On zines, poetry, and making things – Happy National Poetry Day!

Hello! Its National Poetry Day tomorrow, and to mark the day I’ve made a new zine of poems.

If the divide is in you, then the divine is in all of us

As you can see, its called ‘If the divine is in you, then the divine is in all of us’ (a title I borrowed from something I heard a brilliant woman say in a yoga class), and although it is scrappy and scruffy and wonky, I’m really really pleased with how it came out.


In June 2017 I was lucky enough to go on a trip to New York (upstate and city) for a month. I looked after their super cool kid while they made a record. It was a great adventure. A lot of the poems are not actually about that trip, but what links them all together is that I wrote them or started writing them while we were away. Travelling is a good time to write, I think, because you’re existing in a kind of alternate reality from your usual life.

I made the poems into a zine because:

  • They are collected thoughts and fragments for the most part, rather than fully realised poems, so I wanted them to live all together in one time capsule (and that’s ok).
  • I applied for A LOT of courses and grants and fellowships and publications this year, and didn’t get any of them! Which did start to make me feel a bit negative about writing, but then I remembered ‘Hey! Writing isn’t about getting prizes! It’s about trying to work things out, hooray!’ So, I made this zine so I could enjoy every aspect of the making process again, pressure free. I enjoyed to scribbling and writing and editing the poems, but I also enjoyed the cutting and sticking and photocopying and stapling. Touching the paper. My hands touched every one of the pages. It was fun! The library in my little town lent me a long-armed stapler when I went in to use the photocopier. Making a zine is a good conversation starter.
  • Before the world of everythingisontheinternet, I got a lot of my music and arts news, and insights into the thoughts and opinions of my artistic peers, from zines. They were bought, sold, swapped and handed around, and I loved the practice and reading something made directly by someone else, of feeling part of a community of makers, and more broadly – the warmth and relief of hearing someone else’s thoughts, worries, ideas communicated so openly and honestly, and not feeling alone.

A Different ForestIt was a great way to bond with my own writing process again. I was blissfully removed from any worries about where I would submit the poems, who might read them, where and why they might be judged. It felt really magical to sit at my kitchen table with the radio on and write and cut and stick my observations and passions and worries about the world into a little homemade booklet. It made the disappointments of being turned down for courses and grants and residencies etc feel small by comparison, because it was a tangible reminder that what I really want to do is write and create art, and say things that I think are important. Whilst I will always strive to improve myself and my career as a writer and artist by applying to be part of things, to be funded and expand my possibilities, it isn’t everything. Writing is everything, making is everything. Translating the love and turmoil and panic and hope of your insides into something tangible and readable for anyone who wants and needs to share in it with you – that’s the alchemy.


Hey, you should make a zine too! And if you do, send a copy to me please.

If you want a copy of my zine ‘If the divine is in you, then the divine is in all of us’, then please send me an email with your name and address, and perhaps be so kind as to paypal me £3 to cover the photocopying and paper costs, and I’ll post one right to your door! I’m on sallyjenkinsonpoetry@gmail.com

Loads of love, and happy National Poetry Day to everyone for tomorrow! xx


Tour dates for October readings

I’m doing seven lovely readings around the country in October, detail below. Come along if there’s one in your area (and if you like poems!).

Tuesday 3rd October – Hackney Hammer & Tongue @ The Book Club, 100 Leonard Street, EC2A 4RH London

Wednesday 4th October – Bristol Hammer & Tongue @ Smoke & Mirrors, 8 Denmark Street, BS1 5DQ Bristol

Thursday 5th October – Brighton Hammer & Tongue @ Komedia, Gardener Street, Brighton

Friday 6th October – Cambridge Hammer & Tongue @ Cambridge Junction, Clifton Way, CB1 7GX Cambridge

Saturday 7th October – Cheltenham Lit Crawl 5pm @ Waterstones Cheltenham

Tuesday 10th October – Oxford Hammer & Tongue @ The Old Fire Station, 40 George Street, Oxford, OX1 2AQ

Wednesday 11th October – Southampton Hammer &Tongue @ The Arts House, 178 Above Bar Street, SO14 7DW, Southampton


Sally Jenkinson 2015 photo credit Tilly May

Full set at Rhyme & Reason (Bath) October 2016

Last October I did a featured set at the very jolly Rhyme & Reason in Bath. I mostly read quite sad poems so its not exactly a lively reading, but hey, my hair looks great – which as we know it the most important thing!

Seriously though, I’m very grateful to R&R gang for filming and editing this together, its nice to have a video of a whole set! Have a look if you’re interested.

Bespoke poems for sale! Raising funds for flood relief.

Hi poetry lovers,

I’d like to get some money together to aid flood relief in Bangladesh as soon as possible. Among other things, to raise some cash I’m offering to create bespoke poems to order for any occassion. Is your Mum about to have a milestone birthday? Is your kid off to university soon? Do you just really really really want someone to write a poem about that time you walked along Hadrian’s Wall? This, and / or any other conceivable reason you might want a bespoke poem creating for you, now is the time to order them and also make an important donation to help fellow humans who really need it.

