A new poem published this morning in ‘Stride’ magazine:

Photograph: @John Stadnicki – MMXVIII

I covered my face with black ink
rounded all my possessions up
and set fire to everything
at the top of a hill.

click here to read the full text.





Photography: ©International Times, 2018

(to Aidan Semmens)

Hello. I am a feature
on a CCTV camera, with
private resonance. At
the top floor, I
can barely sleep for the sound of gunfire.
I hear the poetry when I order a pizza.

Still there, are you?
…‘yeah, […published in ‘International Times’ to read click] here

‘Acts of Survival’ – International Times

Illustration ©Claire Palmer 2018, ‘International Times’

– for Peter J. King –

Before the execution date,
each night,
lands I have never seen come to visit
this self-contained universe.
The only place for waiting, for submitting,
the place where god decided
it was the moment to shoot itself.
This captivity has become an act of survival,
for an industrious nation of slaves.
Here, the immediate!
The fear behind the hate sounds louder and louder
in each city where cathedrals
are now for sale
on detergent coupons.

A man is lost at sea, I hear,
total strangers marching East
minutes before the water-ropes bring the closure.

Here and now, my enemy,
the blood inside all my cavities has become
the last supper
for I,
chiselled, strapped, nailed to my crimes,
had confessed: ECCE HOMO!

My nation, my never-never land!

If we have been at war for thousands of years,
catching bullets today,
in these meat-eating times,
it is the pain which, finally, will set us free,
not words.
The silent joy of those who know
how very few will make it through the
death sentence.

The poem was published today in International Times and can be accessed here.

War Correspondence

Photograph: ©John Stadnicki, MMXVII













A train passed, at a slow speed,
through iced waters.
It could have taken minutes
or maybe days.

The crushing sound of my doubt,
the unnecessary beauty,
push the march backwards.

Blessed be the stones. So many
are thrown at us from above.
A thousand years of anger in one place.

The graveyard is now in bloom.
Bread-flowers are shooting upwards.

My defeated words, stronger than my weapon.


(Poem published in ‘Stride’ magazine, available here)

Thank you, Rupert Loydell!





The Return of the ‘Smallminded Books’

Smallminded Books is a beautiful project created by Rupert Loydell in collaboration with poets across the country and explores the concept of poetry as a gift token. It is about publishing small, very small books, in limited edition. As small as my palm, as big as my heart. Little books which are free and can be kept in your wallet, in your pocket, in …your other books. But mostly, they need to be read.

This new collection contains seven small books: Unspoken by Clark Allison, really there by John Martone, Fresh Roses by Sheila E. Murphy, ‘my name means the shape I am’ by Patricia Farrell, An enjoyable night was had by all by Mischa Foster Poole, Prayerbook for Trees by Anna Cathenka and EXITUS by Maria Stadnicka.

The books have been edited and designed by the poet and artist Rupert M. Loydell and published by Smallminded Books.

I salute this brilliant initiative with great joy and excitement and I am offering ten free copies of EXITUS, as a gift, to celebrate our beautiful language. To celebrate this project, the imagination, the playfulness and the creative energy which comes with poetry.

If you would like your free copy, please email me at


Questionings, rememberings and imaginings by Rupert Loydell

Imperfect, Maria Stadnicka (52pp, Yew Tree Press)

The simple grey and black cover of this book –texture perhaps taken from a tree or wall, with a white crack or line separating author’s name and book title – is in many ways apt for what the reader find inside: a collection of beguiling, uneasy poems that probe ideas of love, politics and human experience.

The work reminds me of Charles Simic’s and Yannis Ritsos’ poetry (I don’t mean it is derivative), and also the gentler end of Vaska Popa’s work. There is the same clarity of images and voice with little metaphor or allusion. Instead a kind of surrealism is at work in the direction the narratives take, in the thought processes being evidenced with their jumps and asides, their sometimes awkward and surprising conclusions. In ‘Settlement’ the narrator has ‘no further questions’ for God, so instead offers him a ham sandwich; in ‘Bad Luck’ the poem moves from a fall through Googled medical self-assessment to burns and then self-immolation, but even as the house burns a neighbour pops in to talk about the weather and running out of tea bags. In ‘Good Bye Then’ Clara’s ‘giggle melted in a slice of bread’.

As Jay Ramsay points out in his back cover blurb, in many ways this poetry is ‘other’. This may be because of Stadnicka’s experiences growing up in Romania, the effect on her of the Cold War, a slight awkwardness in the details of English (e.g. ‘Good Bye Then’ or ‘it stopped me / understand the real life’) or simply her poetics. Whatever, Stadnicka has now found a home in Stroud, in language, and clings on to a hope that underpins the poems, even if this is belied by poems like ‘The Calais Sea’, where

After weeks and weeks of travels,

for the last time, I put my bags down.

I am done with hope.

The lingering tragedy

of what I could be if

we had the right words for tomorrow.

Elsewhere, in a world of inevitable death, madness, broken families, soldiers, barbaric politics and dehumanization, even when there are ‘no other survivors’, ‘even without a language’, Stadnicka defiantly demands that she ‘go on / being allowed to hope’. And does.

This an exciting and urgent first book of poems, that gives me hope for contemporary poetry. I look forward to the next instalment of Maria Stadnicka’s questionings, rememberings and imaginings.

Copyright: Rupert Loydell 2017!/2017/06/questionings-rememberings-and-imaginings.html