Creative Work: ‘Withdrawal’ by Francesca Lo Basso

Creative WorksThis week we are bringing you another piece fresh from the Kingston MFA programme. Francesca Lo Basso takes us to the front lines in this poem whose rhythm echoes that of soldiers’ footsteps. ‘Harrowing’ would be the best way to describe this piece, which uses the sonnet form to hammer out a poignant point. 


The question is: how do you stop a war?
Your body frozen, your mouth metallic—
through what new breach will you attack this chore?
As bullets rain from gun barrels phallic
and blistering bombs burden, burst, and blaze,
do you lay down your rifle, mock defeat?
Turn tanks in their tracks, greyed blur in the haze—
reliance, defiance, chivalrous retreat?
Do you beg? Do you wheedle? Do you con?
Does your voice resound? Does it rattle, roar?
The question still remains as we move on
to the refrain: how do you stop a war?
Empty words for soldiers now departed
because the hallowed truth is you don’t start it.

This poem finds its strength where most pieces might fail, in asking questions. The rhythmic questioning of outdated practices only emphasises the underlying theme – the pointlessness of war. 

Join us again next week for another jaw-dropping piece!


Creative Work: ‘Weathering (Winter on Nantucket)’ by Julia Rose Lewis

Creative WorksWPN is proud to be introducing a long line of phenomenal poets over the next few weeks, beginning with Kingston University Creative Writing MFA student, Julia Rose Lewis. Julia is not a stranger to form, often creating complicated works that rely on structure as much as content. Feel the cool rocks. Taste the salty water on your tongue. Listen to the crunch of the sand beneath your feet. All the senses are awakened as we travel to Nantucket, sitting on the rocks as the water crashes beneath us and the winter settles into our bones.

Weathering (Winter on Nantucket)






and wood.


he works with, and always water.

To the hand,

the sand is sticky and slippery the stone.

The island is a rock, Continue reading

Creative Work: ‘Extract of a Sick Morning’ by Maria Copley

Creative WorksOn this glorious Sunday, we have a short poem from Maria Copley debut poet and writer to Words, Pauses, Noises. Maria is a recent graduate from Kingston University’s creative writing undergraduate degree programme. In her poem, ‘Extract of a Sick Morning’ she shares her poetic anecdote on life’s ups and downs.

Extract of a Sick Morning

Salivate in delight of love,

salivate when things go wrong

and your stomach revolves.

Salivate at the presence of clear water,

salivate at the feeling of loss,

salivate and wash yourself in tears;

salivate life death will dry it all.


Short and stoic. Maria observes the body physical with our obstacles that culminate together when we hit our lows, and reminds us that life is ours to salivate over. If you think you have what it takes, send your submission to and we’ll post your literary nuggets of wisdom.

Creative Work: ‘Rose’s Wall’ by Joe Baldwin

Creative WorksThis week’s post came to us from our good friend down in Southampton, Joe Baldwin.  A lot of writers are afraid to explore the world of science fiction. Some will claim that it’s not a serious genre, it isn’t worth writing about and nobody in their right mind will take it seriously.  For these reasons it is often overlooked when works of fiction are being considered for awards.  Thankfully, writers like Joe are carrying the torch and showing us that writing about monsters and superstition isn’t just for children.  

Rose’s Wall

 Rose opened his eyes, closed them again and breathed a deep sigh. He felt the sun bear down on his lined and marked face, making his skin a burning coal fire. Another day. Rose hated daylight. He loved darkness. Darkness was quiet, solitude and stillness. Daylight was the desperate riding into town, the fingers on cold steel and the minds on murder, the blood seeping onto the parched sand like the petals of the flower whose name he shared. What Rose wanted, more than anything else, was a day off.

Instead, he got to his feet and walked slowly to the tub. His body ached. He winced with every breath, tracing his fingers over the dark bruises on his ribs. The taste of last night’s liquor was still on his tongue, and he felt like a scorched wasteland inside his mouth. As he climbed into the water he was already picturing himself walking into the store and buying ten bottles more to get himself off to sleep. But that was a long way off. He still had the struggle of another day to get through before he could enter that blissful paradise.

