The Poetry Kit MAGAZINE


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This is the first in what will be an occasion newsletter containing information about new and classic books.  Along with reviews we will publish news of book launches and other related information.  If you would like to contribute a review,  a new or classic poetry book that is still available, please let me know at  You can also provide any other information that you feel is appropriate and we will consider it.

In this issue of PK POETRY REVIEW


Breakfast at Kilumney by Maureen Weldon. Reviewed by Thomas Land

The Luton Ghoul Blooms by David Mac.  Reviewed by Jim Bennett

Hannah Frank Books introduced by Judith Coyle and Fiona Frank.

Powerless by Will Daunt  review by Jim Bennett

Allotments in the Orbital by Mandy Pannett Review by Jim Bennett

Poetry Kit Book of the Month - First Sixty ed by Patricia Oxley

Book Notes


Images from Amazon will show when viewed online




Breakfast at Kilumney by Maureen Weldon. Reviewed by Thomas Land

Just occasionally, the Small Press turns up a gem, a gift to us all. Martin Holroyd’s Poetry Monthly Press has now done that.

Because Time is Such a Short Wink”, the last piece in Maureen Weldon’s new collection, is about as close to perfection as an early version of a poem is likely to get. This is no exaggeration.

Every image in the poem is original and powerful. Every word sits where it must, as though it had been invented to grace this very poem.

I have watched Weldon’s progression from an exuberant, gifted novice to a disciplined writer at times quite ruthless in trimming lines down to the essential. But she is still, although very rarely, tripped up by the odd cliché, like “she is a delight” in another poem. But even then she closes the weakened piece with “to pass the day into stars”, that soars.

(A cliché is an attractive expression so worn by over-use that it loses its meaning. It is useful because it identifies hidden meaning lurking beyond the words, waiting to be expressed in a new way. When I spot a cliché in my own copy -- we all do -- I ask myself to say the same in different words. This can be difficult. In my experience, it is always rewarding.)

Weldon -- child Maureen, life-loving Maureen, powerful Maureen -- shines through the text: “To be alive is sufficient”, “I want to juggle the stars”, “The root is very strong” and “Hope:/like a new moon, or a new lover’s kiss”.

Over the years, Weldon has been introducing something new to European literature: publicly expressed approval of the joyful freedom of old women and old people seeking fulfilment within themselves and each other.

“Stars are the footlights”, observes a retired ballerina in the new collection as she sits in shawls and buttoned-up boots, and “sun floods my stage”.

And, in a poem about the always untimely decay of human beauty -- hers, yours and mine -- she resolves to light romantic candles, “One for him, one for me” and with “breasts high as Olympian peaks” and “Lips cunning like Aphrodite” to celebrate life until dawn.

May these lines take root in the culture.

Breakfast at Kilumney by Maureen Weldon. Poetry Monthly Press, 39 Cavendish Road, Long Eaton, Nottingham, NG10 4HY, ISBN 978-1-906357-31-3, Paperback, 47pp., £5.






THE LUTON GHOUL BLOOMS by David Mac is available for £2.50 from the author at 

THE LUTON GHOUL BLOOMS by David Mac. Review by Jim Bennett
David Mac is described as one of the greatest forklift truck drivers of all time. It is an interesting claim to make as part of your bio in a book of poetry. He may well be a great forklift truck driver but he is also a very fine poet and maybe he should spend some time letting people know that. This is mac’s first booklet of poems and it is a self published collection with 52 pages in total.
Mac has a sharp wit and a good eye for the everyday details that bring a subject alive for his readers. His poetry is at times unsettling, like the poem DADDY’S GIRL which takes the reader into ideas that are uncomfortable and unfamiliar.  At the same time he has a unique voice, although in subject and delivery occasionally reminiscent of Bukowski, in those poems when he allows himself to explore an idea and gives it full reign it is much freeer and more individual. In WHY DO YOU WANT THIS JOB? he writes in the dialogue of a job interview.,;
You reckon you’ll stick it?
Of course. I want to work here forever.
You won’t go mad?
You won’t kill everyone?
Not a chance
There is a dark edge to a lot of the writing which works well for him and helps illustrate his ideas and the poems are stylish and memorable.
 It is always my hope to find genuine new voices in poets that write about familiar subjects in a way that show insight, imagination and understanding. Reading many of the poems in The Luton Ghoul Booms, I got the impression that I might have found one.
THE LUTON GHOUL BLOOMS by David Mac is available for £2.50 from the author at






