Annie Wright

Annie Wright

Photograph by Pat Maycroft ©2003

I began writing on an Arvon course in 1985 and fell in love with Lumb Bank and the Lumb valley. For years the 'annual Arvon' became my lifeline as a writer.

Fred D'Aguiar's advice to do something every day that affirms your life as a writer is a touchstone for me, especially as I work in a very demanding job as a literacy consultant. There's always time to watch a sunset, read a poem or write one line!

I'm currently reading Sharon Olds, Andrew Waterhouse and a beautiful old leather edition of Shelley. I'm working on a sequence of poems on the war with Iraq which draws heavily on characters and references from The Iliad. My son Jacob, 8, also inspires poems and is a cool critic!

Finding wonderful places to walk and gorgeous cafes to write in afterwards is an obsession. Vane Women has given me the chance to read and perform lots and to meet other writers, including Shore Women from the Isle of Wight. Our joint anthology Rewriting The Map was published in October 2003.


Redemption Songs (Arrowhead 2003)
Including Sex (The Bay Press 1995)

Poems in various magazines and anthologies in the UK and USA.

Orinoco Lilies

(The flowers from the North had their mouths open, and if touched they laughed ... from Navaho myth)

Jaguar's wet nose hesitates
whisker sensing a leaf
I hold my shivery breath

mouse runs tiptoe
over my lip
and petals tremble

a shimmering peal
of giggles erupts
in squeals

I parrot the parrot's
red and yellow squawks
feathers set me off

in staccato guffaws, macaw
of scattering, spattering
seeds of mirth

oh hilarity's clarity!
blue as the high canopy
cut-outs of heaven

belly-deep, the Orinoco's
rumble judders the spine
drills through rocks

tears coursing down cheeks
clutching our stomachs
howler monkeys

we snap our traps
on flies and mosquito
clamp grins with chimpish lips

jaws spring apart
chattering laughter
surges out

wobbling chins
heaving sepals
rippling green umbrellas

sending our Northern spirits
swooping and gliding over
unquenchable chuckling thermals

Moments Before War

(19th March 2003)

In the stillness of the desert
in the sandy plains before the city
in the treacherous dunes and dusty sweeps
where the backfiring of a lorry
can be heard for twenty miles

no sound

in the stillness of the citadel
in the suddenly silent streets
flags hand idle on their posts
civilians have secreted themselves
away, hush hours pass

no sound

in the stillness of the desert
every stir of air stifled
every living breath held
great father Zeus raises the scales -
in one pan the fate of the Achaean armies,


in the other, the fate of the Trojans -
perfectly balanced, not a hair's weight
between them. So quiet, an exhalation
could trigger an invasion. Undercover
night steals in from the shadows

one pan tips into slow descent

The Death of Cygnus

(21 March 2003)

Curled over, cowering like field mice
suddenly exposed in a hidden nest. How long
did fear gnaw at them in the hastily dug

trench? Their hearts could still be warm
and beating, almost, the nameless, unseen
faces already crumbling into yellow soil.

A broken swan's wing of cloth, knotted
to a staff has ceased flapping. Surrendered
to the Fates, their trench become the grave.

Take them, Poseidon, take them, lift them high
above the dusty sand, the wheeling foam,
stretch out their necks in feathered, questioning curves,

let the beating of their mighty wings
be the sighing and the soughing of the desert wind
white feathers dropping as petals on the Achaeans.

Poems on this page Copyright © 2003 Annie Wright

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Last modified: March 28th 2005