Feedback Fiona Moore,  6 March 2017 
 There’s something honest, stark, and closely argued about Fiona’s poems that sets them apart. Take the first one she chose to read (‘London Street, Wet Day’), ‘I walk fast thinking about time / passing too quickly this week / and wonder how much I’ve got left / until …’ Note the clever line breaks and the natural cadence – almost a stream of consciousness played on the page. The poem moves back to childhood with heightened awareness of shapes and textures. There’s a light brush with spirituality (a ladder, a rosary), before careless tree-climbing. A life in reverse: a play with time. Fiona’s pamphlet poems are held together by reaction to a personal death. A few of these preceded political poems sparked by her early career in the Foreign Office, taking her behind the iron curtain. Residencies in Athens and Warsaw in particular, inspired poems acutely aware that people are pretty awful to one another, especially during wartime. ‘Visiting a block of flats on the Warsaw Ghetto site’ questions how today’s casual visitor might consider those trapped there during the third Reich. The drama invokes the Olympian gods in a straightforward way, pulling the reader up in surprise. ‘The Cell at Plὃtzensee’ cages a similar possibility in triplets. Five meat hooks hung in a basement once used by the Gestapo might plausibly have dangled the conspirators who attempted to assassinate Hitler. If there wasn’t much humour from Warsaw, ‘Loukanikos’’ four repeated chiming syllables present a flamboyant image of a dog whose invariable presence at scenes of violence made it a mascot. There was more humour in ‘Walls: or, the middle of a discussion about walls and Brexit’ – an extended consideration of the stripes of Walls’ Neapolitan icecream block, which morphed, after 30 odd lines, into a poem about difference and immigration. The winning final line was ‘It could be that simple’. Several of Fiona’s poems invoked ghosts. In ‘To the Reader’, ‘They hand segmented fruit, one to the next, to share, / and smoke a pipe.’  A more typical ghost poem (‘Limehouse’) implicates an absent person. ‘Is it you following me, or I you – / sending rather than seeing / you who look so tall around each corner, / and your likeness slipping away / a shadow on water? ‘The Shirt’ and ‘Night Letter’ were infused with helplessness. Once again, the poet’s directness takes the reader by surprise. ‘So / if you’re out there, please / forgive me for imagining / you out there.’   ** It is always worth hearing a why poems from the floor were chosen. Sixteen readings, including some multiples, was a record. And most of them noticed the more cerebral aspect of our theme; “And isn’t a song, or a poem… a game language plays to restructure time?” Brodsky’s quotation takes on the way a poem plays, tightening and squeezing time through metaphor and juxtaposition. John Ormond’s name was unknown to me and if he writes more poems like ‘Cathedral Builders’, he is well worth pursuing. Men who ‘got rheumatism, / Decided it was time to give it up, // To leave the spire to others’, make an extended metaphor for life and time. Also read were Grace Nichols’ lyrical ‘One Night Comes Like a Blessing’, which ends ‘ready to meet the daily pandemonium of living’; ‘Students in Bertorelli’s’ by the enigmatic Rosemary Tonks and Elaine Feinstein’s ‘By the Cam’ with its delicious stanza break. ‘One little gulp and //I’d be gone without a splutter.’ Thomas Hardy’s ‘Before Life and After’; a limerick called ‘Relativity’ and a ‘restructuring’ of Newton’s prose from Michael C in very plausible poetic form. There was a child’s prizewinning poem ‘Don’t Run From The Wasp’, a Robert Frost, and an elegy to ‘Jeremy’. Full marks to John L who played with time in a way that was both scientific and fun (‘What is Time’). So did Sally L’s unusual ‘Marsh Lady in her Bath’. ‘Her hips and thighs muddily wallow’. Peter snatched time more conventionally from a photograph in ‘Nimbus’ and in Pol’s ’ ‘Saint Joan by GBS’, ‘Funny time’ gets ‘Stretched and squeezed / Like a playful accordion’. My own choice, ‘Tampering with Time’, was a relationship poem that walked through the hours after remedial work on a grandfather clock.     3 Poets in Holkham woods  Fiona, Sally. Christine