Salt on the Wind

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One of our members, Emma van Woerkom, has recently had one of her poems, ‘Women Silent’ included in a new anthology, Salt on the Wind, published by Elephantsfootprint.  The anthology is a collection of poetry in response to Ruth Stone, the American poet who was born in Virginia in 1915.  Chard deNiord, writing in the Guardian, described Stone’s work as “often reminiscent of Emily Dickinson’s double-edged verse …”  Emma’s poem is a response to Stone’s ‘Women Laughing’.

Emma says of ‘Women Laughing’ ‘I loved the idea that this vision of women’s laughter could be as elegant and as natural as herons taking flight from a clear water pool.  Ruth is always sparing with her words.  The natural weight and rhythm of each syllable, coupled with her use of subtle rhyme is never predictable.  I also enjoyed that Ruth had created this tranquil,  natural image and metaphor in just seven distinct lines; you really feel the ‘lift’ of simple laughter by the end.’

Of her own poem, in response, she explains ‘I used Ruth’s seven line format to create a false world in opposition to the ‘natural’ one she created.  An urban façade, similar to that of the 1950s Mad Men style, mixed with a little ‘Fatal Femme’ of a Black Widow Spider.  Venomous bright red lipstick, fake diamonds clustering, impatient, tapping toes and nipped-in dresses holding everything in very tight restriction while, hidden from view, a festering, poisonous anger is locked away in a handbag, burning.’

Emma will read in Bristol and Swindon as part of the Salt on the Wind tour.  She is also busy completing a poetry pamphlet called Water Break its Neck and in March and October this year she will be in Shetland, to work with a local poet on a collection which she anticipates will be published in 2017.

Salt on the Wind is available from the publisher at

Jan Newton

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