Katie Stockton

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Katie Stockton

the poet

Katie Stockton is a welsh poet, playwright, crossword lover and recent graduate of the UEA Masters Writing programme. She's the 2020 Snoo Wilson Writing Prize winner, and was recently longlisted for the Poetry Society's Collaboration Award. Her work has appeared in Hellebore Press, Forward Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears and others. Her writing commissions include those by The Sunday Times, Norwich Arts Centre, the Maddermarket Theatre, RADA, Drama Studio London, WalesOnline and Young Norfolk Arts Festival.

the poems

Basilisk

00:00 / 01:44

              Faces have seen older, stranger faces than this,

              train windows too,

              which’ve learned a new habit of smudging me out.

              My face squished between the hardlines of a hat

              and a collar.


              Can you will a face into a second state of life?

              Let me tell you: the universe is a snake –

              I saw this in a true dream – it sheds

              and it

              sheds,

              leaves behind its echo-brothers on the porches

              of its next-door neighbours.


              A face cannot live like this.

              I’m no universe of cold-blood,

              I am an egg cracked, slipping.

              You can shadow-reckon my wrinkles,

              hear the shadow-people that live

              in these folds.


              When my face was a stone, a marble.

              cold and membraned,

              when I liked things the shape of a full stop,

              I used to stare long at the basilisk

              in the mirror, every morning.

Askew Road

00:00 / 01:44

              Heat. Around the fruit bowl like flies,
              dripping from the fridge handle,
              the upturned door numbers,
              dropping from the hallway creak.


              The single periwinkle house
              beckoned heat down to us.


              Summer’s fingers run tracks
              through window droplets.


              We measure out our stay
              in Askew Road, London,
              in the hexagons of limescale,
              its ones or twos at the bottom
              of the mug,

              or the tip of the tongue,
              if unlucky.


              The heat of it.

              The sun a pea pod ready to be split.
              The neighbours rattling their keys.
              The people have stopped parking their cars.
              The buses are carving a new route away.


              We’ve become our mothers’ daughters,
              fathers’ sons.
              We could leave for home,
              or obey the heat.

Genus

00:00 / 01:44

              this garden is

              plotted into the lines of my hands

              I put an earthworm to my upper lip

              and whisper for access to my own skin


              when it comes to butterflies

              I am a royalist

              a weatherman craving a wallflower

              a template of root

              an earthworm chewing pieces of the dark


              school happens again in blades

              stems are paper spines

              no schoolyard tyrants this time, just

              those things I’ll never attain the symmetry of


              and the teacher

              is the entire memory of winter

              blinking over the hill’s shoulder

              making me into flowers unfurling without fear

              that their twins will be there again

              this year


              the earth forgives the worm that needs it

              the world forgives the wound


              the hyacinths and I have reached an accord

              when they’ve gone

              I’ll construct solariums

              out of a new genus

              slink down the garden path

              to sleep in roses through winter

              no lullabying flowerbeds

              the magic birds gone quiet

              but I won’t be afraid

              of giving into soil

              of inhaling the heady pollen

              that sleepwalks

              the slopes of mountains

              into my skin

Publishing credits

Basilisk: Re-Side (Issue 1)

Askew Road: Hellebore Press (Issue 4)

Genus: exclusive first publication by iamb /

  Runner-up in the Hestercombe Gardens Poetry Competition 2019