Category Archives: Print

The North at The Irish Literary Society

The Irish Literary Society hosted the London launch of  issue 61 of The North magazine on February 25th. Published by The Poetry Business it is devoted to contemporary Irish poetry:

“119 poems by 106 fantastic poets”.

The Irish Literary Society is a child of the Irish Literary Revival of the late nineteenth century. Among its founders were WB Yeats and Douglas Hyde. Since 1892 it has championed and promoted Irish literature and facilitated discussion of and engagement with it. Continue reading The North at The Irish Literary Society

2 Poems in Bangor Literary Journal Issue 7

The two poems chosen are from my set prompted by the concept SAINT which also inspired my short story in issue 10 of The Lonely Crowd, ‘Above It All’. An article on the writing of it

Writing ‘Above It All’ / Angela Graham

The Saint Sets Out

Was it at night he launched the boat?
The surf was sound,
Thudding, thrashing, arriving, arriving
And he mad to be gone.
Was he a stern commander of his men:
Jerking a slack rope taut,
Skewing a too-straight line;
Or was he the silent type:
Hunched at the prow,
Stinting his energy from tasks
That could as well be done by any,
Knowing himself to be
The only crucial compass for them all?
Whichever, the sea was wide
And the boat small.
The lamp at the masthead swaggered crazily,
A spangle, hoist to light a vaulted dome.
The sea, un-seeable, was chaos, roaring,
Nothing stable but a few stars:
Blasé observers
Of all this casting-off and letting go.
In bone-tight cold and swingeing spray
Those on the wind-skinned strand
Watched a departure into black −
No wake, no skyline −
But when the voices shredded
As the sea swung in behind them
Then (since in darkness any light is Light)
The eyes who sought made out an ensign:
The boat itself become a buoyant star.

When the Saint Wavered

At the last moment
He took a small stone with him to the boat,
Roughly round, a solid talisman.
Dry beach, it said among the waves,
Powder; desert; firm, un-tilting mass; stanchion; plumb-drop …
An un-staunched litany:
Praise of the parched or steady
At every touch.
When, after many days, he knew (they knew, all knew)
That they were at a loss,
He weighed in his palm
His last-of-land.
He felt their anxious, trusting eyes
And let his pumice Jonah go
Over the side.
That night in drifting sleep he heard
A hunter among leaves:
In the pursuit of love, beloved,
You have to risk the throw.
Loser takes all.
With nothing left to hold, be held.
He woke among veils of drizzle, grey as dust,
And the sound of birds:
Their first landfall.

Poem in the Winter edition of the Bangor Literary Journal


Winter came early for that girl
When the unreturning brother –
The endlessly prevented youth –
Was thrown first in a ditch
And then a grave.

She was the Winter’s girl,
Wearing its icy dress,
So when she saw one parent
Smash the other’s face into a wall
She wasn’t fazed. She understood how well
The rounded skull fits to the palm;
How deep the need to make pain visible since he
Had been hooded when they tortured him.

But she − to Mammy and Daddy both −
She had become
As faint as frost on glass.
Then even the mirrors emptied.

A neighbour, meaning to be kind,
Had asked her to help him set December bulbs,
Late possibilities. She’d cupped a Winter White,
A cranium, papery-skinned and primed,
But when his back was turned
She’d plunged the bulb in upside down,
Cursing it to torment itself
In growing towards the dark.

Since she was a murderer too
She sentenced herself to drink till she was sick
On school-nights out beyond the playing fields.
And only the cold would do.

But a long dormancy
Can keep something alive.
Forty years on, even the Winter tired
Of cold. It dis-adopted her,
Heading for Spring
When she shouldered her dying mother
And felt how well that heavy head
Fitted the hollow below her collar-bone,
In that embrace sensing
A possibility, though late.


Image: Claire Loader

3 Poems for Christmas 2018


The smallest words mean the most




These things

Not things

May you receive them all

            A star              of particular promise

            A light             that has sought and found you

            The child         of your heart


Waiting beyond the door.      






Twyllwch yn llawn lleisiau

Diwedd unigrwydd.



A star

A promise

A fulfilment

Darkness full of voices

An end to loneliness


The stars, a rowdy, cheerful crowd,

Ran to their places, prompt to the call,

And how they sing! since then,

A nightly choir.

Only the comets − their slow tears −

Betray the sorrow underneath that steadfastness,

For haven’t they seen it all?

− what we do down here,

Warping the darkness that they love

Into sly coverts for our filthiness.

Poor stars. Don’t grudge them their reprieve

Each year, when their paragon,

Their Star of stars, leader of kings,

Sets out once more and triumphs,

Finds his place, finding the child,

Perfect as every new-born.

Here! the Star declares to each of us,

Surely you see – surely – that you

Are a Child Awaited, you

Arrived − naked and loved − and you,

Gift-bearer of nothing,

Can stoop under this lintel,

Step clean through the needle’s eye.

3 poems by Angela Graham 2018

Pushcart Prize Nomination

My story, ‘All Through The Night’ has been nominated by its publisher, Crannóg for the Pushcart Prize, ‘the most honoured literary project in America’.

The story is available to read here.

It was completed during the period of my Literature Wales Bursary 2017. It is part of my unpublished collection, ‘A City Burning’ which was edited by Gwen Davies of the New Welsh Review.

Congratulations to my fellow prose nominees, David Butler and Emily Woodworth and to poets, stephanie roberts, Jane Burn and Ruth Thompson.

Poem in Infinite Rust – Fall Issue

I’m delighted to have my poem Admission, on leaving the Port of Belfast, 1988 accepted for the Fall issue of Infinite Rust, Texas Southern University’s quarterly journal of Literary and Visual Arts.

The theme of the issue, due online on 28th October, is HOME: perspectives or interpretation relating to ideas such as the meaning of home, immigration, marginalization, nationalism, ownership, comfort, security, displacement, boundaries, and identity.