The Balham Experience

Hello Poetry Lovers

Well, I’ve knocked around the poetry business for some years (since 2017 anyway), and thought I’d seen it all, but today I had a brand new poetry experience.

Lovely poet Hannah Stanislaus organised a poetry event for Cancer Research in Balham High Street. What I didn’t realise was that it was a reading outside the shop. Almost street theatre.

Terrified, I watched the wonderful Kliche Kingston put on a vibrant performance telling genuinely funny gags and some marvellous poetry. Then amazing Hannah read her own fantastic pieces. Kliche and Hannah inspired me and gave me courage to take up that mike! My immediate audience being that bus stop queue.

Lucy, Hannah’s lovely daughter, held the bucket with elegance

It was funny reading poetry to a passing crowd, but also exhilarating. The only pain was that I had to keep turning the page! I took my treasured Beano Book of poems, the first one I ever did because it held pieces about friends who were no longer with us. The ambience and atmosphere between us was wonderful.

It was to run for half hour during lunchtime but as there were only the three of us, we packed up after 20 minutes, which I didn’t think was too bad for a first run.

Hannah is running these readings every Friday and Saturday at 12 noon. Do go to the Cancer Research Charity shop, in Balham High Street and support these readings. Or if you wanted to, take up the mike yourself and read to the people. This is a real and vital cause. Hannah is on Facebook if you wanted to book a place.

I returned elated and drained and I look forward to getting back there again on the 17th.

Thank you for that unique experience, Hannah. Raising a glass to you.

Thanks for tuning in, PL, and sharing my new experience. We’ll be back with the Sealey Challenge Part II real soon….

The Letter from Hell

Hello Poetry Lovers

As you know, I’ve been doing the Sealey Challenge, but not only that, I’ve been writing a prompt for every day of August. Puff!

Set by the wonderful @rzu on Instagram, I have been going flat out. I thought I would share one or two with you. The first is A Letter from Hell – a vile experience we have all shared. Read on;

The next one is an Eintou- all syllable count is out the window, I’m afraid. I’ve simply done 2 words, 4 words, 6 and 8 then back again. Have a look;

Thanks for tuning in, PL’s.

I’m in the last stages of The Sealey Challenge of which I will give a full report….stay tuned.

The Sealey Challenge (part one)

Hello Poetry Lovers

I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying the Sealey Challenge.

For the unenlightened, one has to read a poetry pamphlet every day for 31 days of August. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, not the easy feat it first sounded. Not to mention running out of books!

However, August is flying by alarmingly quickly and I seem to be on the case so far!

Oh yes, Dobby and Fish have got in on the action, and have read one or two. Dobby has particularly taken to Ogden Nash, that witty American poet.

So far, I have loved and read Greg Freeman, Rodney Wood (twice), Hannah Stanislaus, Barbara Brownskirt, Pratibha Castle, to name but many…

I also thought it would be nice to feature some children’s poetry this time. Such a delight to read.

As I said, Dobby, Fish and I had to go to the library to replenish my feeble collection of pamphlets

After an emotional kerfuffle, I selected these books

Us three look forward to tackling these, particularly Clive James, a much missed clever writer.

So stay tuned, PL’s and fingers crossed that I (and Dobby and Fish) get through the remainder of August with this wonderful and exacting task.

We’ll keep you posted!

Poetry Demons

Hello Poetry Lovers

Now, during this heat and the long days of August, instead of feeling sorry for myself as usual, I have been writing daily August poetry prompts and I have really been enjoying them.

I thought I’d share one of them with you, this particular prompt My Demons Write Poetry gave me the chance to sketch some imps. For some reason, I’ve always wanted to draw them. Anyway, read on…..

My Demons write poetry

while I sit here drinking coffee. 

I offer to help but they seem

to have the task in hand.  

How do they know what to put?!

How did they get that Pandora’s

Box key?!

The one that unlocks feelings, 

memories and emotions?! 

It seems to be their real forte,

and they have no intention of

returning it.  

Nor the pencil, paper nor iPad.  

They walk in uninvited, 

make themselves at home.  

I’ve seen a lot worse houseguests,

they’re polite enough, so I really 

shouldn’t complain. 

They text me when they’ve finished

and to expect them the next day. 

H Moulson 2022

I had great fun writing that one. They’re quite nice demons really. Like monsters, not all of them are nasty.

Thanks for reading, PL’s and please keep cool in this heat. We’ll be back with more poetry action real soon…

Villanelle Recipe

Hello Poetry Lovers

We return today to that thorn in the side poetry form – the Villanelle.

