Marilyn Longstaff

Marilyn Longstaff

Photograph by Pat Maycroft ©2004

Marilyn Longstaff lives in Darlington and is a member of Vane Women, the writing, performing and publishing collective. Her poems have been published in a range of magazines, in anthologies, and on the Web. Her first pamphlet Puritan Games (Vane Women Press, 2001), has sold out. Her latest collection Raiment was published by Smokestack Books in 2010.

In March 2003, Marilyn received an Arts Council Northern Promise Award. This enabled her to pay for mentoring towards putting a first full collection together. The result, is Sitting Among the Hoppers, published in October 2004 by Arrowhead Press.

Marilyn says,
My happy, secure-yet-quirky upbringing in a committed evangelical Christian home (and the Welfare State) in the 1950s and 60s gave me strong sense of justice, duty and the bizarre. I discovered (and I'm still discovering) the extraordinary nature of ordinary people's lives and I want to honour this in my writing. I'm full of rage at the virtual world we are being sold — the erosion of democracy and public services under the guise of more participation and choice.

She is now working on her third full collection, as yet untitled, although, with increasing deafness, she thinks she might call it What?

Here's a poem from that:

On (not) Hearing Simon Armitage on Start The Week - April 2010

So it's come to this

the shower radio on at full blast
and I'm trying to make some sense
as I strain, sans mes appareils auditif
to hear what Simon says.

I recognise his flat vowels, the tone,
    ...'prose poems'...
    ...'limestone crags'...
    ...'domestic bliss'...
aware that I have never lived

within a three mile radius of the village
where I was born - the suburb of Mossley Hill,
Liverpool, in the Salvation Army Mother and Baby Home -
realise that, unlike him, I can never belong,

wonder, what else do I miss?

Footnote : he may as well be speaking French hence mes appareils auditif (my hearing aids)

Poems on this page Copyright © 2014 Marilyn Longstaff

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Last modified: September 5th 2014