Maggie Butt is an ex-journalist and BBC television producer turned poet and novelist.
Her poetry collection Degrees of Twilight (2015) follows Sancti Clandestini – Undercover Saints, an illustrated hagiography of imaginary saints, and Ally Pally Prison Camp, which tells a little-known first world war story. Earlier collections were petite and Lipstick. Her novel House of Dreams was published as Maggie Brookes.
Maggie is an Associate Professor at Middlesex University and an Advisory Fellow for the Royal Literary Fund. She has judged the Frogmore, Ver Poets and Barnet poetry competitions, and this year is judging the Ware and Segora.
Two blazingsummers in my life, where reservoirs
drain to reveal villages; where homes turn inside-out,
tipping us to eat-dance-wander in warm evening-air;
where fields bleach scandiblonde from rain-deprived
weeks; where sun, on holiday from Nevada or Nice, ripens
wheat to undulating flaxen-bright, ringed by deeper
rooted hedges which remain valiantlygreen, like moats
lapping-round the fields; and sometimes there’s a tree
where it’s stood for hundreds-of-years, through dampdank
summers and threeday heatscorch, centred on the field
like an illustration of the unmistakable lift-and-spread
which says Oak, a deepdark green silhouette
against straw-stubble; and a slimbreeze wanders
through its branches, stroking 30 species of lichen
tickling 350 species of insects, all rustling-moving
mating-growing-eating, never knowing their luck
to makehome in this cool-viridian shade, unfathomable
as my fortune to be born into thisplace, thiscentury,
to find these-loves, this larksong, thistle-down life.