Profiles - watch
Watch this space to discover how and where some of
The Red Candle Press's published poets have been active with poetry generally,
and what they do in their spare time when they're not working on their
The profiles display will be changed from time to time,
so that poetry-lovers can become acquainted with more of our authors.
JACK HARVEY [Britain]
Actor (stage name Max Harvey) and educational journalist. Educated Malvern
College and Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. Has toured Britain
playing Manders in Ibsen's GHOSTS and Desmond in Rattigan's THE WINSLOW
BOY. Has played the title-role in MACBETH, and Orsino in TWELFTH
NIGHT. Directed and acted in his own play for two actors, THE BRANGWYN
GIFT (on the life and work of the vigorous and eccentric painter Frank Brangwyn), performed with great success in the arts festivals of Brighton,
Swansea and City of London, and at The Royal Academy (Piccadilly)
and several provincial galleries in conjunction with Brangwyn exhibitions.
Popular TV shows include BLACKADDER, ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES and THE LAST
OF THE SUMMER WINE. Author of several educational books, of which The
Guideline Book of Herbs (issued by McDonald first in laminated paperback,
then in hardback) has been translated into Spanish, Swedish and Dutch.
Has contributed poems to Candelabrum Poetry Magazine [Britain], Mandrake
Review [USA and Poland] and the RCP's anthology The Red Candle Treasury,
and had published two chapbooks of poems: A Walk from Browside (1986:
second impression 2000 in response to renewed demand): poems described
by Dustbooks [USA] as "energetic and extremely rhythmic free verse", and
Begat Cain: a sonnet sequence (1993). His latest completed work (2000)
THE ICEMAN OF THE ALPS. Four hundred six-line stanzas relating
various human activities from around 3,500 BC to the early 1990s AD. The
narrator is the so-called Otzi (his 1990s nickname) the prehistoric man
whose frozen remains were discovered on an Alp in the early 1990s. Introduces
such folk as Homer, Columbus, Galileo, Margaret Thatcher. This long, exciting
poem, part farce and part tragedy, is waiting for a better-off publisher
to bring it out as a book. Meanwhile, get to know it on the RCP's website.
on Adam Begat Cain:
"He maintains interest
and variety in the various subjects and themes treated. A deal of thought
as well as skill has gone into these poems; there is little that is lightweight."
R.L. Cook in New Hope International
"Good poetry!" T.O.P.S.
"Harvey has vision
and heart in addition to fine craftsmanship. He works best when he leaves
himself freest to tackle big subjects on which he has important and interesting
things to say." Philip Higson in Candelabrum
"Mr Harvey's contributions
to the sonnet-form are strong, fecund, timely in the best way." David Castleman
SOME POEMS BY JACK
from A Walk
becomes rock, becomes pebble, becomes sand,
Sand under pressure becomes brick, becomes wall,
Monosyllables extend themselves and sprawl,
Line becomes character, slight becomes thick.
The number of deaths is as plural
As the grains of sand
That the wall must again become;
For one drop of rain neither quenches nor cools,
Then the monsoon drowns.
Stubborn rocks dislodged from the crumbling cliff,
We split and separate.
The grit solitude of sand is our destination.
We build a wall of change
To defy further changes,
And immure our indefensible substance
In an armour
Attacked by every wind and weather.
Stars that salt the sky tonight
Sting like the thoughts that furrow through sleep;
Clouds pushing back show to the light
A rubbing of all the secrets we keep:
The sore of the cavern,
The tree-dampened passage
Too seldom allowed to breathe,
The thicket a-wedge with a nestful of eggs
That hatch in a darkness as fibrous as peat.
And now in the light these hardening thoughts,
Independent and bright, remain as we made them:
Cold grains on the edge of the life we accept,
That scratched on the ceiling of dreams while we slept.
from Adam Begat
when any road or all might do,
Yard after yard through mountain or through town,
You were the only compass my love knew:
Yonder we'd travel till our sun sank down.