All you need to do is email me on sallyjenkinsonpoetry@gmail.com to discuss the details, idiosycracies and finer points of what you want to your poem to contain, and when you need it, and also pay me £20!

ALL money raised will go directly to the Friendship NGO, which has been doing important outreach work in poor and inaccessible communities in Bangladesh for more that 20 years. More info about their fundraising here…


The floods in Bangladesh are thought to be the most severe in 100 years. More than a third of the country has been submerged. At least 115 people have died and more than 5.7 million are affected. The government and NGOs are struggling to cope with the extent of the disaster and warn of risk of disease as well as shortages of crucial supplies including food, medication and clean drinking water. More than half a million homes have been damaged.

If you need a poem, and would like your money to go towards a good cause, get in touch! Look forward to hearing from you. Best, Sal xx

Upcoming readings / talks etc

Hello! Here are my upcoming poetry readings, talks, shows etc. Come aling and say hi!

If you wanna book me to do something with words, please email me at sallyjenkinsonpoetry@gmail.com. Thanks!

Storm Angus, My Brother and Me

Last week marked twelve years since we lost my younger brother, Michael. Grieving is a confusing and arduous process which I’m at a loss to interpret or predict a lot of the time, and it can become more difficult to recognise and relate to as years go by, but still, there it is.
Here is something I wrote on the subject – its not a poem exactly and is certainly not editted into perfection, just an exploration of how it can be to miss someone.

Storm Angus, My Brother and Me

The prologue to this
is that I sat on trains all day.
Brighton to Oxford and back –
a nice meeting, poetry
and dreaming spires and all that,
a wet Saturday full of trains nonetheless.

Delays and confusion and low battery
and dashing up and across and down
station platforms,
sweating and cold.
Beeping and gasping.

The context is
that next week is my late brother’s birthday.
And I’m thinking on it, of course
every minute,
even when I’m not thinking on it.

My skin wonders
my teeth
and the tips of my fingers wonder

what and where and how he would be,
this birthday.

In the lead up to this,
my train was slinking finally towards the sea
and Brighton was an oil slick,
black, wet

I would usually go straight home,
nine times out of ten.
I’m a home bird.
Our flat is dark and damp at night
for the mushrooms to grow
and so as not to frighten the death watch beetles.

We like it that way, my husband and I.
He sleeps earnestly,
and holds me in place
so that when sleep comes, I’m ready.

But the train was airless and bright
not soft anywhere,
and I was awake with it
and fancied the prickle of cheap white wine in the veins
and a beautiful friend, a dancefloor
our warm alive skin touching.

So I said to the barmaid
please can I have a really big glass of cheap white wine?
and I danced and counted the good feelings –
getting into the pub and out of the rain
fun music
glad to see gorgeous friends
warm husband to go home to
socially anxious but came out anyway

I concentrated on really feeling the good feelings.
Said to my brain, it’s ok
to let them sit next to the bad ones.
They’re all fine.

And about one thirty I head homeward
out into the rain.
The wind is pouring down St James Street.
I mean
clouds of leaves
whooshing around me and the other sailors
like we’re snow globe people.
And so much water
I’m wet in seconds
it has blown up my sleeves and
down the neck of my coat.
I remember how close we are to the sea,
how she could swallow us if she wanted.

I’ve got my wine coat on though
so it’s like watching it in a film.
Up close,
but untouchable
I look right at it.
I watch it gulp and spray and rush
and feel nothing much, except awake,
and I think of the phrase
          eye of the storm.

And then
no warning
a burst of sorrow
comes spilling right out of me.

Operatic and expectorate,
it takes me by surprise. I suppose
my heart made it.
Feels like it came from there.

The storm whipped the cover off me,
or something
and here, it turns out
is the grief
this year’s wellspring.

And there’s nothing like being the drunk girl
crying in the street
to remind yourself
that when all’s said and done
this is a seaside town full of drunks and runaways
and you’re one of them

with your sadness snapping at your heels
and a storm to call you out on it.

I ride the night bus home like a woman in a film
face all tears and mascara.

At a loss
with just 5% battery life
and my last-generation iPhone
for repose,
I fumble at the screen
ask google for the last word of the evening –

Grief is a natural response to loss,
it tells me
you have to feel it.


Brighton Poem-A-Thon

Hohoho etc. Brighton Poem-A-Thon will be my last reading of the year. Me and 59 other poets! Raising money for The School Bus Project & Refugee council. Brighton folks! Its 12 noon til 10pm THIS Sunday 11th Dec. FREE ENTRY! Please come down and support us. DETAILS HERE: https://www.komedia.co.uk/brighton/spoken-word/poem-a-thon/

YOU CAN STILL DONATE TO MY JUST GIVING PAGE! I’m at £460, and I would LOVE to make it £500 before Sunday! https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Sally-Jenkinson3


Raising money for the Refugee Council and the School Bus Project for refugee, sixty poets from Brighton and Hove, young and old, peaceful and wild, are taking to the stage to say something and do something.

Poets, whose job is to speak, have decided to speak up and put your money where their mouth is. There is good work to be done and inspiration to be shared along the way.