Why we Stare at Shooting Stars – Steven Feeney

I believe life has
Sudden rain just shy of ice, turning you drowned rat
roiling home from the local Spar through the ill-filled pool
of your street,
from sloughed off sickly looking socks,
to an al-

Then, bundling shampoo-blind
into a radiator-worn raggedy throw,
the cold crumbling from your bones
in anticipation
as your digestive thirstily drinks
just enough steaming tea.

I believe life has
guilty glances over the covers as a clock ticks
“car-pe-di-em-car-pe-di-em”, dancing hands under ripples
of sunlight, the swaying blinds seeking your eyes.
I believe life has
sighs like tangible languor beneath freshly cleaned duvets,
the sound of breath obscuring the redundant ticking,
while a grey day peers through the pane, opportunity
to create your own sunshine.
I believe life has
plentiful opportunities to experience
both, and learn the difference.

I believe life has
garden days
when the sunlight feels heavy
slothishly hanging from your shoulders
as your skin prickles with salty tears,
until that first breeze comes,
and blows right through you
a simple movement of air current
becomes precious, divine.

I believe life has
Fennec foxes and freshly cut grass
(with a side of antihistamines).
I believe life has
oreo malt shakes and the smell of old books,
kept separate for their own safety.
I believe life has
aurora borealis and Pokémon cards,
and people who value both.

I believe life has
the last beautiful thing you saw
and the next.

I believe life has
taken your breath away
and given it to you.

I believe life has
all of it,
even an end.



Steven Feeney is a writer and poet currently torn between missing Ireland and enjoying his time studying in Wales. He is currently working towards an MA in Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University, where he also achieved a BA in English Literature & Creative Writing and was awarded the Alun Lewis Memorial Prize for Best Piece of Writing on a Welsh Topic.


New year threnody – Mary Jacob

(composed 31 December 2017)
a song tying together threads
threnody over thrown thrills
spirits spilled out from open bottles
new year revellers quiet this year
tamped-down damped down
damp streets drained out
rained out masque
behind a demi-mask
growing thin
                  waning waning moon
                  what will you bring us when you are
Mary Jacob is Californian relocated to Wales, pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing. She organises Surrealist Salons, evenings of participatory entertainment in which artists, musicians, poets, scientists and the general public play games, creating collaborative art and non-art. She has been writing since the age of 13 and her poems have been published in literary journals in the US and UK such as Ink Sweat & Tears, Uut Poetry, Wales Within,The Wait, Long Exposure Magazine and more. She organises the Words&words&words poetry series at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre and records podcast book reviews for New Welsh Review.

Archaeology 3000 – Liam J Bell

over the retail park
the wind flies still wings
rising over bold supermarkets
in suspense

A winter morning without clouds
stars must’ve hovered overhead
lost in the shoplights
only crows drifting
by the hundreds
in a controlled fall

Carrion birds
on a mammoth slab of concrete
that’s picked at, that’s peeled off
a scab, itching and dead looking

Years later
after we’re buried and dug out
relics are unearthed
keepsakes that we’d held close
are examined
a two sided locket
clutched in ivory fingers
flowers petrified in our rib cage
or covered in an encasement
of ornate armour
overgrown with rust and defeat
a broken sword locked in our vice grip

We might be interesting enough
to be displayed
to be named
our shadowy eyes
providing no excuses
all of us a lesson in excess
still semi persevered
found snowed under
stiff clinging plastics
in tarmac’d sarcophagi




Liam J Bell is a poet living and working in North Wales and previously Aberystwyth, where he studied as a postgraduate in English Literature. His poetry covers topics ranging from environments and ecosystems, Anglo-welsh perspectives, historicism, and language-led poetry.

If you liked this you can follow more of Liam’s work on Soundcloud (@LJBellpoetry), Instagram (@l.j.bell), and Twitter (@LiamJosephBell).

The next meeting – Faisal Al-Doori

When I happened to be in your presence
I was impervious
But I was too busy, thinking
How did The Creator design?
This beautiful being
Your hair absorbed sunlight
But reflected the colour of the earth
Your eyes drunk
sea blue colour
the colour of honey reflected
Coffee, and tree trunk

When I happened to be in your presence
I was careless
But I was busy to collect the pearls
Fallen from your lips
when you were speaking
I Imagined how your teeth were lined to form smiles
I wondered how did your Roman nose inhale only flowers’ odour
I watched how did you touch table utensils

When you finished your meal
I was pretending to be careless
While I was busy to count the minutes left

When you left
I was pretending to be indifferent
But I was busy to arrange for the next meeting




Faisal Al-Doori is a poet, author, critic, journalist, and translator and has won many literary prizes in Arabic, including those for The Arabic Union for Writers 2000 and Naji Namaan in 2014. He has published many books in Arabic on poetry, short stories, and literary criticism as well as numerous papers in English on Dickens, Wordsworth, Fielding, Defoe, Hardy, and Yeats. He finished his PhD studies at Aberystwyth University in 2015, and became an assistant professor in 2017. His PhD project was on the theme of Mysticism found in W.B. Yeats. His poem ‘A Crimson Smile’ was published in the poetry anthology The Wait in 2014.

