5 Questions for: Carole Bromley

Paper Swans Press and Carole Bromley

Carole’s poems, On The Carpet and School Gates were published in Schooldays. Mum’s Foot and Margaret Clitheroe’s Hand were published in The Chronicles of Eve.



Carole Bromley

Carole Bromley has two pamphlets and two full-length collections from Smith/Doorstop, the most recent being The Stonegate Devil which was published in October 2015. Widely published in magazines and anthologies, including Poetry Review, The Rialto, Magma and The North, she has taken a number of first prizes, including the Bridport, Yorkshire Open, Bronte Society and the Torbay Prize.


 When did you first start writing poetry and why?

I think with me it’s pain that’s the spur. I first started writing anguished love poems at university which never saw the light of day. Then I didn’t write again until a personal crisis catapulted me into writing in a big way about twenty years ago and I have never stopped.

What’s going on with you at the moment? Any exciting news to share?

My second collection from Smith/Doorstop, The Stonegate Devil, came out last year and I am doing lots of readings around the country at the moment. I am currently working on a collection of poems for children and was recently Highly Commended in the Caterpillar competition and also commended in the Interpreter’s House Competition. Increasingly I am being published in anthologies, including the lovely Schooldays and Chronicles of Eve from Paper Swans and also several published by Three Drops Press. I was very pleased to be placed second in the Watermarks competition and my poem will be published in an anthology to raise funds for flood victims in Hebden Bridge.

If you had to save just one poetry book from your bookshelf, what would it be and why?

A rather beautiful old illustrated complete works of John Keats because it was gift from a dear friend.

You run the York Stanza and judged the York Mix poetry prize this year. What’s the poetry scene like around York?

Actually the poetry scene in York is buzzing in lots of ways. As well as the Stanza which has nearly fifty members, there is the York Literature Festival every March which includes lots of great poetry events. In addition there are regular open mics in two pubs. This year, in conjunction with the library service, I have been organising a series of monthly poetry readings at York Explore called Finding the Words which is proving popular and successful and giving a platform to local poets. The York Literature Festival/YorkMix competition has gone from strength to strength with over a thousand entries this year. Next year I am handing over to Helen Mort.

What direction would you like to see poetry going in?

I would like to see more poetry for children in bookshops and more poetry workshops in schools. I would also like local and national funding bodies to continue to support poetry festivals. It is so sad that both Aldeburgh and Bridlington will not run this year for financial reasons.

And, finally. Which poem would you like to share with us?

I have chosen to share Margaret Clitheroe’s Hand from the wonderful Chronicles of Eve which I am so proud to be published in.


Margaret Clitheroe’s Hand

The hand’s too much for me.

To my pupils, used to such relics,

it’s a joke. When the Pope came

and canonised her, they say

he received one of her fingers

as a memento. The lads in the back row

reckon he’s collecting bodyparts

and all he needs is a torso.


The story, of course, is what counts.

That martyrdom under a weighted door

for the crime of harbouring priests.

I never walk down the Shambles

without thinking of her, how she sent

her shoes to her daughters

so they could follow in her footsteps

and went to her death barefoot.

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