that's what 'brave little sternums' is about.
Julian Bishop and 'We Saw It All Happen'
A 2020 runner up in our Aryamati Poetry Prize, we are delighted to be publishing Julian Bishop's ecopoetry collection in 2023!
Julian Bishop is a former television journalist living in North London who is a member of several London stanza groups. He’s had a lifelong interest in ecology and worked for a time as Environment Reporter for BBC Wales.
A former runner-up in the Ginkgo Prize for Eco Poetry, he’s also been shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize and was longlisted in this year’s National Poetry Competition. He won the 2021 Poets And Players Competition judged by Sean Hewitt with his poem Sitting For Caravaggio.
He’s also had poems in The Morning Star, XR’s Rebel Talk, Riptide Journal, Finished Creatures magazine and the first few issues of The Alchemy Spoon. He is one of four poets featured in a 2020 pamphlet called Poems For The Planet.
He’s an active member of several London stanza groups and also runs a regular free online workshop for Enfield Poets to encourage and inspire local writers who might not have the confidence or resources to sign up for more formal courses. He spends most of his spare time walking, running or with family.
Contact: twitter @julianbpoet
If you would be interested in reviewing any of these titles, or interviewing our poets, get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org