The lovely Poetry Performance regular and genius poet, Connaire Kensit has unfolded this enigmatic structure with a wonderful and concise villanelle. Do read on;

Whatever will be, will be.

Or will it?

We all agree that nature has fixed laws;

It seems our fate’s set solid, hard as ice

If we assume that all things have a cause.

The sardine can’t escape the dolphin’s jaws;

Predictions of eclipses are precise;

We all agree that nature has fixed laws.

Uncertainty will rarely win applause;

Mere chance events seem somehow not quite nice.

But why assume that all things have a cause?

We know our understanding has its flaws;

Errors have snared us more than once or twice;

But all agree that nature has fixed laws.

Confirmed determinists will clutch at straws;

Einstein felt sure God wouldn’t play at dice.

But why assume that all things have a cause?

All long-lived ladies face the menopause,

But weather forecasts can be imprecise.

We all agree that nature has fixed laws,

But why assume that all things have a cause?

Wasn’t that just a beautiful piece?! I think we should all write a villanelle after Connaire’s inspiration. I’m getting my head down now!

Thanks for tuning, PL’s. We’ll be back with more poetry action real soon…..


Hello Poetry Lovers

Welcome back to the talk show studio

(rapturous applause – host silences them with a stern look)

Today’s special guest is the wonderful poet and real talent, Sharon Andrews.

(Pandemonium- Security stir uneasily)

Now settle down, everyone. We want a nice dignified round of applause now for Sharon Andrews…!!

(Sharon wafts gracefully down the lighted staircase to loud clapping and joy from the audience)

Sharon, welcome to the show and thank you for being our guest tonight.

The pleasure’s all mine, Heather. Thank you for inviting me

I adore your thick false eyelashes. Very Dusty Springfield! Goes great with your leather mini skirt.

Ah thank you. Picked it up in Chelsea Girl this afternoon. I think I’ve got stuck to your seat though…

Well, only a cool lady like yourself can pull that one off – and er – lets hope you do. (Huge applause and agreement from the audience)

Now, settle down everyone while we concentrate on our guest.

So Sharon, I swooned over you on Instagram, fill us in a bit on your background.

I live in West Sussex with husband, Paul and our pup Einstein. Between us, we have three children who have all flown the nest.

I work in administration for my local fire service.

Einstein looks such a cute dog. I think Dobby is jealous!

When did poetry become a part of your life?

Poetry has been part of my life since childhood. I started reading at a young age and my first poetry was When we were young and Now we are six by AA Milne.

I started writing in primary school but became more passionate a writer during my moody teen years.

Beautiful books to grow up on. Only the best. Those teen years were long, weren’t they.

Who or what have been your biggest influences?

Music has always been a big influence. I adore the lyrics of artists like Justin Currie and Passenger.

Oh, fantastic choices there. A lot better than mine.

Tell us what you are working on next….

I am slowly starting to write a novel. It’s a modern tale about relationships and pets. It’s probably going to take a long time as my writing time is limited.

Fabulous, we’ll look forward to that (audience cheer in full agreement)

That is a fascinating subject. My cat is a big part of my life so that must be very absorbing to go into. Please keep us updated.

Now (audience gasp) for the ultimate question; What was the best gig you’ve ever done – and the worst ?

I’ll do the worst one first, which was an open mic I attended at my local library. Nobody told me you had to register so having plucked up the courage, I never got to perform.

The best ones I do are on Instagram Live with my poetry friends across the globe.

Yes, they are indeed very good, and really worth tuning into. You read beautiful poetry on there.

Give it a try everyone – inksomnia_poetry on Instagram. Highly recommended.

Tell us what you’re doing later tonight, disco? nightclub? Somewhere groovy, I expect.

Erm – actually, Heather, I’m going to try and get out of this very clingy leather skirt. And one of my false eyelashes is coming loose, so I think it’s home for me…

Well, thank you for coming on the show, Sharon. It’s been a delight

(hearty applause from the audience that turns into a standing ovation)

(Our guest climbs awkwardly back up the lighted stairs)

Wasn’t Sharon an absolute joy?! Do seek out this talented poet, you really won’t be disappointed.

The book below is Sharon’s latest collection, full of wonderful and clever haiku, do treat yourselves. Available from this link;

A soul full of haiku

Thanks for coming to the talk show studio, PL’s. We’ll be back with more poetry adventures soon…..

