New Year message from Poetry Space

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Dear Poets and Readers,


This has been a crazy, crazy year. It was the fifth for Poetry Space (sixth for annual competition) and we held two celebratory events, one in London’s Poetry Cafe and another in the wonderful surroundings of Armada House in Bristol. The former was an evening of readings with special guests Martyn Crucefix and Alison Brackenbury, judges from Poetry Space annual competition, 2012 and 2013, leading us.We were also entranced by the many poets featured in our showcase and competitions, and  welcomed along new faces including performance poet Susan Evans.

Book publishing has  continued with three more full collections, Neil Leadbeater’s The Loveliest Vein of our Lives, What the trees are telling me by Elizabeth Rapp and Chester City Walls: a poet’s mosaic by Julia D. McGuinness ( successfully launched on the fringes of the Chester Literary festival).

There have also been pamphlet collections by  Prem Kumari Srivastava, Di Coffey, Margaret Eddershaw and  the late Wendy Stern. Seven books in a year in which my son Mark has been seriously ill and still is possibly terminal but we keep hoping and fighting for him, and a year which brought the end of life for a much loved family member, my dear father who died aged ninety four after several years with Alzheimer’s. Continuing with its aim of widening participation in poetry and helping  poets and their supporters to raise money for specific causes, we have this year donated £200 to Missing Link charity in Bath as a result of sales of Hannah Teasdale’s pamphlet collection Fingerprints. Di Coffey is raising money for the Multiple Sclerosis Association, with The Tugboatman’s Daughter, Beverley Ferguson’s Breaking Through is still on sale with 50% proceeds going to Bath Mind,



and the most recent addition Riding the Rainbow by Margaret Eddershaw is selling well with all proceeds going to Ibba Girl’s School in South Sudan. 

My intention as we move into this brand new year is to finish all outstanding commitments with regard to book publishing, the  anthology from the 2015 competition with John Siddique  will be first off the press, followed by pamphlet collections by Jade Anouka and Sue Ironside, a highly original book of poems and recipes by Moira Andrew and daughter Jenny (Poet in the Kitchen) and possibly one or two others that have reached my shortlist. It would also be lovely to have a children’s collection drawing from some of the wonderful poems sent in to Eleanor for the Young Writers and Artists Space. This all depends on time and funds.

After that Poetry Space will not take any new poets onto the list for possibly up to two years. This is to allow time for crowd funding later this year and production of the book of photographs and poems that is still evolving from the wonderful Photo and Poem challenge, and a series of launch events throughout the country during 2017. Apologies for the erratic nature of the challenge itself. It was my intention to post much more regularly but it is hard to keep up with everything . I already have plans for something online to replace it but keeping this secret for now.

There is just one short story pamphlet out so far in what will be a series. Three more to come from Geralyn Pinto, Michael Docker and Moira Andrew but this may be slow as I am finding putting prose into pamphlet form harder than poetry.

I also want to congratulate the winners from our 2015 competition: Ama Bolton, Corin Greaves and Victoria Gatehouse, and the runners up for their wonderful poems. Thanks too, to our lovely judge John Siddique who we were privileged to have selecting the winners. Next Year’s competition will be judged by Myra Schneider who will again read all entries. More details of this will go on the website very, very soon. The same format as usual: deadline of June 30th 2016. Prizes of £250, £100 and £50, plus complementary copies of the prizewinners anthology for all top twenty, £5 to enter a single poem but two for the price of one for friends of poetry space members. Multiple entries will be allowed.


Ama Bolton









This year has also been incredibly sad and yet incredibly joyous for our family in so many ways.  Along with events already mentioned, we have had a fantastic wedding when Dave married Alice @Bristol and said their vows beneath the stars in Bristol’s planetarium in November. This was memorable too for the walk through the aquarium with drinks en route. So many family and friends have said how much they enjoyed it. The speeches were especially moving given the situation with Mark. I felt very proud of everyone there. So much love! Indeed  love has surrounded Mark in particular this year. Friends and family flooded the Marsden back in February after the initial diagnosis of advanced melanoma and I said then if love could cure then we would have no problem. So much love again this first week of the new year as Mark  has moved literally from the mouth of death through to asking his girlfriend Georgie to get engaged on the steps of The Royal Marsden , and then getting voted Top Doc on Social media in the BMA’s annual quest on Twitter #topdoc15

Thank you to everyone who has supported us this year personally, professionally and through social media. I know there are things I have probably forgotten but the main thing is to wish you all a happy 2016 with lots of beautiful moments and memories created.


Love and best wishes

Susan Jane Sims

Susan Jane Sims

Sue, January 7th 2016






My collection A Number of things you should know (2014) is published by Indigo Dreams Publishing.  Irene’s Daughter, is available from Poetry Space online shop.