New Podcast: Rachael Boast on the Language and Sound of Poetry

A really interesting poetry blog – enjoyed this interview with Rachael Boast.


As a poet, if you cooperate with language you end up ‘saying things you didn’t know you were thinking.’ So claims the multi-award-winning poet Rachael Boast, in this interview with Suzannah V. Evans. But although poetry may emerge from somewhere unconscious, the course of their conversation draws to the surface Rachael’s life and works.

The discussion highlights the biographical background to some of her poetry, its close affinity with music and sound – and how Rachael’s breakthrough came after living in a crofter’s cottage with just a copy of Geoffrey Hill for company.

Photograph of St Andrews beach with a quote "So much of it happens on an unconscious level. It’s like I’m an instrument for the language." Photo credit: Suzannah V. Evans

Rachael reads three of her poems at the end: ‘Snow’, ‘Ranchera’ and ‘Attic’.

About the Interviewer

Suzannah V. Evans is a poet, editor, and critic. Her writing has appeared in the TLS, The London Magazine, Eborakon, The North, Coast to Coast to Coast, Time Present, New Welsh Review, and elsewhere. She…

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Rachel Burns

The Poetry Village

Arthur’s Seat Coffins

You carved them out of wood, whittling
little doll faces, hand stitching clothes onto bodies,
gave each a coffin, buried them at the brow of the hill.

You did it to remember the children dug from their graves
the children strangled in their beds by Burke and Hare.
You tried to save them from Limbo, from the fires of Hell.

Now you see your doll children in a museum.
You hear them calling to you tap tap tap on the glass
their high pitched notes, like birds trapped in a net.

Rachel’s poems have appeared in UK literary magazines including The Lake, South, Head Stuff, Lonesome October, South Bank Poetry and The Herald newspaper. She was shortlisted for the Keats- Shelley Poetry Prize 2017.

Rachel Tweets at @RachelLBurnsme

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Dmitry Blizniuk: One Poem

Love the startling imagery in this poem by Dmitry Blizniuk

Canada Quarterly


Rural silence is a thick sandwich with butter
Generously sprinkled with the sugar of meadow dragonflies.
Nothing’s going to happen here in this century.
No one’s waiting for you in the Future Simple.
When the reddish, high in hemoglobin, blueness of the evening sweeps over you, Carnivorous stars start moving their nippers.
They are real and terrible here;
They are not sick city animals muzzled with smog.
You can gnaw on the candied nuts of constellations if you like.
The moon is screwed up to the skies for centuries
Like a basketball hoop,
But an eagle-owl flies too high for a three-point shot.
A couple eat each other under a dark window:
The skin of the stumpy, thick-braided girl
Is covered in moon dust, which tastes of unwashed soap.
The kisses are rough and greedy sweet and sickly, like Turkish delight.
Such an intoxicating stability reigns…

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International Women’s Day

Poet Laureate

pexels-photo-261453.jpegTo celebrate International Women’s Day I asked you for your thoughts and inspirations. ENJOY! 

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POETS/POEMS – Recommended Reads

Rachel Curzon – Scan poem – highly recommended (Faber and Faber) – Michelle Diaz

Julia Copus any of her spectacular poems, just so very cleverly constructed but the form is always appropriate to the meaning. – Nikki Fine

Colette Bryce who I was lucky enough to do a workshop with last year as part of a local literary festival. – Penny Blackburn

Gillian Allnutt – Ode. I read poetry on my Sociology/Social Policy under graduate course. – Rachel Burns

Mary Oliver I’m reading more of her work and folding over the corners of so many favourite poems in each book…when I run out of post-it notes! I grew up in inner city Birmingham & moved to London at 18, and it’s only in my 40’s that I discovered nature and now understand what all…

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Two Poems in Canada Quarterly

Rachel Burns: Two Poems



Your child runs alongside you, her laughter
rises into the air like sea fret, it is raining
the sky milky grey, you taste salt on your lips
you stop, bend down to pick up a shell
you press the conch to her ear
What can you hear?
The roar of the sea.

You walk along the beach, drifters sift
through the driftwood of their lives
carrying crochet hemp bags
filled with smooth rocks.
Gulls soar through the air,

You teach your daughter
to sort the good wood from the bad
that the sea is neither blue nor green
that the rocks are neither rugged nor smooth
but somewhere in-between.


Red poppies in the field rattle around next to dog daisies
colours that bleed into each other as a train on the horizon

trundles along the East Coast Main line like a boy’s Hornby train
on a miniature track. A grouse is flushed from its hiding place

the disembodied cry rises like a wounded child.
The sky is flawless ― clouds look like a Simpson’s cartoon.

She sees him in the blue sky, the wheat fields there is no escaping him, the smell of his skin

his warm breath, her little boy laid to rest.

Rachel Burns is currently an Arvon/Jerwood mentee in playwriting. Poems shortlisted in competitions Mslexia, Writers’ & Artists Yearbook and The Keats- Shelley Poetry Prize 2017.

New Poem in Hobo Camp Review


The sky is a blank canvass

chalky-white lifeless

outside I can see slate grey

roofs of the neighbours’ houses

the village green

and the children’s swing frame

and the flowers are all gone

just the red berries on the juniper remain

reminding me of red cherry lip gloss

I wore to my first school disco

At Our Lady’s Immaculate

dancing with John- Paul

who last I heard joined the army.

I have the radio on in the background

and I hear the song


and I’m sorting out chapters

re-reading the words

my protagonist sailing her boat

out to sea- the white sail

buffering against the wind

the whole time fighting the tide

sailing the wrong way

the whole time fighting the waves

words disappearing like a blur from the page.