Glasgow artist Hannah Frank (1908-2008) is best known for her black and white drawings and sensuous sculpture. However, the book ‘Hannah Frank: Footsteps on the Sands of Time – a 100th Birthday Gallimaufry’, published to celebrate her 100th birthday in August 2008, reveals she was a poet before she was an artist.


Along with previously unpublished drawings and sketches the book includes articles about Hannah Frank's life and 75 year career, with particular reference to her love of poetry, revealed through Hannah’s diary entries. At the age of 17 Hannah composed a poem beginning: ‘They laughed, and misty, faded into the Elfland’.  This unpublished poem, found in her diary for 1925, forms the opening section of the biographical DVD ‘Hannah Frank, The Spark Divine’, made by award winning film maker Sarah Thomas.


From 1927, while an undergraduate at Glasgow University, her poems were published in the Glasgow University Magazine (GUM). The first, ‘Slow They Glide’, under her pseudonym ‘Al Aaraaf’, was soon followed by ‘Where Hast Tarried’.


From 1928 her work as an artist became prolific. Many drawings were inspired by poetry. ‘Footsteps’ reproduces some of her  illustrations for the ‘Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam’, for Coleridge’s ‘Christabel, and for ‘Isabella, or The Pot of Basil’ by Keats.


‘Hannah Frank, A Glasgow Artist, Drawings and Sculpture,’ (2004) is revised and expanded version of a first edition from the 1980s. This beautifully-produced book, edited by the artist’s niece, contains over 200 illustrations including sketches from the artist's diaries, early self-portraits and a catalogue of her black and white drawings and bronze sculptures.


Hannah Frank died in December 2008 at the age of 100.


·         Hannah Frank: Footsteps on the Sands of Time. A 100th Birthday Gallimaufry. Fiona Frank, Judith Coyle (eds). Scottish Jewish Archives Centre in association with Kennedy and Boyd. 2008. £15.95 Schools edition includes additional 20 page Teachers' Pack by Ann Marie Foster MA. £17.95


·         Hannah Frank A Glasgow Artist: Drawings and Sculpture, Fiona Frank (ed.) Scottish Jewish Archives Centre, 2004. £21.50


·         Hannah Frank, The Spark Divine.  DVD (25 minutes).  Sarah Thomas. £20.00




·         All available from




Sunday 27th [December 1925]


Wrote the following:


They laughed, and misty, faded into the Elfland,

And a Fairy’s song came floating to that vale beneath –

A Fairy’s song that weeping, laughed, and laughing wept.

They were gone.  And I sighed in the valley –

In the lone dark valley of shadows,

For the Fairy Folk at play.

Yearning I thought of the Elfland,

And the Fairy roundelay.


The air was filled with a nebulous waving,

And voices – as of the falling leaves

Or slow, gliding water.

I dreamt

Of forms that came from the violet shadows –

Cloudy, silvery gleaming;

Of pale, cold faces, pale with the moon’s ray;

The fleeting touch of cold, cold hands;

Of happenings passing strange.

I awoke.  I was come from the Elfland

From a land of voices and shadows.

Sighing, uprising, I went from the valley.




