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Jane Lovell

Poetry

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 Poems

samoan.jpg

Portraits, Samoa 1853

 

I use pens whittled from pointed bones,

quills and picks of tortoiseshell,

to draw their innocence:

 

angels appearing in a white sky,

black angels ground from bullets,

smoke of charred wood and candlenut,

 

their features, sepia drawn from ink sacs

of cuttlefish, the thin brown

of old blood scratched on cotton.

 

They come, warm skin strung with beads

and feathers, meandering tidelines of salt,

kneel in the sand, teach me the old tales:

 

that birds carry a piece of the land you miss

as a song, notes held in their mouths

on their sharp-leaf tongues.

 

I listen to their stories,

surround them with charcoal waves,

channels swimming with turtles,

coral blown through tiny bones.

 

They know I must leave soon.

We have gathered nutmeg, papaya, guava

seedlings rooted in packets of sand.

 

I scribe their names, put away my books.

 

High above the beach, great nets blow

with the day's catch: lupe, knots of finch,

the last few still fluttering.

IMG_4985.jpg

Photograph by JL

Vixen

 

and there

through this Japanese ghost garden

this monochrome dreamscape

slips a half-dreamt wraith

 

born from the last shades of dusk

she is tip tip toeing on footfall so soft

it uncurls snails

dizzies galaxies in dew

 

her vagabond heart

beats with the tremors of the earth

balances on owl call

and the breeze rushing the trees

 

behind her swim timorous worlds

we can never enter

 

so slight and swift she moves

that without the moon billowing through

the cherry and all the fallen blossom

luminous as snow

I would not see her

Photograph by Seth Parker

Fugitive in the Date Palm

It is hard to ignore the red-billed toucan.

Solomon says his bill is chipped like an old teacup

but we see the translucence of the deglet noor,

its caramelised sunlight.  

 

After the stripping of thorn and billowing

of pollen across the plantation,

he blew in on a salt wind through the canyons,

beak bright as paintpots,

 

took shelter in the branches,

peeped at us with his blue eye from the canopy

while donkeys grazed determinedly below

oblivious to his dipping and tilting.

 

Solomon says he’s an escapee from a sultan’s

menagerie; we feed him pomegranate, mango,

leaving them in quiet acts of worship

at the foot of his favourite palm.

 

We know he is lonely, thousands of miles

of desert and ocean from home.

We call to him while we hang on ladders

wrapping the khlal in muslin.

 

Evenings, he hops about chuntering

at shadows, then curls into a feathered ball

secured by his great beak,

to sleep.

 

We think he dreams deep jungle:

Costa Rican mists, the whirring of moths

and pop of frogs, another red-billed toucan

hidden, waiting, in the forest gloom.

 

Solomon says one day, maybe he’ll set off

like a beacon, winging over Egypt, Libya,

Nigeria, the South Atlantic.

He prays for the fruits to ripen,

 

sweet rutab to delay his leaving,

checks on him each morning, peering

up into the leaves, his crippled toes sinking

in the warm sand.

Biog

Jane Lovell is the Poetry Society Stanza Rep for Kent and writer-in-residence at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. 

Her work has been published in Agenda, Elementum, Earthlines, Poetry Wales, Magma, Mslexia, Reliquiae, The High Window, the American Journal of Poetry, Terrain.org, Atrium, Interpreter's House, the North, the Honest Ulsterman, Dark Mountain, The Lonely Crowd, Bare Fiction Magazine, Antiphon, The Hopper, The Fenland Reed, Coast to Coast to Coast, Ink Sweat & Tears, Riggwelter and Zoomorphic Magazine.

Jane's poetry has also featured in various anthologies including Templar's ‘Mill’, 'In the Cinnamon Corners' from Cinnamon Press, Liquorice Fish Books 'What Lies Within',  Zoomophic's 'Driftfish', 'Diversifly' from Fair Acre Press, "One for the Road' from Smith Doorstop, "The Creel" from Guillemot Press, "Humanagerie" from Eibonvale Press, "For the Silent" anthology (IDP), 'Pale Fire' from the Frogmore Press and the Verve Poetry Press anthology '84'.

 

Work is forthcoming in Stand Magazine, "Women in Nature" Writing anthology - ed. Katharine Norbury, and Words for the Wild.

 

Three pamphlets were published in 2018:  'Metastatic' from Against the Grain Press;  'Forbidden', a hand-stitched limited edition from Coast to Coast to Coast  and  'One Tree' as part of the Night River Wood project.

Earlier this year, Seren published 'This Tilting Earth".

 

Jane was awarded the Flambard Prize in 2015 and has been shortlisted for the Basil Bunting Prize, the Robert Graves Prize, the Alpine Fellowship Prize and the Periplum Book Award.

 

In 2018, she won 1st prize in the 2018 Wigtown Poetry Competition, Coast to Coast to Coast Portfolio Competition, Terrain.org's Poetry Contest and the Wealden Literary Festival Writing Competition.

