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Apart from reading, and reading widely, another good tip for a poet is to subscribe to some poetry journals and writing magazines, to also help keep them appraised of the latest events in the literary world.  I currently subscribe to seven publications, a mixture of pure poetry, book reviews and general writing, one of which is Mslexia.


Mslexia logo


This magazine, published out of Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK, prides itself on being an ambassador for women’s writing, to get their voices heard in what can still be construed as a rather male-dominated field.  An interesting article in the current issue focuses on ‘bestselling poets’, with only three in the top ten prime sellers actually being alive at the moment.

Not surprisingly Carol Ann Duffy tops the charts, with an increase in her sales income on last year by just under £20,000 to £195,992.  I love Duffy’s work, the rawness and reality of it, two of my favourite pieces being from her collection of Love Poems, ‘Drunk’ and ‘Valentine’, in which she picks you up and makes you ‘be’ in the scene with her.

There’s an even split in the top ten in respect of gender, which includes the likes of Heaney, Plath and Armitage, and the piece reminds us that the poet’s income is a mere ‘pittance’ compared to the bestsellers in other genres, giving the example of historical fiction queen Philippa Gregory who earned close to £1 million this year.




And so it ends with the advice of don’t give up the day job, which is all too true.  I have been lucky enough financially to be able to reduce my working hours for the first time in my life to focus purely on my poetry but yes, poets face an interesting challenge – to dream in a realist world.

No time like today to post some love poetry !




So here is the poem I was thrilled to have published by Inkerman & Blunt in Australian Love Poems 2013, edited by Mark Tredinnick.  This wonderful collection is split into sections to capture the full spectrum of love and it’s journey – from those fresh heady sparks to the sometimes unavoidable last remnants.  My poem sits within ‘We outgrow love like other things’…




Our front door has gained weight

seems harder to close.

I manage our hallway then fold

a paper chained doll.


Temptation dropped me off.

He is older, wears suits

peels me undone with deep set eyes.


There is safety in here

a promise I’ll always be loved

It’s just not enough.


I know this will slice your insides

but I do it also for you.

You need more

than this glossed over longing.


I place my goodbye on the table

seven years of tears

line dried, folded in pairs.


Copyright © J V Birch 2013


Happy Valentine’s Day – spend it wisely  🙂


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