Online Fiction & Poetry

Setting out my stall / Jane Fraser

After reading each story once from beginning to end, I collated a list of sixty ‘maybes’. These were stories that would be read time and time again, though even at the early stages, there were some works that lingered long in the mind. Stories that would not go away. Even now, I have one particular story that rises to the fore, when I think of the whole batch I received. Whether readers would agree, I don’t know. That again, is the nature of this role, and the luxury of subjectivity. At this point, I had to become ruthless in terms of a writer’s control of the form, and also address how the fourteen stories would sit together as an anthology. I had to reject some stories, that although were good and would have otherwise made the cut, were too similar in theme with others that I deemed ‘better’.

Natalie Ann Holborow reads ‘The Janitor is Crying in the Gents’

Natalie Ann Holborow reads one of two new poems featured in Issue Thirteen of The Lonely Crowd. Find out how Natalie wrote the poem, here.   Natalie Ann Holborow is the author of And Suddenly You Find Yourself and Small (Parthian) and co-author of The Wrong Side of the Looking Glass (Black Rabbit Press). She…

John Freeman reads from ‘Visions of Llandaff’

The Lonely Press is delighted to publish Visions of Llandaff, a stunning collaboration between poet John Freeman and photographer Chris Humphrey. Here, Freeman reads an extract from the volume. The above photograph is by Chris Humphrey and is taken from the book, which may be purchased here.

Read by the Author: ‘The Ladybirds’ by Katherine Duffy

Katherine Duffy reads The Ladybirds from Issue Thirteen of The Lonely Crowd.   Katherine Duffy lives in Ireland. Her poetry pamphlet Talking the Owl Away (Templar Poetry, 2018) received Templar’s Iota Shot Award. Two previous poetry collections were published by The Dedalus Press (Ireland). Her work was highly commended in the 2018 Rialto Nature and Place Poetry Competition. Recent poems have appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, The Blue Nib, Skylight 47, Mediterranean Poetry, and in the anthologies The Word Ark (Dedalus Press, 2020) and Places of Poetry (Oneworld, 2020).

Read by the Author: Eleanor Hooker

Eleanor Hooker reads from Issue Thirteen of The Lonely Crowd. The Lonely Crowd · Eleanor Hooker reads ‘The Girl With Bees In Her Eye’ Eleanor Hooker’s third poetry collection Of Ochre and Ash (Dedalus Press) and her chapbook Legion (Bonnefant Press, Holland) were published in 2021. A recipient of the Markievicz Award in 2021, her poetry book Where Memory Lies…

‘Dancing As Fast As I Can’ / Eleanor Hooker

Legion is a sequence of origin poems using the honeybee as a metaphor for the poet and a sting in childhood as the impetus to write. Michael Hartnett’s poem ‘A Necklace of Wrens’ is perhaps one of the best know origin poems by an Irish poet. The wrens settle on the young child in a feather necklet, marking him as a poet.  This anointment caused the wrens to injure the young poet – Their talons left on me/scars not healed yet. Without subscribing to the notion of the tortured artist in this poem, Hartnett acknowledges, unsentimentally, that his craft arrived from an early wound. In his elegy to Yeats, ‘In Memory of W. B. Yeats’, Auden wrote Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry/ Now Ireland has her madness and her weather still. The idea of writing from a wound or a place of sorrow is not new and although disparaged as cliché, it resonates as a reality for many poets and writers, and to deny this fact is a form of silencing.‘Dancing as Fast as I Can’ is a poem that looks at the symbiotic relationship between the artist, their advocates and the ‘establishment’. It questions what these associations might entail for an artist and their artistic independence.  The poem acknowledges that while most artists would like their work to be selected and advanced, not all are chosen, and perhaps a negative consequence of being absorbed into the hive is that the artist becomes managed, and looses their ability to produce beyond the constraints of that environment.

NEWS: Visions of Llandaff by John Freeman & Chris Humphrey

‘… I’m seeing things, but more than seeing is the feeling – the way the permeation of water through air under tall trees and taller spire creates a soft fellowship in which things, bloom and are tenderly magnified…’ The Lonely Press is proud to present, Visions of Llandaff, an exquisite collaboration between the poet John…

‘Protocol for a Window Visit’ / Katherine Duffy

  Katherine Duffy reads ‘Protocol for a Window Visit’ from Issue Thirteen of The Lonely Crowd, which may be purchased here. Katherine Duffy lives in Ireland. Her poetry pamphlet Talking the Owl Away (Templar Poetry, 2018) received Templar’s Iota Shot Award. Two previous poetry collections were published by The Dedalus Press (Ireland). Her work was…

Strangeness Came Along in Spades / Katherine Duffy

But what galvanized me most, I think, was the sheer strangeness of that time. I know I’m not alone in feeling I had stepped through a portal into a different world. A surreal, science-fictiony, movie-set world of deserted roads and official, yellow sigils, with a soundtrack of repeating, robotic health and safety announcements. It’s hardly surprising that an experience such as standing outside a window in freezing winter air, attempting a phone conversation with my mother trapped on the other side, would make my mind shift gears enough to craft a poem at cruising speed for a change.

On Writing ‘Mushroom’ / Lisa Kelly

During Lockdown in 2020 I became obsessed with fungi. My regular walk around a nature reserve became a daily ritual, during which time I looked out for fungi, took pictures of them on my phone and tried to identify them. At a time of collective trauma, my fascination with fungi and learning about their life…

On writing ‘Death & Love on the Prairie’ / Yannick Pas

In Death & Love on the Prairie, I wanted to encapsulate the vastness and unpredictability of nature by echoing the distinct feeling of expansiveness in my prose. With long, meandering sentences, I wanted the writing to mirror the ceaseless undulation of the story’s environment: the mighty plains and rolling valleys of the American West.

Overstaying My Welcome: Writing ‘A Conversation with Oma, 1968’ / Emma Venables

I don’t tend to make copious notes when writing short stories, and the notes I do have are often abstract. For example, one of the few points I’ve written about this story in my notebook is: ‘Granddaughter questions grandmother re: actions under Nazism.’ I prefer to meet and question the characters, the story, the setting, on the page. Often I’m surprised by what I learn – the granddaughter’s binge eating of potatoes, the grandmother storing photographs of her son beneath a cushion, the steps it takes to navigate from living room to apartment door – and enjoy the texture they add to the world of the story and the dynamics between characters. These details take the reader on detours, but I’m always conscious of bringing the focus back to the present moment of the story: a granddaughter and grandmother, a difficult conversation, in an apartment in West Berlin. I look for the lapses – the needless journeys – when editing.

On ‘Rathlin’ / Seán Kenny

Rathlin is beautiful. It is a wild and battered beauty, craggy and stark. It’s an island off an island, a remote corner of a remote corner. There is a lonesome quality to the place, a sense of outpost in its lighthouses, its seabirds who come and go with the seasons.