He has shared his papers on poetry in many international academic conferences in Iraq, the UK, Ireland, Austria, and Portugal. They were published in books issued by The Inter-Disciplinary and Net/Oxford in 2013 and 2015 and Sophia Press/UK in 2016. Several of his poems were translated into English and Romanian by the Romanian Art-Gate Association in 2007. His book, Eastern-Hearted Once Again: Yeats’s Eastern Interest and Mysticism, was published by OmniScriptum Publishing Group in 2017.


Fire – Linda Rhinehart

they can dance,

these devils,

casting their guttural

spells in foreign

tongues, ones

we, lying here under

the summer stars,

can no longer hear

or understand –

leaping, they

welcome their

many sisters

with glowing arms

and hair like

whips; some of

us they welcome

to cross their

portal, that door-

way of smoke

and branches,

we the chosen

ones, we the





Linda Rhinehart recently completed an MPhil at the University of Aberystwyth in Literary Studies, and is interested in writing and reading poetry, fiction and non-fiction. She is of American and German origin but has lived in the UK for the past eight years.

Misdirection – Katherine Stansfield

Writing poems makes me bite
my nails and when I say bite
I mean I rip them off gnawing,
ferreting, until I draw blood
and when I say I rip them off
I mean I take the skin too, the cuticles
and meat, and when I say I take the skin
I mean I feed on myself like I’m starved
and when I say I feed on myself
I mean this isn’t a metaphor for confessionalism
and when I say confessionalism
I mean the name on the cover and her truths
and when I say her truths
I mean things she’ll tell you
and when I say things she’ll tell you
I mean there are things she won’t
and when I say things she won’t
I mean the greater part of her
and when I say greater part
I mean I worry another
collection would see me
down to my elbows
and my desk
a wet mess
of body


Katherine Stansfield is a novelist and poet who grew up in Cornwall and now lives in Cardiff. Her new book, The Magpie Tree, is out with Allison & Busby in spring 2018. It’s a historical crime novel, set in Cornwall in 1844, and is the sequel to Falling Creatures (2017). Playing House, her first book of poems, was published by Seren in 2014, and she’s currently completing her second collection, for which she was awarded a bursary by Literature Wales. Katherine is the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Cardiff University, where she also teaches the Writing Crime Fiction course for the university’s School of Continuing and Professional Education. She is an Associate Lecturer for the Open University’s new MA in Creative Writing, a Writing Fellow at the University of South Wales, and a mentor for Literature Wales.

Brushing Teeth – Christina Thatcher

As a child I heard that toothpaste
was made from the bodies of dead
sea creatures. Tiny things. Cretaceous.

This knowledge brought me closer
to the sea. And with it, my life began
to erode in the mornings and at night:

the sink became a whale’s mouth,
gaping, expectant. The swish swish
of bristles and foam turned to waves

lapping and tidal against my cheeks.
My wooden footstool played the boat,
rickety yet smooth beneath my toes.

And with every Captain’s spit and jaunty rinse
I moved inland again, slowly,
back to shore.

(From the collection More than you were, available from Parthian Books)


Shortlisted for the Bare Fiction Debut Poetry Collection Competition in 2015 and a winner in the Terry Hetherington Award for Young Writers in 2016, Christina Thatcher’s poetry and short stories have featured in a number of publications including The London MagazinePlanet Magazine, Acumen and The Interpreter’s House. Her first collection, More than you were, was published by Parthian Books in 2017.

Thatcher grew up in America but has made a happy home in Wales with her husband, Rich, and cat, Miso. She is a part-time teacher and PhD student at Cardiff University where she studies how creative writing can impact the lives of people bereaved by addiction. Christina keeps busy off campus too as the Poetry Editor for The Cardiff Review and as a freelance workshop facilitator and festival coordinator.

To learn more about Thatcher’s work visit her website: https://christinathatcher.com or follow her on Twitter: @writetoempower.