Poetry

I have been writing and performing poems for many years, exploring art, history and the natural world in words. There are many examples on my blog, including my poem ‘Walking the Hills’ which was one of the winners in the WriteScience Competition 2015, organized by the Fun Palaces Festival.  ‘Flocks of Words’, a poem about the burden of language, won the ‘Imagined Worlds’ competition organised by the Friends of Samuel Taylor Coleridge in honour of the bicentenary of the publication of ‘Kubla Khan’ in 2016. Imagined Worlds Award

More recently, I’ve had poems included in The Curlew, Far Off Places, The Woven Tale Press, Three Drops from the Cauldron, The New European, Indigo Dream‘s Anthology ‘For the Silent’- supporting the League Against Cruel Sports, the ‘Places of Poetry’ Anthology based on the gorgeous interactive map, and Whirlagust 2 Anthology, from Yaffle Press.    I was particularly thrilled to come runner up in the Creswell Crags Nature Poetry Competition last summer, and win myself a lovely mammoth. In case you are wondering, Creswell Crags is an Ice Age gorge, full of cave art and the remains of ice age animals (as well as more modern apotropaic ‘witch’ marks). Marley the Mammoth now sits above my desk, inspiring me to ‘think BIG’! 

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With the award-winning acoustic folk group, Whalebone, I collaborated on an immersive performance Flocks of Words. We performed in all kinds of venues – and enjoyed sharing our unique melding of poetry & music with a wide variety of audiences from 2017-2019.  My collection of poems, also called Flocks of Words, is now sold out, but you can sometimes find it lurking in a Shropshire or online bookshop!

‘Using her wide-ranging knowledge of nature, geology, history, legend, art, archaeology, and mythology, Kate Innes creates extraordinarily rich, well crafted poems, at the same time managing to retain a rare delicacy of touch. This is landscape poetry at its best.’ Pauline Prior-Pitt’s review of ‘Flocks of Words’

A Dog lying on a Ledge, 17th century, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford


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Sleeping dogs

Anywhere, abandoned
on floor or gravel,
or threadbare rug,
in sun, in shadow,
overwhelmed by need,
like babies
making their own blanket
of warm breath.

Their paws canter
to the muffled woof
at retreating enemies.
A chase on the retina
of the mind played out,
the muscles’ work
in miniature.

We smile, are tempted
to touch and wake,
but let them lie.
Let them snatch
a faster, fiercer life.
Let them dream
the wolf inside.

Infante Felipe Próspero,1659 Diego Velázquez in the Kunshistorisches Museum, Vienna


Infante Felipe Próspero

Notice his eyes first. He is looking at you,
wondering if you pose a threat.
His dog is no protection, lying, as it does,
on velvet like a discarded glove.
His amulets may draw your gaze next.
They hang on golden chains,
and his fingers, white as bone,
play with an incense ball.

Encased in cloth and kept inside,
away from hot light and cold wind,
he is pressed and pinned and prayed for.
Fingered by countless Asturian seamstresses,
who stitched and sneezed and coughed,
fed tidbits from the kitchens where
chefs spat and scullions wiped their noses;
he has no defense.

Behind him blackness gapes,
hiding the throne on which he will never sit.
Even without the sun, a palace has many shadows,
but this boy, already a ghost,
casts none but this.

“Thank you so much for your contribution, and congratulations on a very lovely poem. Personally, I found your last two lines stayed with me for many weeks since you submitted your poem.”

Stella Duffy (co-director of Fun Palaces)

“The piece I most enjoyed by far was the winning poem by Kate Innes.  I was really impressed.  Very controlled, very suggestive and very memorable.  I am tempted to say that this poem in itself justifies the project.”

Justin Shepherd – Chair of The Friends of Coleridge