Youth gave my step a swift and healthy stride;
Yearning, though painful, did not slow my pace;
Yellow of sunlight to your hair applied
Yet golder gleams, and in your eager face
Your grey-blue eyes look innocent and keen:
'Yes' to the question of the road they said.
You had no fear what any choice might mean.
You took me with you where the long road led.
Year after year we scrambled on our way,
Young once, a life ago, and yesterday.
The flowers of oil-seed rape pour molten gold
Over the wide expanse of prairie space,
A smile of yellow flashes uncontrolled
Like cruel sunlight on a jaundiced face.
The owner's debts, being more than he could pay,
Consumed by loans the hedgerows that once stood
With plaited hazel, blackthorn, dogwood, may,
Encircling fields of slowly ripening food.
The hawthorn's shower of snow or dusty pink,
Though pleasant to the sentimental eye,
Holds pests that make the profit margins shrink,
Gnawed at by hordes that slither, scratch and fly.
Your molten gold is worth a tidy sum,
Till plagues of new devouring insects come.
Excerpts from The Iceman of the Alps
Stanzas 105-110: Columbus arrives at the New World
The Pinta, the Nina, and Santa Maria drew
Away from a port that was work-a-day and real.
They fought the Atlantic and five weeks later found
The island that proved to Columbus the world was round.
He named it for his Saviour and Castile
On the twelfth of October fourteen-ninety-two.
The naked men and women of that place
Received their ninety guests with smiles of greeting.
The admiral had an interpreter. He knew
Latin and Spanish and colloquial Hebrew,
But his gift of tongues was useless at the meeting,
Which flourished on laughter, gesture and grimace.
The Arawaks neither recognised nor fled
The gust that swept these strangers up their beach.
Heated in armour, swaggering and bold,
Puffed out and taut with the desire for gold
(Six day to infect and rob, and one to preach)
A fever burned them and its sickness spread.
Before the Spaniards first set foot on land,
The natives should have drowned them in their boats,
While they were still unsteady on their feet,
Or spiced a lethal dish of poisoned meat,
Or waited till they slept and sliced their throats.
Too late they learned to fear and understand.
The exhausted Spaniards could have died that day,
The ocean's admiral swallowed without trace.
But a wholesome banquet greeted their arrival,
Which guaranteed their murderous survival.
They poisoned instead the courteous island race,
Which sickened, dwindled and was washed away.
Columbus sailed four times to find Japan,
Named scores of islands and to Seville sent
Cargoes of slaves. (Despite the profits made,
The Queen of Spain was saddened by the trade.)
The plunderer so misplaced his continent
That it wears the name of another landless man.*
The speaker is an 18C Englishman with investments in sugar
economics I cannot explain.
The rum is brewed from sugar, that I know,
A Caribbean island warm and wet,
An island called .. er .. sorry .. I forget.
You plant a frond, sit back and watch it grow.
Take my advice: invest in sugar-cane.
The work is done by blacks. Yes, slaves, that's true.
You'd not believe me what a price they cost.
My agent sent the bills. I nearly cried.
Then fever caught them and a handful died,
A handful more .. a hundred guineas lost.
Steer clear of sugar's my advice to you.
They're all converted to the Christian creed.
I sent a cousin out, a worthy man,
Without a bean, but useful in his way.
Baptised the lot and showed them how to pray.
Ye gods, they work as little as they can.
I hear he's taught a few of them to read.
What good will reading do them? Tell me that.
They'll want silk stockings next and cuffs of lace.
My second cousin's a well-meaning fool.
I've called him home and shut his Sunday school.
How can I make a profit from the place,
With slaves in spectacles growing fat and wise?
I know as well as you the system's wrong,
But try and change it? That way chaos lies.
Sailmakers, shipwrights, runners of the rope
Thrown on the scrapheap and without a hope,
Stagnation in all active enterprise.
Money must circulate to make us strong.
