Birdbook I: Towns, Parks, Gardens & Woodland

Sidekick Books is a London-based publisher of exclusively collaborative poetry projects, including micro-anthologies and (forthcoming) poet-illustrator team-ups. It is run at the behest of excommunicated alchemist Dr Fulminare and his demonic familiar, Bandijcat, but most of the legwork is done by poets Kirsten Irving and Jon Stone, who kicked off the press with Coin Opera, a book of computer game poems, in winter 2009. Books can be bought from and currently all four micro-anthologies plus Birdbook (April 2011) are available for £20 (plus P&P).

Birdbook 1: Towns, Parks, Gardens & Woodland
£10.00 + postage, 158pp 
Featuring poems and artwork by:
Rachael Allen, Rowyda Amin, Hannah Bagshaw, Becky Barnicoat, Simon Barraclough, Julia Bird, Niall Campbell, Michael Chance, Tom Chivers, Hanna Terese Christiansson, Monika Cilmi, John Clegg, Dave Coates, Phil Cooper, Lois Cordelia, Lorna Crabbe, Caroline Crew, Nia Davies, Lizzy Denning, Isobel Dixon, Philip Elbourne, Dai George, Matthew Gregory, Cliff Hammett, Aiko Harman, Emily Hasler, Holly Hopkins, Nicholas Hughes, i-lib, Kirsten Irving, Andrew Jamison, Amy Key, Judith Lal, Alexandra Lazar, Natalie Lazarus, Katherine Leedale, Roddy Lumsden, Edward Mackay, Marion McCready, Siofra McSherry, Matt Merritt, Kate Parkinson, Saroj Patel, Kate Potts, Richard Price, Fiona Purves, Declan Ryan, Bethany Settle, Jon Stone, Jennie Webber, James Wilkes and Chrissy Williams.
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
James Wilkes
We would like to know when all these deer actually work as you never see them at it. Their spoor is stacked in the form of logs. A plastic chair nailed halfway up a tree. Climbing into its cup we surmise it is for shooting the deer if they fail to complete their quotas. A death perspective snaps open. Across this, the looping movement of a slight bird. It all goes strangely quiet as it drums a hollow tattoo of ants and bracken in the smell of rain-to-come. 
St Jerome and the Chaffinch
Emily Hasler
More usually with a lion he can’t shake off,
and always with a book – but,
sometimes, he appears with a chaffinch.
Animals love him. And it’s a symbol
of celibacy to be accompanied by a chaffinch.
The colourful male winters less far away than his mate.
He becomes known as the bachelor bird
and also the harbinger of rain.
But only sometimes does he sing for rain,
other times he sings for sun, or for his mate.
The French say gay comme un pinson
but we are not always so gay
or so serious. Bosch paints him this way.
I cannot say why he sings, only that
the chaffinch, sometimes, appears with St Jerome.
Willow Tit
John Clegg
Her beak is a split thorn
carving a zipline,
undressing a seedpod.
Ignore her calls,
those sudden shudders
of breath in a pinetree.
Ignore her completely.
Some birds in China
sculpt nests from spit;
she’ll hammer a home
in your huge neglect,
eyeshadowed, black-capped.
In the land of the dead
the judges will balance
your heart and her feather.

Tacc Tacc, Blackcap
Edward Mackay  
Tacc tacc;               creetily creetily – akerah creektur
turrturr               you will be taken hence     turr creetily creetily;
akerah, and from there                   creetur creetur –
turrturr,             to a place           akerah akerah creetah.
A place Akertah! of lawful                 tacc tacc
creetur execution       tacc tacc…          creetily tacc
where you will be creetily creetily tac tac
hanged tacc tacc by the neck creetily
until dead tacc tacc     And may the creetily akerah tac
Lord tacc tacc have mercy creetily on your
tacc tacc akerah soul            Tacc.
Wood Warbler
Nia Davies
In the unaxed oak and the underleaf,
where a feast hatches
for a hidden eater or
a smallish singer,
a Thai green belly
is patched over by tree.
And it blows those calls:
a reedy woodwind
with kora playing
tapped melodics,
trying to elbow in
a slice of bandwidth
amongst Buzzard,
Thrush and Chiffchaff,
hipping up the trunk
with a draw-string beak,
shutting-up from singing
till there’s hush
in the barging forest,
till there’s space in
the rustling arena,
from the chainsaw
and the twitcher,
and all those other
tiny gladiators
tangling for flies.
from Birdbook 1: Towns, Parks, Gardens & Woodland.
Order Birdbook 1: Towns, Parks, Gardens & Woodland.

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