Continue reading

Creative Piece: ‘The Spiders’ by Catherine Franklin

Creative WorksThis week, Words, Pauses, Noises returns to both poetry, 
and to one of our former WPN contributors. Catherine Franklin shares her alternative take on the eight-legged creatures that scurry above our heads at night in her delightful poem, ‘The Spiders’.



The Spiders


For years I watched the cobwebs lace their way
Across the ceiling high above my bed.
A canopy of tangled works of art,
Progressing nightly, thriving thread by thread.

I watched the different spiders come and go,
And saw them lie in wait to catch their prey.
Once satisfied, they left their webs behind
To gather dust, and then were on their way.

I grew used to their nocturnal routines,
And gazed in awe as they displayed their skill.
Yet as they slaved at mastering their craft,
All night through I lay completely still.

My eyes, alive, would dart around the room.
Adjusted fully to the lack of light.
The rest of me stayed motionless in bed,
My limbs so weary by that time of night.

Insomnia had rearranged my life;
The evenings dragged and filled my heart with dread.
Too tired to play like any other child,
I chose to watch the spiders live instead.


The act of watching these creatures leaves the readers with more questions about the little child, than the peculiar pastime. But there’s an emphasis on the visual that is appreciated in this iambic pentameter piece. While many may not agree to free reign that spiders have in our bedrooms at night, observing animals without disturbing their habitats is a lesson overdue. 

Thanks again for stopping in to get your weekly fix of Words, Pauses, Noises. If you would like to see your creative piece up here, email us at with your submission. Check our guidelines for more information.  See you next Sunday!

Creative Work: ‘Flying Ant Day’ by Erik Eikehaug

This week’s post comes to us from Kingston student Erik Eikehaug.  Erik’s writings style is wonderfully unique, dark, hilarious, intriguing in all the right places and at the same time, delightfully simple.  His characters are odd but relatable and make you feel just as frantic as they do in the face of what seems to be a biblically misguided evening. Creative Works

 Something can also be said for his measure in writing.  This is a great example of how to write a well-balanced although unconventional short story.

Without further ado, we hope you enjoy Erik’s WPN debut, Flying Ant Day. 


 Flying Ant Day

 If mum was awake she would ask us to close all the windows, so while I’m preparing dinner, Sara runs through the house, making sure none have been left open.

The pots make noises, like the food cooking inside is fighting for its life, banging against their steel prison, trying to escape. I remove the lid from the casserole and look at the meatballs simmering in the brown sauce. Is it supposed to look like zombie poo? And what about the potatoes? I shove a fork into the largest potato just like Sara taught me, all the while staying at safe distance from the hot steam oozing up. The potato is still hard inside. Shouldn’t it be ready by now?

Sara has been making dinner every weekday since we returned to school after Easter holiday. Between cooking and her other chores she barley has time to do her homework, which we both decided wasn’t fair. Now she teaches me to make a new meal every week so I can help out as well. She’s only taught me how to boil potatoes and reheat meatballs in brown sauce so far, but next week she’s showing me how to make spaghetti Bolognese, my favourite.

Like I said, today it’s meatballs in brown sauce and potatoes. It’s my first time doing it all by myself. Hopefully I’ll do a good job so Dad won’t notice a difference.

There’s a loud crash in the living room followed by Sara swearing. My instinct urges me to run to her, but I hesitate at leaving the food. Continue reading

Review: A Girl is a Half-formed Thing: A voice like no other, by Caitríona Marron

InterviewsThis week, we’re taking a well-deserved break away from creative pieces (although we love getting your submissions) and returning to another aspect of the Words, Pauses, Noises blog; the book review. Sam Jordison from Galley Beggar Press began his classes at Kingston University back in May and has inspired the choice for this week’s post, having published it with much critical acclaim. In our class with Sam, he discussed the voice, story, themes and motifs, which Caitríona Marron attempts to emulate in this review of A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride. 

A Girl is a Half-formed Thing is terrifying to look at, at first. Prose and dialogue are spun into chaotic, interrupted lines, the distorted point of view not retaining much clarity as the story continues. It eggs the average, commercial reader to take one look and snap the book shut. But this is what sets it apart from its contemporaries (scoring the Bailey’s Women’s prize for fiction). The beauty of this piece lies in the frantic and seemingly un-filtered reels of free consciousness that drive the reader to peel through each page, faithfully stumbling across each word at first. A disclaimer should promise the reader to hold tight until eyes become used to the pandemonium on the page after a chapter or so. Continue reading

Creative Work: ‘The Magpie’ by Catherine Franklin

Creative WorksThis week, we dip back into the pool of prose within Kingston University with a piece by Catherine Franklin, debut writer to Words, Pauses, Noises. ‘The Magpie’ stumbles about the throes of mental disillusion in this short-story about one human’s compulsion for objects. 