Destroy the system and the banks will fall,
The markets slump, the harvest rot unsold,
Girls without dowries, nobody to wed.
The crown will topple from the royal head.
Powerless to magic paper into gold
His printed face will have no worth at all.
More work by Jack
Harvey will appear in Candelabrum Poetry Magazine Volume 10 Numbers
3 & 4 (2001)
[Britain] Reared on a hop-farm in the Teme Valley. Educated at the Alice
Ottley School (Worcester). Read English, French, Ancient History at Durham
University. Secretary in Higher Education. Some time homemaker with two
children. Salesperson in a bookshop. Further secretarial work: Milk Marketing
Board and for a dental factory. Now retired. Has visited Sicily, Cyprus,
Morocco, Tunisia, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, Turkey and the four Mediterranean
Roman provinces. Began composing poetry in middle life. Contributor to
poetry magazines including Acumen, Iron, Weyfarers, Staple, Poetry Nottingham,
Outposts and Candelabrum. Describes herself as "an occasional
poet in both senses of the phrase … I write nearly always about a particular
occasion, trying to pin down incidents from childhood onward; more recently,
incidents from visits to the Middle East. I find the Romans rather same-ish,
one triumphal arch being very like another, but I like the ensemble: the
light, birds, plants, etc."
SOME POEMS by Janet
Having by heart
the Supertramp’s ‘Sweet Chance’
him grace to know - if only once -
cuckoo call, I had not thought
To share his
shadowed joy so many miles
spring and years from schoolroom verse.
Sweet - and strange
- chance that hung above the world
Ararat a rainbow like
seal of Noah’s covenant;
tolled a distant cuckoo’s bell
For Ani laid
among wild flowers to rest.
And though I
could not catch those glistening bands
so close, nor cage the calling bird -
Its notes were
faded sooner than the arc -
Wrapped in remembered
poetry, I stored
My moment that
might never come again.
Roman Temple: Dougga, Tunisia
its god, bereft of worshippers,
The ruined temple
rises on the valley’s rim;
among its flaking capitols and
the roofless sanctuary walls.
Now, the light
of evening on its crumbling face,
It sits serene,
like some old man outside his door,
Whose way it
is to listen to the summer sounds
Of distant sheep
and singing of a few late birds.
Further work by
Janet Faraday will be appearing from time to time in CANDELABRUM
MERVYN LINFORD [Britain] Born 1946 in Fleet,
Hampshire. Spent early years in London's east end. Moved to Pitsea (Essex)
in 1951. Now lives in Southend-on-Sea. Educated Timberlog County Secondary
Modern School (Basildon, Essex). Has worked in sales, transport and construction.
Spent two years in the armed forces. Active member of Southend Poetry Group.
Contributor of poetry to magazines including Acumen, Outposts,
Weyfarers, Iota, Staple, New
Hope International, The London Magazine, PN Review ,Candelabrum
Countryman, and to the RCP's 1998 anthology THE
RED CANDLE TREASURY. Has had work twice included in The
Independent Newspaper's Poem of the Day section, and broadcast
on BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Essex and Radio Essex. Won
the 1985 Hastings Open Poetry Competition and the 1989 John
Clare Poetry Competition. Third prize in the 1986 Douglas
Gibson Memorial Poetry Competition. Has been highly commended in
many other competitions. Book publications include TWO ESSEX POETS (with
Frederick Vanson) and TALKING TO THE BEES (The Brentham Press, St.
Albans), and AUTUMN MANUSCRIPT published in December 2001.
Mervyn Linford has often been on walkabout, like John
Clare and W.H. Davies, with both of whom he has a fellow feeling "not only
for their sometimes itinerant life style, but also for their deep love
of nature, and because despite their lack of formal education they devoted
their lives to self-improvement and the pursuit of poetry."
His work has been remarked on favourably by Michael Schmidt
Review comments on Mervyn Linford's work
Two Essex Poets
I enjoyed all Linford's poems, and look
forward to his next collection."