She has also won the South Downs Poetry Competition, the ATG Pamphlet Competition and has been runner up in the Poetry on the Lake's Silver Wyvern award, the BBC Proms Poetry Competition, the Bare Fiction Prize and the Wisehouse International Poetry Award.

This year, Jane has won the Shades of Fire Pamphlet Competition from Hedgehog Press and, most recently, the Mslexia Pamphlet Competition which was judged by Amy Wack of Seren Books.

Competitions

Last Leap of Sam Patch.....................................Runner up, Mslexia Poetry Competition 2011

Prayer of St. Simon...........................................Runner up, Agenda Competition 2011

Transport Ship SS Keresaspa...........................Shortlisted, Wenlock Poetry Prize 2013

Nazareth House................................................Commended,  Stanza Poetry Competition 2014

Balto..................................................................Finalist, ‘Inspired by my Museum’ Competition, May 2014

Inauguration Banquet......................................Winner, ‘The Lies We Tell Ourselves’ Liquorice Fish Books 2015

Blackbird............................................................3rd prize, Segora Poetry Competition July 2016

Helen Keller meets Charlie Chaplin on a Hollywood Film Set 1919

                                ..........................................2nd prize, "Poetry on the Lake" Open Competition 2016

Migrants...........................................................Finalist, Wisehouse International Poetry Award 2016

Metastatic.......................................................Against the Grain Press Pamphlet Competition

Milk...................................................................Shortlisted, Basil Bunting Award 2016

Perspective in a Hare's Eye...............................2nd prize, Bare Fiction Prize 2016

Meath Street Horses..........................................1st prize, South Downs Poetry Competition 2017

Hallowe'en Cat..................................................Shortlisted  PENfro Open Poetry Competition 2017

Beloved...............................................................Runner up, BBC Proms Poetry Competition 2017

Forbidden .........................................................Winner, Coast to Coast to Coast Pamphlet Competition 2018

Song of the Salt Breeze ......................................Shortlisted, Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize 2018

Orchards, Greensand Way.................................Winner, Wealden Literary Festival Writing Competition, 2018

This Tilting Earth..............................................Shortlisted for the Periplum Poetry Book Award, 2018

Starlings.............................................................Winner, Main Prize, Wigtown Poetry Competition 2018

Three poems........................................................Winner, Poetry Prize, Terrain.org Poetry Competition 2018

Five poems........................................................Winner, Shades of Fire Pamphlet Competition, Hedgehog Press, 2019

This Tilting Earth............................................Winner, Mslexia Pamphlet Competition, 2019

 

Awards

Flambard Poetry Prize 2015

 
 

Comments

The writing fizzes with acute visual detail, offering a dizzying sense of perspective. It is a poem attuned to minute observations.

Helen Mort on 'Perspective in a Hare's Eye'

Consider the acute observation and the ingenious choice of verbs ... the expansive imaginative power of these lines.
 

Roger Elkin on 'Blackbird'

The energy in this poem is tangible... this poet keeps the language and form as unfettered as possible – it’s buzzing and alive, a celebration of freedom.

Jackie Wills on 'Meath Street Horses'

 

Publications & Events

Publications 

one tree                        Night River Wood         (June 2018)

Metastatic                  Against the Grain Press (Oct 2018)

Forbidden                    Coast to Coast to Coast (Feb 2019)

This Tilting Earth      Seren (March 2019)

Shades of Fire             Hedgehog Press  (Spring 2019)

 

 

 

 

Recent & Future Readings

South Downs Poetry Festival  (Lewes)             June 24th 2017

Coffee-House Poetry at the Troubadour           June 26th 2017

Agenda poets at SDPF  (Petersfield)                  July 15th 2017

Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year                October 2nd 2017

Agenda Poetry Festival, Mayfield                     October 6th 2017

SaveAs Writers, Jolly Sailor, Canterbury        October 8th 2017

Against the Grain Press launch                         November 4th 2017

The Lonely Crowd launch, Cardiff                    November 15th 2017

'In the Curator's Hands' launch, T.Wells          November 29th 2017

Full English Festival, Canterbury                       May 19th 2018

Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival                         June 16th 2018

Wigtown Book Festival                                       September 30th 2018

Poetry Cafe, London                                            October 19th 2018  (Metastatic launch)                        Humanagerie launch, London                             November 24th, 2018

Agenda launch of 1918, Ditchling Museum      December 1st, 2018

Loose Muse, Winchester                                      December 10th 2018

 

Seren Cornerstone Poetry Festival                     February 10th, 2019

Coast to Coast to Coast, Liverpool                   February 23rd, 2019   (Forbidden portfolio launch)

Launch of 84, Verve Press, London                     April 3rd, 2019

Launch of Dark Mountain 15, Stroud               May 24th, 2019

Poetry Cafe, London                                            tbc  (Shades of Fire launch)

              

 

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