The Magpie

I have a photo of a man whose name I don’t know. I’m a hoarder, a magpie; I collect things I don’t need. It started with something I heard on the radio; a soothing voice explained how she was unable to walk past a discarded scratchcard on the ground, just in case it was a winning ticket that had been overlooked. And once I’d mimicked this, clapped and triggered the avalanche, I couldn’t stop. I also couldn’t bring myself to throw the scratchcards away. I pinned them over each other on my noticeboard until the pin wasn’t long enough and I had to start a new pile.

Receipts came next. I didn’t need them, but I couldn’t bin them, just in case they would be of some use some day. Consequently I’ve kept every receipt for everything I’ve bought in the last five years. I have thousands, tens of thousands maybe; more than I could count. It escalated until I was keeping and collecting just about everything.

There’s always that temptation, but I’d never set out to steal. When the opportunity is there, however, I just can’t turn it down. It began on a bus. A woman bent down , picked up a glinting silver key and held it out in front of me. She asked me if it was mine, but it wasn’t. My mind said no, but my lips released the affirmative. I had no use for this little key, but I slid it into my pocket after thanking her and later blu-tacked it to my bedroom wall.

In this way and through fortunate serendipity, I’ve gained a mobile phone, three wallets, four umbrellas and twenty eight train tickets, amongst other obscure objects. Piles of jewellery crowd my bedside table, and I’ve accumulated enough scarves to wear a different one every day for a month. I have a photo of a man whose name I don’t know and it’s the most prized possession I’ve uncovered in all these years. I found him in a wallet nestled between bank notes, removed him and sat him behind the transparent window in my purse. Continue reading

Creative Work: ‘Two Elevens’ by Jonathan Brick

Creative WorksSome say it’s been summer since the first of May. Other say June, but there’s that not-so-tiny population who associate a certain sports event with the beginning of a good summer every four years. And debut writer to Words, Pauses, Noises, Jonathan Brick showcases this fanaticism for football in his poem, ‘Two Elevens’, right on time for the World Cup 2014. 

Two Elevens

Written in the aftermath of the 2013/4 Premier League football season

There stands a craggy gargoyle, his feet all sunk in clay

He could never cut it when the cuttings were so cruel.

The gargoyle prowled, the younger version of the last

Without the nous or gracelessness or necessary vim.

Yes, they got into the last eight, but not into t’top four;

The money spinning dizzily, it landed on a tail.

They kept the number ten and brought another in,

And number twenty, injured, spurned him publically.

The captain didn’t want to fight, the youngsters wanted out.

And so, forty weeks later, the door was shown. He’s out.

The gaffer served a P45. Football. Bloody. Hell. Continue reading

Creative Work: ‘sketch print’ by George Temple

Creative WorksThis week’s post comes to us from a wonderful young fellow all the way over the water in Jackson, Mississippi.  Inspired by ‘the process of creating a diamond,’ George Temple’s poem ‘sketch print’ is a wonderfully manic read that builds up without a breath and drops us at the end, wanting more.  


sketch print

it is october 2009 and I am the act of memory
a process crumbles detritus 100 miles below the crust
typical of my dreams the narratives cohere we walk
the brickstreets in old town and you tell me everything
is alright a tiny seed placed in a ceramic capsule
for months I wake to plain bobby pins and handwritten notes
at 1500°C blue flakes of graphite liquefy and reform on the surface
of the seed which is actually a small amber diamond when I move
in 2011 bobby pins are everywhere with the force of a mountain
between steel wedges sealed by hydraulic ram and lock-rings stop
sending me messages hydrogen selectively etches off
non-diamond carbon it’s hit or miss sometimes you don’t want
to be friends open the machine after four days
the ceramic layer is broken away with a hammer I drink plum vodka
on your birthday soak the inner metal casing in hydrochloric acid
for five hours
the most stable form

Continue reading