Join us for a live zoom reading from Sophie Herxheimer and Rishi Dastidar with Support from Kevin Reid in our new occasional ‘Live from the Butchery’ series, hosted by Helen Ivory and Martin Figura from their home.  The reading will take place on Sunday 6th September 4pm GMT  Please email today for meeting details.


Vasilisa and the Onions

In Baba Yaga’s Aeroflot days
you know – when she’d be out
flying over clouds of toxins
idly laughing at the suffering
of the Russian people –

that’s when I was first
allocated work in her shack,
chopping my own body weight
in onions, and trying not to cry
like an eviscerated fairy –

I stayed chop chop chopping
in her savage futility room
in the hut for five, ten,
maybe twenty five years…

I still try to fight injustice
and cynicism with scraps
of kitchen towel and the moon’s
soothing voice on the radio.

Because isn’t it obvious
that onions are the base
of all the poems?



Sophie Herxheimer is an artist and poet. Her work has been shown at Tate Modern, at her local allotments and on a 48 metre hoarding along the sea front at Margate. Her collection ‘Velkom to Inklandt ‘ (Short Books 2017) was an Observer book of the month and a Sunday Times Book of the Year. Her latest book is 60 Lovers to Make and Do (Henningham Family Press, 2019) She recently returned from a six month residency in California.




(for Beth)


She texted to say that she
had driven through me
on Friday night;

well, not me, but a place
in Suffolk called Rishangles,
on her way to a falling-down

outing in Ipswich. ‘It’s you,’
she continued, ‘with even
more angles. It’s your village.’

Google Maps didn’t tell me
anything more, but a historical
atlas suggested that it’s

south by east of Eye; in the year
1870 it had a post office and
a population of 229. How

could I persuade her
to stop on her way back on
Sunday, and make it 231?



A poem from Rishi Dastidar’s ‘Ticker-tape’ was included in The Forward Book of Poetry 2018. His second collection, ‘Saffron Jack’, is published by Nine Arches Press. He is also editor of The Craft: A Guide to Making Poetry Happen in the 21st Century (Nine Arches Press).