Alison Lock

Guest Poet: Alison Lock

Alison Lock's poetry has appeared in several anthologies and journals. Her first poetry collection, A Slither of Air (2011), was published as a result of winning the Indigo Dreams Poetry Collection Competition. Her second poetry collection, Beyond Wings (2015), connects an inner world with an exploration of the land and a love of nature, through poetry, prose, and haibun. She is a tutor for Transformative Life Writing courses.

Stephen Payne

Guest Poet: Stephen Payne

Stephen Payne is Professor of Human-Centric Systems at the University of Bath, and lives in Penarth on the Vale of Glamorgain. His pamphlet The Probabilities of Balance was published by Smiths Knoll in 2010. His first full collection, Pattern Beyond Chance, was published by HappenStance in October 2015.

4th January 2016, The Swan Hotel, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire BA15 1LN

Our first double bill of poets worked really well - their subject matter is very different, but Stephen Payne and Alison Lock both use language with a spare, neat precision that makes every word count, and we hung on to them all - even during the unexplained furniture-moving ceremony above the Cellar Bar, our roost for the night.

Speaking of roosts, Alison's poems are full of birds. "They fly in and out of my poems, I can't seem to stop them," she said, between murmurations and broken wings, jays and redshanks. Wildflowers grow through them, too - as R V Bailey says of her work: "her 'room' is the landscape, the seascape, the sky-scape of nature, in all its brilliant detail".

Stephen's 'room', if you like, is a virtual one in which he is thinking about thinking - and whether it's a seahorse, a cemetery or a London taxi driver that falls under his scrutiny, he provokes us gently with the playful, the wistful and the wise. There is zero sentimentality - try Peeling a Tangerine for Madeleine, for instance - but still you want to cry. Discuss.