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…around-town-2/lit-crawl

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.

Our first year at Shambala Festival with new venue Phantom Laundry

August bank holiday weekend was our first year at Shambala Festival with our new poetry and music venue Phantom Laundry. We were missing some vital and beloved crew members from our family this year, so it was really sad in lots of ways. But we worked really hard to create a new venue which showcased the best poetry, spoken word and live music from around the scene this year, and we were proud of the result.

Thank you from the bottom of our (still very tired) hearts to every poet, musician, DJ, artist, crew member, watcher, listeners, applauder, gasp-in-awe-er and dancer who graced our venue for its first ever outing at Shambala Festival. We are proud to have poetry and spoken word at the forefront of the progamming in such a big, beautiful space at a festival (and of course proud to showcase such brilliant live music too!). If you were there, we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!
Love, Phantom Laundry X

(Most of) the Phantom Laundry 2017 stage crew

(Most of) the Phantom Laundry 2017 stage crew Photo credit: Tilly May Photography

Photo credit: Tilly May Photography

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 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

EARTH DAY BLOG: A Lazy, Skint Person’s Guide To Ditching Single Use Plastics.

Plastic is a material made to last forever, yet 33 percent of all plastic – water bottles, bags and straws – are used just once and thrown away. Plastic cannot biodegrade; it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces. By 2050, the oceans will contain more plastic than fish by weight. (Source:

Today is Earth Day, which means something and nothing I suppose – but I’ve been meaning to write down all the VERY EXCITING single-use-plastic-reducing tips that I’ve been gathering up over the last year or so. I’ve been working hard to cut down the things I buy regularly that are packaged in plastic, and find viable alternatives that are more ecologically safe, but also not shit and weird.

The opening paragraph aside, I’m not going to bang on about WHY we should all be trying to cut down our plastic use (and putting pressure on our goods producers to do the same) because whilst that kind of chat is important, it often leaves me feeling a little hopeless and helpless. Because it’s really fucking sad. But, instead of WHY, let’s take five minutes to talk about HOW, and more specifically how if you’re skint and tired and don’t where to start.

I’ve got a shit tonne of hair, so this was tricky. I’ve tried the old baking soda and cider vinegar trick and while I know loads of people who it works fine for (so it’s definitely worth a go it has never been great for me. I tried a lot of ‘multi-purpose’ hair and body wash bars but they left my hair a bit dry and crispy. Finally I tried Lush’s shampoo bars and they’re great – really conditioning and detangling and they smell lovely and lather well. They just come in a paper bag so much less waste than a plastic bottle! They’re £6.25, which is more than I would spend on a bottle of shampoo, but one bar lasts me about 4 months (I was my hair 2 – 3 times a week) so its equivalent to a few bottles of shampoo! I use the seaweed one, but they’ve got a good selection: (

Simple enough, but I just switched to soap. Seems hardly worth mentioning, except that I’ve quite enjoyed trying out different cool soaps, different flavours, ones that are good to your skin and that your face likes – there’s loads of natural soap makers out there, as well as plenty of cheap simple unperfumed ones available in shops and supermarkets. And no plastic bottle to chuck out when it’s done!

I used to get through a bottle of cocoa butter moisturizer every few weeks, I’m pretty flaky. Of all my plastic habits, this was the one I had least confidence in breaking. I tried buying bars of  cocoa butter and shea butter – they’re lovely and they smell amazing, but they’re a bit expensive for me, and they can be quite hard to find. Then I spotted a massive glass jar of unscented coconut oil in a health food shop – and that was me sorted. There’s a bit of a hippy cliché about coconut oil being good for everything at the moment. I don’t know if it will cure your cold or save you from wrinkles or make you immortal or whatever, but it’s a really good cheap moisturizer, and if the smell isn’t your thing just go for the mild or unscented one. You can buy a 600ml jar for about a fiver and they last me for at least 6 months. That’s less that a quid a month, and it’s in a big glass jar which can be re-used in about a million different ways afterwards.

I’ve had the same washing up liquid bottle for about five years. Getting it re-filled from a green supermarket was a piece of piss when I lived in Bristol and Brighton, but now I live in the middle of The Forest of Dean, it’s a bit trickier. I buy it in bulk and decant it into the smaller bottle as I need it (Bio-D sell 15L for £20 ish). Fronting up £20 is not always easy when you’re skint, as I well know, and also you’re still having to get rid of one plastic bottle every 15 litres, so it’s not a perfect solution, but it’s the best I’ve come up with so far. Anyone got any hot tips on more eco-sound approached to washing up liquid? If I were the queen, all supermarkets would have re-fill facilities, but until then…!

I’ll be honest, this toothpaste isn’t for everyone, but I really love it. I can imagine people being freaked out because it isn’t white or blue with fake crystal bits in it! But it tastes good and has been really helpful when I’ve had toothache. It’s in a glass jar and lasts for months. It’s also free from weird chemicals and stuff, if you’re bothered about that kind of thing. It’s made in Brighton, but you can order online and they deliver.

There’s loads of varieties of alternative toothbrushes out there, but if you’re after an affordable and sustainable toothbrush, you can’t really do better that this imaginatively named ‘environmental toothbrush’ for £2.85! You can get them in most health food type shops or online. My husband bought me one when I was in hospital last year and it cheered me right up!


Posing-with-toothpaste action = DEDICATION!

Obviously, the bigger the tub you buy the less smaller tubs are being thrown away.  Buying in bulk is expensive so it’s just not possible for everyone – but worth thinking about doing it when you can. I also try to support good alternatives when I see them, and obviously carrying re-usable shopping bags, water bottles and coffee cups makes a massive difference! I also love mouthing off,  so if you feel brave enough you can always let the owners of the shops that you use that you think excess packaging is bullshit and that you’re hoping they’ll move toward better alternatives! I find that fruit and veg shops use less packaging than supermarkets, and are sometimes literally more than half the price, so worth supporting them where you can too.

Margerine. Fucking margarine.

I’m allergic to butter, which obviously you can buy wrapped in a bit of paper. I buy margarine in the biggest tubs I can find, but it ain’t easy. Does anyone have a plastic-free margarine solution??

ALRIGHT, there’s all my viable plastic -free alternatives in one place. I would absolutely love to hear other people’s hints and tips. Knowledge is power!

Peas, love, and plastic-free alternatives, Sal x

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 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.