Angela Topping (ORE)
"Linford is a craftsman of the finest sort. He carves
meaning and metaphor, observation and emotion, into dynamic shapes, leaving
no unpolished images . . . . . He is always connected to the rhythms and
cadences of nature and to the changing seasons."
Hilary Mellon (OU POETRY SOCIETY )
"Get your copy, all your poetry-lovers out there! It would
be a bargain at double the price."
M.L. McCarthy (Editor, CANDELABRUM)
AUTUMN MANUSCRIPT (£3.50p plus 50p post and
packing) is available from The Littoral Press, 38 Barringtons, 10
Sutton Rd., Southend-on-Sea, SS2 5NA. Cheques should be made payable to
Mervyn Linford. US price $7 plus $3 postage and packing: payment in dollar
bills only, please.
SOME POEMS by MERVYN LINFORD
Why do they laugh at me? I do no wrong.
I always sweep the market till it's clean -
Run errands for their sandwiches and tea
And sing my songs to please and entertain them.
I am a man who always tries to please.
Perhaps my words belong to younger lips,
But can I help my lack of education?
I want to learn, yet cannot quite remember -
And yet I'm strong, I help them to unload
Their vans, set out the stalls with all they need,
And smile when they think it's fun to goad me.
I do not understand, my face is red,
My hands are fat, my fingers thick and round.
I am so tall I cannot help but stoop
Instead of walking proudly, like a soldier.
I am a fool, but even fools need love.
Why is the world made lonely by their laughter?
Leaning across the bridge's parapet,
Looking down, at two who are looking up,
We watch the swallows flying there between us.
We listen for the sound of wings,
but cannot hear them;
They glide as if the air were oiled -
As if the wind had lost the willow's voice.
We notice how their backs are sheened with blueness,
How poised they are when hawking for a fly;
And, having seen, we drop a few remarks
That echo through the arches underneath us.
I feel cocooned within this wood,
Enmeshed by all the gossamers that spin
And ferry gold from sunlight through the leaves.
Is this where I begin -
A second womb, transforming by belief,
Dissolving flesh and challenging ideas?
And when, like those that loop along my arm,
Will I exchange my heaviness for wings -
Or, like that snail, grow cumbersome with horns?
As on a table bowls of fruit
Compel the eager hand to choose,
Then so it is within this wood
Where bluebells in the name of good
Embolden me, call out aloud,
To walk among them, like a cloud.
The yaffle laughs to see me so
In golden sunshafts to and fro
Between the urge to take them home
Or leave them to the woods alone;
As on a table, tiers of cakes
Temptation, of the moment, makes.
On certain days there is a slant of light
That compensates for summer on the wane
And gilds the clear periphery of sight.
It scintillates on hedgerows down the lane
Where spiders weave geometries of silk
And sunlight is uplifted on a skein.
Across the ploughed proficiency of fields
The narrowing striations draw the eye
Towards the green infinity of hills.
There's not a cloud to sully in the sky
Where blue is overarching and unbound
And autumn an advancement of the mind.
A robin's thin solemnity of sound
Disloges here and there a single leaf
That adds to the mosaic of the ground.
The swallows are a semaphore of grief
That signify what absence has avowed,
And leave the woods with holly for a wreath.
Let us together
Through the dying season
Walk to the corner
Of a time remembered;
Turn from the treason
Of the sighing wind,
As the last few leaves
Fall from the embers
Of forgotten fire.
Let us through ashes
Like the risen phoenix
Flare with the passion
Of a love rekindled;
Burn in the furnace
Of a far emotion,
As the first cold tear
Falls from the lesion
Of the light departed.
Work by Mervyn Lindford appears frequently in CANDELABRUM
MICHAEL FANTINA [ USA] Educated St.Elizabeth's
School and Bernard's High School (both Bernardsville, New Jersey), Bellarmine
University (Louisville, Kentucky) and Kean University (Union, New Jersey).
