Denise Bundred’s Poetry Year

Denise Bundred 2019This year I came second in the Hippocrates Prize in Poetry and Medicine (Health Professional). The poem Addressing a Fetal Heart speaks directly to the heart of an unborn child. I also had a poem commended. Panacea is a villanelle which started life as a nature poem and ended as something much darker. I read both poems at the awards ceremony in May and they are in the Hippocrates Prize Anthology 2019.

I had two poems accepted by Under the Radar magazine. One of them is the final poem in a pamphlet which will be published next year. Those Were the Days describes my longing for work as a cardiologist after I retired.

Magma accepted a poem for the summer edition on the subject of Work and I read it at the launch in London. Leonardo’s Pen links modern cardiology with Leonardo da Vinci who described how the aortic valve works in about 1513.

Even more exciting was the news in July that my pamphlet, Litany of a Cardiologist, had been accepted by Abegail Morley, Karen Dennison and Jessica Mookherjee for publication by Against the Grain Press. The poetry reflects my work as a paediatric cardiologist.


Anatomy Theatre came third in the Ledbury Poetry Festival Competition. It was submitted as an afterthought with a couple of other poems I thought more likely to succeed. The poem forms part of a sequence about a nineteenth century painting by Enrique Simonet entitled And She had a Heart and describes a doctor performing an autopsy.

Two of my poems (including Anatomy Theatre) appeared in The Poetry Shed in October.

My poem in the Mole Valley Poets Christmas Anthology is called Eighteen and describes a young footballer visiting a children’s ward at Christmas time.

I have been asked to read at the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine-Osler Centenary Conference at the Royal College of Physicians in December. It’s the first time I will be reading as a poet at a medical conference, instead of as a doctor.

The poems are from my pamphlet Litany of a Cardiologist and some had their first success in the Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine.

The poet I discovered this year is Romalyn Ante whose remarkable poem Group Portrait at the Stopover was published in autumn edition of The Poetry Review.



A Year in the ‘Against the Grain’ Stable – Michelle Diaz

michelle photo cropped2019 has been an amazingly full and productive year! Since receiving ‘The Dancing Boy’ pamphlets from Karen in February, there have been wonderful launches, great readings and encouraging reviews. My pamphlet sold out in November. I have a new box for the 2020 readings.

The Poetry Café launch in March was a beautiful birthing of ‘The Dancing Boy’ and it was great to meet my publishers in person. There were old friends and new friends there to support me and Claire Collison was an excellent guest reader.

My personal highlights of 2019 are appearing on Julie Mullen’s Totnes radio show, a great launch at Wells with my super Wells Fountain Poets, kicking off the Big Poetry Swindon festival with my friend Jinny Fisher, appearing at the Word Café with some stonkingly good poets (Totnes) and, perhaps most important of all, the touching feedback I have had from those who have read ‘The Dancing Boy’. I am glad it stirred hearts and brought both laughter and tears.

I have appeared regularly on GFM radio, promoting my book and the ‘Against the Grain’ team who have tirelessly supported me throughout the creation and launching of my pamphlet.


I have ventured to Bristol, Bath, London and even Yorkshire to promote my work. It has been an exciting whirlwind of wonder!

I look forward to my readings in Exeter and Bristol next year.

I am currently working on a new pamphlet and working towards a full collection.

I am so grateful to Abegail, Jess and Karen for valuing and publishing my work. It has been a great journey for the heart. Here’s to 2020 and a new voice !



Poetry Round Up 2019 – Colin Pink

Colin Portrat Ventriloquist Dummy LBG- 108 cropped

Poetry wise it’s been a good year. In May Against the Grain published The Ventriloquist Dummy’s Lament, my collection of 21 villanelles with 21 woodcuts by the artist Daniel Goodwin. The book launch at the Poetry Café was a great success and it was thrilling to hear Mimi Khalvati, as guest poet, giving us a preview of her wonderful sonnets which were later published in October in her new book Afterwardness.

In October I was honoured to be invited to read at the Torbay Poetry Festival. A great event with many fascinating performances, topped off with hearing Imtiaz Dharker give an excellent reading.

During the festival I discovered the work of the Italian poet Giovanni Pascoli, thanks to the English translations by Danielle Hope, collected in The Last Walk of Giovanni Pascoli. Coming across this poetry, which is rooted in an intense observation of particular things, inspired me to begin writing a new series of poems about Things.

As the year approaches its end there is sadness at news of the death of Ciaran Carson which is mixed with pleasure at reading him, writing at his best, in his last book Still Life, a superb collection of ekphrastic poems.

Ventriloquist Front Cover



Poetry Round-up 2019 – Claire Walker

Each writing year has its ups and downs – the bouts of success mixed with the fallow periods where nothing is written or accepted, where it maybe feels like nothing is working as hoped. It is the way of things. 2019 has been no different but, in amongst those general frustrations, there has been one particularly big highlight for me: the publication of Collision, my pamphlet with Against the Grain Press.


Submitted during the June 2018 window, I learned that my pamphlet had been successful during a holiday with my family in Lyme Regis, Dorset. This seemed a particularly fitting location to receive the news, as the poems in the Collision are sea-themed, and four specifically are about the fossil hunter and palaeontologist Mary Anning, who lived and worked in the town.

Fast-forward to 2019. Collision grew from submitted-manuscript into hold-in-your-hand-pamphlet form, and the editing process was a very warm experience. One particular email from the editors caused great excitement – being asked to choose my cover colour! I decided on one from the sea-green range, as it seemed fitting for the tone of the pamphlet.

In keeping with Against the Grain events, the pamphlet was launched at The Poetry Café in Covent Garden. This was a thrilling experience, although in the run up to the event I was more nervous about this reading than any I’ve done before. Mainly, I think, because it was outside my comfort zone – literally, as I usually do readings in the Midlands and don’t really know anyone in London, so had convinced myself there would be no one in the audience! To my relief and delight, people came. It was great to meet new people, as well as see some familiar faces who’d travelled from further afield.


I was given the opportunity to invite guest readers along, and was so happy that Cheryl Pearson and Sarah Doyle, two superbly talented poets, agreed. I admire both Cheryl and Sarah’s work immensely, so to hear them read was a joy.

Members of my family came, including my two young daughters. Both enjoyed the experience, so that definitely counts as a success in my book! The day of the launch was actually my youngest daughter’s birthday, so I was honoured that she didn’t mind sharing it with poetry (although we took a trip to Hamleys the next day, for balance!).

The launch of Collision was a wonderful occasion. It was the perfect way to help my little sea-themed, green-covered book set sail into the world and, as well as being my writing highlight of 2019, it’s an experience I will appreciate and treasure forever.