My Favourite Things

Hello Poetry Lovers

I thought I’d write about my favourite subject this week – Me. Or rather the things I like.

The wonderful poet Miriam Otto gave this great prompt to list the things we love. This is what I came up with —

Ten of my Favourite Things

Coffee – the first sip of the morning

Wine – the first sip of the evening

My black cat and her velvet paws

Sketching – everybody and everything

Writing poetry in my scruffy Columbo notebook 

My friends – I cherish them all 

Plays and theatres – I can dress up

Photographs – Instagram has been a lifeline

My adult children – I forgive them for ditching the toys! 

My dollshouses – I’ve learnt so much about interior design

Gratitudes – see above 

Heather Moulson 2022

Wasn’t that a great prompt?! Do look out for Miriam and her new collection Wildfire and Magic out now. Miriam is on Instagram as @miriamo77

Thanks for tuning in, PL’s We’ll be back with a cool interview very soon….

Poetry Basket Review

Hello Poetry Lovers

Welcome back to the Poetry Basket Review. We have a stunning collection in our basket today.

Riveted by Graham Buchan’s impressive new collection The Pleasure of Firing Back, I gave it a golden review. Please do read and really consider buying this very strong book of poems.

The Pleasure of Firing Back
by Graham Buchan

Graham Buchan has an impressive background, and this is his fifth collection of poetry, published for the third time with Lapwing Publications. Dedicated to the memory of his father, with wistful, poignant words at the beginning of this powerful collection. These words set us in the right mood.

For those not familiar with this poet, do look at his YouTube channel for some impressive readings. The link is below.

So, our journey begins, tenderness intertwined with the horrors of war and disturbing images. However, by the time we are drawn into these, we do not want to go back. We get deeply involved very quickly.

Such as the powerful opening of the short stanza Father. The central figure of this collection. The words an old-age orphan are bitter ones, and hard to swallow. An unwelcome status. A strong first piece to embrace the fresh reader.

Pints is endearing and sordid, with the title of the book resounding. Blood red, disturbing, and the awareness that the poet will not be gentle with us. Memoire of an Optimist gives us the full-on horrors of war, tender words threaded with bloodshed. The poet draws you in nicely and horrifically, chilling us to the bone.

Stadium is a real historical human situation, and Yard is so vivid that we too feel the urgency to hide slayings from children. A sickening feeling. We share man’s inhumanity to man, the starkness that human beings are so cruel to each other.

Impressive prose pieces such as Imbros, and The Torturer and his Love for Beethoven really emphasise this point. The latter having such gruesome brutality riding alongside a passion for Beethoven. As we’re taken through the elements that define him, we witness the narrator accepting his fate.

Number is valid and horrific with the tyranny of Stalin in the Ukraine. I really love the listed details, and how these atrocities are recurring. The Stories That Don’t Get Told voices the details of families lost forever which we should indeed be told about. Very absorbing.

Personal favourite We Found…. A love story that didn’t last, and lessons learnt. Adored this piece. The End is sordid and yet it isn’t. The graphic words make us flinch but we wouldn’t dream of stopping reading.

Howard and Miriam jumped out at me, and was enthralling. Toot-Toot, Beep-Beep is threaded so intricately that we are absorbed. This collection is hard and bumpy journey but one where we wouldn’t look back.

Review by H. Moulson 21st July 2022

Thanks for reading, PL’s and do treat yourselves to this extraordinary collection. Available from Graham Buchan himself. Catch him reading live real soon. I also recommend viewing Mr Buchan on YouTube for some impressive readings…..

Mirror Issue

Hello Poetry Lovers

Today I thought we should have some mirror action. Mirrors are so intriguing to draw and write about. They are infinite and mysterious. So for fun, I’ve penned a couple of pieces.

One’s reflection in the mirror is:
Hopeful in the morning

Dodgy in the afternoon
Past caring in the evening
Avoided at night

Skeltonic Verse

Mirror mirror on the wall

Look at the dust in this hall

How will get my kids to school?! 

Mirror mirror on the door

My husband went off with a whore

My new boyfriend is an awful bore

Mirror mirror by the shed

Why is he no good in bed? 

When he sleeps, I hope he’s dead

Mirror mirror on the ceiling

Why am I so devoid of feeling?

Sexual antics are not healing

Mirror mirror by the sink

I look haggard, do you think?

I really need a good stiff drink 

Mirror mirror by the stairs

I’ve met someone who cares! 

