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Powers of the Air – A poem from Geoff Sawers

Powers of the Air

spirits of blood and vapour
clay wings
paper hearts
clockwork nightingales in drenched thorn scrub
belting silver showers of granite and grain

pike-toothed paths
comet-ice-hair and
so you step up but your body trails behind you
hooked to the shadow of a second to come

where there’s a flame
in your fingers
‘Hush’ on the jukebox
and all the poems you’ll never write because you won’t
drift curling like tender sparks into the night

I feel it
if only sometimes
furred on the inside
you don’t stop to listen that’s a fault but you
face forward to mirror the future your eyes are fins

from Sulhamstead at dusk
to Sheffield Lock
herons stiffen their spines
and all the books that you won’t start although you’ll live them
lie open in the grass for the stars to write

Geoff Sawers

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Claire Dyer’s poem ‘Raw Material’ is the winner of the 2022 SWWJ poetry prize

We are delighted to learn that Claire Dyer’s poem ‘Raw Material’ was the winner of the 2022 SWWJ poetry prize, announced on the 5th December at the society’s Christmas lunch event, where Claire was awarded the Elizabeth Longford Rose Bowl. A brilliant achievement!

The competition judge described ‘Raw Material’ as ‘A vivid expansive and aching poem with an unusual and striking command of language.’

We are the proud publisher of three of Claire Dyer’s poetry collections.

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New Poetry from Two Rivers Press, 2022 and 2023

Over the last decade Two Rivers Press has built a reputation for its high-quality poetry list of beautifully designed books with attractively various jackets. To celebrate this founding artistic aspect of our ethos, we have published an Illustrated Classics series of reissues: Tideway by Jane Draycott, Christina the Astonishing by Jane Draycott and Lesley Saunders, with artwork by our founder Peter Hay, and Peter Robinson’s English Nettles and Other Poems, illustrated by Sally Castle.

We are always delighted to publish first collections such as Katherine Meehan’s Dame Julie Andrews’s Botched Vocal Cord Surgery and Other Poems which explores loss in a range of oblique and wry modes. A number of poets are publishing their first Two Rivers Press book, such as Robin Thomas with his The Weather on the Moon, Alistair Noon, whose Paradise Takeaway is a travel poem about revisiting his family home in the UK, and Ruth O’Callaghan, whose Where Shadow Falls also has a distinctive leavening of wit and humour.

In James Peake’s second book, The Star in the Branches, and Kate Behrens’ fourth, Transitional Spaces, we find each extending the range of their warmly received previous collections. Other returning writers include This Thing of Blood & Love by Lesley Saunders, her fifth with us, Kate Noakes with her London-based poems and others in Goldhawk Road, Steven Matthews with his third collection, Some Other Where, his most wide ranging and searching to date, alongside Rosie Jackson’s passionate Love Leans over the Table. We’re also delighted to welcome the distinguished poet Tim Dooley to our list, publishing his latest collection Discoveries. Since releasing James Harpur’s The Examined Life in 2021, we have become his publisher and copies of his back catalogue (The White Silhouette, Oracle Bones, A Vision of Comets, Angels and Harvesters, and The Dark Age) are available to order through our website.

Continuing our support for translation, we feature Tim Dooley’s wonderful rendering of Philippe Jaccottet’s In Winter Light as well as a selection from the great Japanese poet Noriko Ibaragi, Your Own Sensitivity, which we hope to publish as translated by Andrew Houwen and Peter Robinson. And finally, to celebrate our poetry editor’s seventieth birthday in 2023, we publish Peter’s new collection, Retrieved Attachments. It is an enormous pleasure to be bringing out these beautiful and differently uplifting books, and we’re confident you’ll enjoy them as much as we do.

February: James Peake, The Star in the Branches & Lesley Saunders, This Thing of Blood & Love
April: Tim Dooley, Discoveries & Kate Behrens, Transitional Spaces
June: Jane Draycott and Lesley Saunders, Christina the Astonishing, Jane Draycott, Tideway & Peter Robinson, English Nettles and Other Poems
October: Robin Thomas, The Weather on the Moon & Philippe Jaccottet, In Winter Light trans. Tim Dooley

February: Kate Noakes, Goldhawk Road & Peter Robinson, Retrieved Attachments
April: Steven Matthews, Some Other Where & Rosie Jackson, Love Leans over the Table
September: Alistair Noon, Paradise Takeaway & Ruth O’Callaghan, Where Shadow Falls
October: Katherine Meehan, Dame Julie Andrews’s Botched Vocal Cord Surgery and Other Poems & Noriko Ibaragi, Your Own Sensitivity: Selected Poems trans. Andrew Houwen and Peter Robinson


Further information about our poetry titles can be found on our poetry bookshop page here

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Two Poems by Kitty Hawkins

On Inadequate Road Resurfacing in Berkshire


The cherry blossom
is teetering, Addington’s
edges extending.


Pavements: tentative
enduring, cautious trellis
molasses tarmac.


Arthritic layers
lamenting, gnarled and buried
putrid ambience.


A mountainous crown
compressing, cloaks of divots
rhythmically splinter.


Happiest Woman in the World

It is unbearable to think about the snow
or unopened books.

It is unbearable to think alone
grit enclosing, I urge my eyes to run.

It is unbearable to think at all
muffled between desk and door.

People gather in Palmer Park.
I slump at the window, and repeat –


Kitty Hawkins received two awards for her undergraduate poetry collection, Acoustics, at the University of Reading. In 2022 she won the ‘Magdalena Young Poets’ award, and her work can be found on Kitty is currently completing an MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London.