Launched into Orbis

I feel like I need an oversight committee (yes, I know that’s not what they do) to keep track of all the things I keep forgetting to mention here, but I hope to fix one of these omissions now by saying congratulations to the good people at Orbis for making it to 200 issues.

To make it that far in these times is very much quite the achievement and a powerful testament to the tenacity and dedication of Carole and her reviewers.

I’ve been lucky enough to have had work published in there on two occasions to the tune of 3 poems, and have found my work surrounded by a wealth of wonderful work on each occasion. One of the benefits of being a subscriber is that you get to see the feedback that comes in the issue that follows…It’s always lovely to see that folks have taken the time to write in and say nice things about your work. And yes, Carole, I owe you feedback on issue 200 and a re-subscription.

Issue 200 features a range of poets, including work from Gillian Clarke, Simon Armitage, Glyn Maxwell, and I was pleased to see the featured poet was Norwich’s own Hilary Mellon.

However, I’m going to offer up two poems by other folks from the latest issue.

Towards the end of the mag there’s a section of poems about poetry and, while this normally sets my teeth on edge, there was much to enjoy. I could have chosen any of them, but I’ve gone with this.

The Process Of Poetry / The Poetry Of Process

Ewan Smith, (Colwyn Bay, Wales). Orbis #200, p77

  1. Tear a page from a friend’s cherished poetry book while visiting them.
  2. Circle letters on the page which form the word betrayal.
  3. Lay the page on soil, place carrot seeds on the letters. Cover lightly with earth.
  4. Keep moistened.
  5. Harvest the carrots once grown.
  6. Invite the friend to tea.
  7. Whilst sharing the carrot cake, ask them about their dreams, secretly recording
    the conversation.
  8. Print suitable fragments of the answers onto a single piece of paper.
  9. Cut to an appropriate size. Replace the missing page when the opportunity arises.
  10. Document the process. Submit to a prestigious poetry magazine.

I enjoyed the irreverence of it

The second poem is in because of something a bit more tenuous.
I’ve chosen this one because I went to see the singer/songwriter Laura Veirs this week. The gig was at the glorious Union Chapel in Islington. The gig was meant to happen last November, but the Covids got in the way and prevented Laura from travelling over from the US. I adore her work for the attention and effort she puts into her lyrics and that she writes a lovely tune to go with them.

You mentioned a connection, Mat… Well, her new album is out next week, but she had copies on sale at the end of the gigs, so I bought one—and then remembered I’d already pre-ordered it via Bandcamp…doh, but I now have a signed copy, so alls well, etc. Anyhoo, the point is that one of the songs on the new album is called Komorebi.

As we all know, Komorebi is the Japanese word for the space between the canopy and branches allows sunlight to gently filter through. Well, my wife and I are just back from a brief walk through the woods, and wouldn’t you know it, as I was flicking back through the latest issue of Orbis just now…


Nessa O’Mahony, Obis #200, P25

The sun on the rise,
pushing through layers
of October cumulus
to glance off firs,
illuminate a leaf’s

You pause,
trying to absorb,
to catalogue
the just rightness
of finding the word.


distracted by
the inner throb
of the sac
which keeps
it all going.

the words are there.
just the opening
and closing
of throats.

In many ways this could be another poem about poetry, about writing and inspiration…or it could just be celebrating a beautiful thing, or something else entirely different. I don’t much care either way as all are good.

That said, “the just rightness / of finding the word” being followed by the word “Fail” about sums it up for me.

That said, I have actually managed a draft of something this week. It’s more an extended throwing down of stuff as prose at this stage…I have yet to find a form or even find out if it is worth going on with, but after a few weeks of editing old stuff for the book (and that’s still ongoing), I’m happy to have something new on the go.

Laura Veirs, Lake Swimming. Komorebi isn’t out yet, and I’ve not long walked past a load of people lake swimming (this stuff isn’t that well thought out…)


0K running. A busy week, a nasty bout of knee knack and all my running buddies being knobbled by Covid have put the moccers on things. My brother is making up for it by doing an Iron Man comp today. Go, Ben, Go!!
2 trips to central London for work
0 massive hangovers
1 week of taking a hard look at myself
6 nights in the spare room while R recovers
0ish (at least) journeys to dance lessons and back for Flo
2 rejections: Poetry Oxford (after 30 weeks!!!), and Poetry Review
0 new poem finished:
1 poems worked on: New thing…something to do with spiders
0 poems published:
3 submissions: Northern Gravy, Bath Magg and Poetry Birmingham. Decided to send out some stuff not likely to be in the pamphlet. I expect it all back soon.
0 acceptance: …
14 poems are currently out for submission.
5 poems left to submit beyond makeweights
75 Published poems
37 Poems* finished by unpublished
25 poems* in various states of undress
554 Rejected poems* Eg I’ve decided they are not good enough
0 reviews finished:
3 reviews to write: How the fuck did that happen…I keep finishing them and then they keep coming. I agreed to another this week. Dammit.
3 days without cigarettes…I was doing so well. Mid week got to me, but back to it.
30 Days since drinking
0 sleepless nights:
1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

* To date, not this week. Christ!!

Collective Sigh


A Frogmore from last year


Heron: ST
Laura Veirs: Warp And Weft
Aldous Harding: Warm Chris
Magnetic Ghost Orchestra: ST
Northern Drift (Radio3): Claire Askew & Carmel Smickersgill
Unclassified (Radio3)
The Bathers: Summer Lightning
Max Porter: A Life In Miniature (Radio 4)
Penguin Cafe: A Matter of Life
Joan Shelley: The Spur
Carmel Smickersgill: We get What We Get And We Don’t Get Upset
Laura Veirs: My Echo, Saltbreakers, Year of Meteors
Alison Cotton: The portrait you painted of me
Gwenno: Tresor
The Rain Parade: Emergency Rail Third Power Trip/Explosion In The Glass Palace
Laura Veirs; Found Light, The Lookout, July Flame
Joni: Orchid Room
The National: Sonic Juicy Magic
Built to Spill: There Is Nothing Wrong With Love

Love Island

Yarmouth Oilskin Socks
Rob Selby: The Kentish Rebellion
Jewellery from Claire Askew

New earphones
Yarmouth Oilskin Socks
Rob Selby: The Kentish Rebellion
Jewellery from Claire Askew
A new shirt

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s