Powerless by Will Daunt  review by Jim Bennett


Will Daunt comes from Ormskirk in Lancashire, a market town squeezed between Greater Manchester and Merseyside his poetry however is from far and wide, as well as Ormskirk, there are poems about Devon, Cornwall, the North of Scotland and Nottingham.  This is Daunt's fifth collection of poetry and would be an interesting addition to any poetry library.  A number of the poems here have won or been placed in major competitions and the collection as a whole won the Indigo Dreams Competition 2009.   Well worth reading for the title poem alone. This describes a loss of electrical power to a house;  


Now put on cold that standard evening in

and think ahead to how it used to be

when upbringing was black and white and dull.


Daunt's poetry style is immediate and evocative.  His poetic narratives all draw full and complete pictures which will resonate for many readers.

Powerless by Will Daunt available from Amazon UK.



Allotments in the Orbital by Mandy Pannett  from Searle Publishing

Allotments in the Orbital by Mandy Pannett Review by Jim Bennett

This new collection by Mandy Pannett from Searle publishing shows what many already knew, Mandy is a fine poet and her poetry at times is outrageously good.  In this new collection there is a gem of insight and understanding on every page.  Take these lines from The Tenderness of Concrete;

Concrete is misunderstood, she read

not solid or only in shape --

it's really a liquid that flows

and continues, even

after it's set


That's me, she thinks


Mandy engages with her environment and  looks at the world around her and other people in a way that leaves the reader feeling that they are seeing it in a new way.  Here in Levels and Levels she explores a landscape;


The fountain is green like the margins of shadows,

stone looks malleable, soft as a fish, curving

upwards and round...

Her strength is in the development of images and the use of interesting and in some case exciting metaphor.  Here though there is also manipulation and use of form which pushes the boundaries of the form.  In Off at a Tangent for example she uses three sonnets as tools to allow a tense dramatic description of place and narrative.

Allotments in the Orbital by Mandy Pannett is available from Searle Publishing





We are pleased to select FIRST SIXTY as our recommended book of the month.  The magazine Acumen has been a regular feature on the poetry scene for 25 years in a field that sees magazines come and go.  Acumen has maintained a standard of content and production many would hope for but few achieve.



If Patricia Oxley, the editor of FIRST SIXTY:  THE ACUMEN ANTHOLOGY, believed in biographical notes, the reader would have realised they were reading poems by poets laureate, Forward and T.S.Eliot prize-winners, recipients of the Queen’s gold medal for poetry, poetry fellows and  academics as well as equally good poems by writers who support the independent presses and journals and whose work has come in via the post.  Acumen is a magazine open to all.  There is even a poem, written under a pseudonym, by the murdered queen of Nepal. 


But the poems, as in each issue of the magazine, are made to speak for themselves.  FIRST SIXTY is an anthology of readable and meaningful poems by 195 poets which will cause a reader to laugh, cry, think, agree, disagree but, above all, enjoy. Organised chronologically, the anthology reads not only like a poetic social comment, but as a history of changing poetic forms and concerns.  An anthology no serious poetry lover should be without.


‘Congratulations to Acumen on its 25th anniversary.  Long may you continue to publish good poems and interesting articles.’ - Wendy Cope.


‘A beacon of invention in the west, Acumen’s guiding light is valued throughout the wider world of letters.’ - Peter Porter.


ISBN:  978-1-873161-23-4        332pp.        £9.99
We would be pleased to receive a copy of any review or mention.


The launch is at Bonhams Auctioneers, 101 New Bond Street, London W1S 1SR 
Tuesday, April 13th 2010, 6.30 - 8.00pm. 


For all enquiries, including invitation to launch contact





The next PK Poetry Book Review will be sent out at the end of May, and will contain reviews of


Fire in the Soul, 100 poems for human rights - ed Dinyar Godrej

Islands in the Blood by Geoff Stevens

Welcome to the Golden Life by Fernando Smith


We are always interested in reading third party reviews of any contemporary poetry books, or other books about poetry which might be of interest.  Reviews of older books which have an interest for the reviewer will also be considered.

Reviews from previous editions of this newsletter are available in the Poetry Kit Magazine at