Join us for a live zoom reading from Julia Webb and George Szirtes with support from UEA poetry students Tristan Coleshaw ( 2020 recipient of the Ink, Sweat and Tears Poetry Writing Scholarship) and Eve Esfandiari Denney (the Birch Family Scholar for 2020/2021),  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 1st November 4pm GMT  Please email Kate Birch at before Sunday for meeting details.





We is in the bank

We is number three in the queue
and gulls scream over the city,
and the gulls shriek dump, dump, dump,
fish and chips and sometimes pie.
We is behind the woman in the fox fur
whose hair is a silver helmet,
whose voice is a snort
as she importants herself on her mobile phone
and every ring has its own finger.

We is in the bank
and Small is roll, rolling on the shiny floor
while the rest of the anoraked queue
pull ugly faces because secretly
they would like to slide and roll too.

We is in the bank
and the queue is moving so slowly
it doesn’t move at all,
and Small is tugging my dress every ten seconds
with an are we there yet? Are we there yet?
We is in the bank
with the mouth machines all along the wall,
some that spit notes out and others that suck them in,
and Small wants to press the buttons
but no, no, you must not look at
what other people’s fingers are doing.
We is in the bank eyes to the front,
someone sneezes their Decembers out
into the shared air and we breathe them in,
we do the slow shoe shuffle
and eventually after we have wait, wait, waited –

we put our lips to the glass
and voice-hug the worried woman
who lives behind the window,
and she points and shrugs,
sends us back out into the city of gulls.



Julia Webb is a Norwich based poet/editor, she runs online and real-world poetry courses. She is a poetry editor for Lighthouse (a journal for new writing). She has a poetry MA from UEA. She has two poetry collections with Nine Arches: Bird Sisters (2016) and Threat (2019). twitter: @Julwe1


(We is in the bank is from Threat, Nine Arches Press, 2019 and won the Battered Moons poetry competition)





Occasionally they hear dotage shuffling
up and down the hall, hesitating at the door
and asking in its feeble high-pitched voice
if it is time yet. Is it time? No, it is not,
they answer, straightening their backs.
Move away from the door, we need to use it.

And so it shuffles off, mumbling to itself,
disliking its own caricature gait
and ever less firm grip on irony
while they get on with life and slamming doors.

I see my father with his dotage grin
and watch as his eyes slowly turn to mine.

Get out, dad, I tell him, go now, while you can,
then realise he got out years ago.
I put my slippers on and comb my hair,
pleased to see how dark it is, like his.
There are doors leading to other doors,
they say, forgetting now to close them.



George Szirtes: Born in Hungary in 1948, his first book, The Slant Door (1979) won the Faber Prize. He has published many since then, Reel (2004) winning the T S Eliot Prize, for which he has been twice shortlisted since. His memoir of his mother, The Photographer at Sixteen, was published in February 2019 and was awarded the James Tait Black prize for Biography in 2020. His translations also have won various prizes including the translator’s award at the International Booker Prize for his work on László Krasznahorkai.