Blankly your reflection stares

Mirror mirror you really should

Tell me why I feel this good

Sadly you’re only made of wood 

Wasn’t that just fun?! Please put any mirror inspired poems on a postcard, and I’ll do more mirror sketches.

Thanks for tuning in, PL’s. Next issue we have a marvellous Poetry Basket Review. Don’t touch that dial!!!


Hello Poetry Lovers

Thanks for joining us today as we have the wonderful and talented poet Hannah Stanislaus

(audience applauds ecstatically – host bangs a ruler on the desk) (There is silence)

Okay, gang, lets give a big hand for Hannah Stanislaus

(Standing ovation – security cut short their fag break and head on back inside)

Hello Hannah, thank you so much for coming on the show.

Now you have burst vibrantly on the poetry scene, and your work has been brilliant and tireless, so tell us a bit about your background…

Pleasure, Heather. I grew up in Tooting and my Mum was a single parent to all three of us. I have one sister and one brother.

I had a decent childhood and adult life, then at 27 I became a mum to my beautiful daughter, Lucy.

I have had ups and downs like everyone else, and in 2017, I became homeless after leaving my daughter’s dad. I had to start life all over again and here I am.

You’ve had a hard journey, Hannah, and one that’s now paid off.

When did poetry become a part of your life?

Wow! What a question! I wrote my first poem on 6th June 2020. The reason I remember that is because it was the day I gave up drugs. Six months previously I gave up alcohol.

Oh Hannah, how wonderful you remember your first poem being written. Even more wonderful is you gave up the things that hurt you. That’s really admirable.

Yes, and I started writing but I went for a career in politics. In May 2021, I was elected as a local Councillor into the same borough I walked in to homeless 4 years previously. I did 5 months and was bullied out of the role by the party I represented and in December 2021, I attended my first ever open mic night and I have not looked back!

That is so impressive, Hannah. You would have certainly got my vote.

I hear this about politics, the knives do come out. That’s rotten but they unwittingly steered you to a stronger medium. And I am so glad you went on that open mic…

.(audience shout up ’here! here!’)

Who are your biggest influences?

Wow, so many I can mention. You have Lemn Sissay and Maya Angelou who are like my poetry Gods. Their work is divine!

On the scene, there are many more, too many to name, but I love listening to and reading poetry.

There is no right or wrong, no good or bad. Every poet writes from their heart and head.

Photo by Hannah Stanislaus 2022

(Round of applause from the audience) That was so well said, Hannah. And you have a beautiful picture of Lemn there. I’m so envious of you sitting down with your hero. What a moment that must have been.

Now, tell us how your new collection Extremely Aggressive Uneducated & Rough came about.

I went to Paper Tiger Poetry at the Teahouse Theatre in Vauxhall, I performed there and in February of this year, I was invited to publish a book.

My publisher had said ”Who wants to do a book?” and I said “ME” and he said ”Okay”. I thought he was joking!

I signed a 5 year book deal with William Cornelius Harris, London Poetry Books and I took two months to choose the 30 poems in the debut anthology.

The title was brought about because someone on Facebook said that I was ’extremely aggressive’, ’uneducated’ and her husband said I was ’rough’. I thought what a bloody good book title! There you go!

What an extraordinary story! I don’t know what to feel about these ignorant people who called you those names because as you say, they inspired that amazing book title.

That’s very impressive about being published, you have been in the poetry world for such a short time. Yet, you’ve produced this stunning collection. You’ve really gone for it, and you’re an inspiration to us all. (Audience cheers)

Okay, we come to the ultimate question’ What is your best poetry gig so far, and then the worst?

No No No! What a question! Best gig is every time I get on stage and one person applauds!

Worst one was an open mic, which shall remain nameless, I was sitting around for 2 hours and then told to recite my poetry over music and there was no audience!! I never returned!

That’s because you were too good for them, Hannah. Absolutely their loss! And I thoroughly agree on the former.

So I believe you’re performing at the High Tide Festival in Twickenham on Sunday 17th July. Don’t miss this, everyone. A stunning and unique poet. Bless you for coming in and talking to us, Hannah.

To purchase Extremely Aggressive, Uneducated & Rough, go to or purchase a copy from the lovely poet personally at the High Tide Festival. Look forward to seeing you all there.

Wasn’t Hannah just fabulous, PL’s?! A fascinating and insightful guest that you could talk to all day. Keep a lookout for this extraordinary poet.

Thanks for tuning in, Poetry Lovers, we’ll be back with more poetry action real soon…..

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