By coincidence, after we setup a page for occasional poetry, one of our past contributors* won a national award for an occasional poem. Link: Read “Birthday” by Brian Kirk, and two other shortlisted poems.
* Brian Kirk’s short story That New Girl was our story of the month for November 2018.
Brenda stood at the top of the stairs. ‘He’s missed us then,’ Colin said. ‘He’ll be back.’ Her role, as always, was to deal with reality, to face up to truth. One of them had too. ‘There’s nothing for us then, love. What did I tell you?’ Brenda gripped the banister and sighed.
Richard Lakin studied chemistry and has worked as a labourer, a journalist, and a policeman on the London Underground. He has published short stories in journals including Londonist, Structo and The Oxonian Review. He has won the Guardian family travel writing prize and Daily Telegraph’s Just Back, travel piece of the year. He lives in Staffordshire and blogs at www.richlakin.wordpress.com
The idea is that amid the short stories and literary goings-on there will be occasional poems, which will also be “Occasional Poems.” Poets Laureate have to write them for state events but occasions are not only royal births, weddings and deaths. One recent example was the centenary of the 1918 armistice, no? Yours might be very personal and it need not be topical, it could be from the past or an imagined future, perhaps.
Please send submissions together with a biographical note for publication, to email@example.com. You retain all rights, and each poem will be marked as copyright your name and the year.
Published 21/11/2018. Updated passim 21/11/2018, 27/11/2018, 11/12/2018, 23/12/2018.
“…an invisible force pins me to the surface of the road. I feel broken inside, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle in a sealed plastic bag, then warm, liquid numbness floods me. I see sky, then the inside of my eyelids.”
Everybody Smokes in Heaven (Barbara Robinson)
Superb writing from another of our past contributors, Barbara Robinson, whose evocative and affecting story “Supersum” was in our New Short Stories 9.
“Alex has a problem. Categorized as one of the disabled, dole-scrounging underclass, she is finding it hard to make ends meet. Now, in her part time placement at the local newspaper, she’s stumbled onto a troubling link between the disappearance of several homeless people, the new government Care and Protect Bill and the sinister extension of the Grassybanks residential home for the disabled, elderly and vulnerable. Can she afford the potential risk to herself and her wonderful guide dog Chris of further investigation?”
‘Laugh and weep! With wit, flair and imagination, Tanvir Bush unfolds the secret life of a nation on benefits. Our nation….’ Fay Weldon
Tanvir Bush’s short story “Rictus” about the meeting of modern medicine and faith healing in a rural clinic in Africa, featured in our own New Short Stories 10.
Unless you’re rich in both time and money, it’s unlikely you subscribe to all the journals featuring short stories and read all the collections in any given year, so this is a good way to get a “best of” selection and keep in touch. The 2013 edition contained a story that originated in our own New Short Stories anthology that year (“Curtains” by Charles Lambert.) Here’s a direct link to Best British Short Stories 2018.