Psychology graduate, University College Rutyers (New Brunswick). Spent
two years in US Army military intelligence. Has been registration supervisor
at Florida International University (Miami), an administrator at Rutgers
University, a day-labourer, a cook, a letter-carrier, a cold-roll mill
operator. Currently works as a security guard. Has contributed poems to
several magazines which he describes as "usually short-lived", and more
recently to The Lyric [USA] and Candelabrum Poetry Magazine [Britain].
Has had work included in the anthologies The Red Candle Treasury, ed. M.L.
McCarthy [The Red Candle Press, Britain: 1998] and The Book of Eibon, ed.
Robert Price [Chaosium Press, USA: 2002]. Poems featured on several websites,
including The Poetry Sonnet Scroll, The New Formalist, Ironwood Journal,
Nightscapes, The Writer's Hood, Dark Moon Rising, Shadow Keep, Twilight
Frequently referred to in Supernatural Horror in
Literature: A Core Collection and Reference Guide ed. M.Tymn [Boker
& Boker: 1989]. Night Terrors , a sequence of twenty-four
sonnets, will be published in The Old Great Ones ed. Robert
Price [Fedogan & Bremer] in 2003. Interests include the American Civil
War and the Second World War. Impressed by the philosophers Martin Bubba
SOME POEMS BY MICHAEL FANTINA
This long dried mountain gully, like a flume,
Once poured a never lapsing flood. The plain
Is now a sun-scorched desert lacking rain;
Long toppled is each basalt-builded tomb,
And only just the ghost of rare perfume
Wafts spectre-like, where once a chaterlaine
Kept tryst with some forgotten Charlemagne
Whose name is lost in unremembered doom.
Here find the mighty sandstone avenues,
But now no wizard's spell remakes, renews
These wide paved streets. Here find a hammered grail,
Nearby the bleaching crozier and flail,
As well as mushroom skull, this royal head,
By sweet young girls once kissed and garlanded.
I cull the slate-grey, half unshapen dooms
From stars and nebulae that no eye sees,
Across the spreading unnamed galaxies,
And keep them in my vaulted panelled rooms,
In magic jars that cage the dark simoons.
I fashion potent spells from each ot these,
So that my dark-eyed demoness I please,
With opals, beryls and distilled perfumes.
A princess from the sable unbridged vasts,
I summon here across forgotten pasts;
I take to me from out the starry seas
A sorceress-queen from bright Antares;
I give each silver ingots and gold bars,
To learn strange pleasures from beyond the stars.
The phone that does not ring, that coffee stain,
These and your salient scent mark well
One graceful, lovely, and profoundly vain.
Who might have guessed your absence could so drain
My strength, while I remember all too well
The phone that does not ring, that coffee stain.
I hide my wounds, my deep and secret pain,
And there are none to share. I cannot tell
Once graceful, lovely, and profoundly vain.
Like an old wizard I now seek some bane
With potent magic to forget, expel
The phone that does not ring, that coffee stain.
Curse memory, it beats like freezing rain.
I cannot staunch it, nor can I repel
One graceful, lovely, and profoundly vain.
Now with this talisman I here ordain
That memory is void, and so dispel
The phone that does not ring, that coffee stain,
One graceful, lovely, and profoundly vain.
Our love's a ship, and it has run aground,
For we are blind to lighthouse and to buoys,
While waves that lap the reef are but a noise
We rarely hear within this stormy sound.
And, too, we are stone deaf where grey waves pound
Against this jagged rock that rips, destroys,
And shatters pretty ships like helpless toys,
Marring the sand with those but newly drowned.
We level accusations on the deck,
And, heedless as she's battered by the sea,
We trade our bitter quips, sarcastically,
As deeper sinks this once proud, groaning wreck.
The sea, remorseless to both king and slave,
Rolls over us in one titanic wave.
Work by Michael Fantina appears frequently in CANDELABRUM