In rich and striking language, this intense debut explores archetypes of femininity and masculinity, from Barbie and Ken to Punch and Judy. Janet Lees does not shy away from rage, love, regret, or from naming injustice. David Clarke
You can read some of Janet’s poetry, and details of her award-winning book here
Our theme for submissions in June relates to the heavens — the sky we can see every day, and solstices which are turning points on how long we see a bright sky, and how long we see a dark one.
June includes the summer solstice/longest day in the Northern Hemisphere, and the winter solstice/shortest day in the Southern Hemisphere. Honouring the summer solstice is an ancient tradition, demonstrated by monumments like Stonehenge in England, where vestiges of the practice still happen.
Traditionally, the June sky at night is associated with a beautiful, romantic view of the moon. Is that because of the moon/June rhyme, or something more complex and fundamental? Nowadays poets are more likely to indulge in blue-sky thinking (“creative or visionary and unconstrained by practicalities” — Oxford Dictionaries).
Perhaps you’ll be inspired by (but avoid quoting) clichés like sky-high, the sky’s the limit, or a sky threatening rain.
A good example of how widely a theme involving sky can take a creative poet is Janet Lees’ book A bag of sky. Its first poem is an excellent trailer of the book’s poetry.
We two girls together singing
‘A Young Lady’s Adventure’, by Paul Klee after David Hockney and Walt Whitman
I am drawn in
to your adventure;
its signature scent
of line-dried hope-white linen
cut with black coffee and frosted city air,
velvet growl of French cigarettes
rising up from pumping bass notes
of undiluted girlblood;
the skin-tight harmony of our raw code
tripping off our tongues of gold lamé.
Two maids unmade,
holding a bag of sky behind our backs,
laughing, stealing, slashing, burning,
catwalking the canyons of every next yearning,
our stormforce heartbeat scrawled across the night. . .
Submissions on Sky & Solstice
We’re looking for poems that grab our attention, pull our heart strings, leave us open-mouthed or holding our breath, make us think, make us laugh or cry, or are strikingly original. In short, poems that make us want to share them with wildfire words readers.
Submission is free. Poems can be in any format. You may submit one file containing up to 3 poems, each no longer than 40 lines including stanza breaks. Submitted poems must be totally your own original work, in English, and unpublished in print or online. Publication on your own website or self-published book is acceptable.
Do, please, supply a mini-biog of 50 words max to be published alongside your poem, and if you like publicity add your Twitter or Facebook handle or personal website. If you can, please also submit an audio recording, made on your phone, laptop, or tablet. If we choose to publish your poem, we will also publish your bio and audio. Submissions will be accepted up to 11.59pm on 30 June.