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Second Light Network

Promotion network for older women poets

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Jackie Kay photo

Her Wings of Glass, cover

Second Light 20th Anniversary



results at: SecondLightLive


Her Wings of Glass is out!
See introductory offer



Second Light 'Eyes' logo 

About Second Light          Membership          Associate Membership          Apply to Join

Second Light Publications          ARTEMISpoetry          Join Mailing List

COMPETITION          Competition Results          Events          Contact Us


About us

Second Light Network is a network of women poets who are published or beginning to get published and who are serious about developing their work.  The Network was founded by Dilys Wood in 1994.  As organiser, she is assisted by Myra Schneider (Consultant), a very-part-time administrator, and a 9-member committee which supports the work of the organisation.

We aim to promote the work of all women poets, and also to develop and promote the work of members, through publications, readings, one-day courses, residential workshops and festivals.  

The Network keeps in touch through e-mail Newsletters, Facebook, and a Noticeboard in ARTEMISpoetry, a twice yearly journal which includes reviews of books by women poets, including books and pamphlets by members, articles, information about workshops, courses and readings.  ARTEMISpoetry also publishes the winning and commended poems from the Second Light Poetry Competition which is held annually. Members also receive the Launde Bag or Holland Haul, a supplement of poetry arising from Second Light's residential workshop, held in the past at either Launde Abbey in Leicestershire or Holland House in Cropthorne.  

Second Light has published several anthologies in association with established poetry publishers and through its publishing wing, Second Light Publications, as well as occasional books by individual members. (Publications)

The Membership numbers circa 350 and includes very well-known poets such as RV Bailey, Mimi Khalvati and Penelope Shuttle.


We hold an annual 3 to 4-day conference. There are several workshops, readings and discussions and attendees are invited to bring along their books for sale.   A competition is held and the winning poems and a selection of poems from attendees is published in a special booklet, and distributed (to members only), either as a supplement to ARTEMISpoetry or as an oline file.  In 2014 the venue was once again Holland House, Cropthorne, Worcs. The 2014 publication Holland Haul was made available to members at the end of November 2014.

Festivals:  there are two annual festivals, in Spring and Autumn, usually held in London for ease of access. Normally taking place over 2 days, they comprise workshops and readings and provide an opportunity for members to meet and catch up on each other's news.  All events are open to non-members.  Members receive a 'priority booking' offer.

Tutors: Past and forthcoming tutors at Launde Abbey/Holland House and the festivals include Gillian Allnutt, Catherine Byron, Anne Cluysenaar, Jane Duran, Kate Foley, Wendy French, Katherine Gallagher, Hilary Llewellyn-Williams, Mimi Khalvati, Hannah Lowe, Esther Morgan, Pascale Petit, Fiona Sampson, Myra Schneider, Pauline Stainer and Penelope Shuttle.

Other Events:  Readings and workshops are arranged throughout the year, across the UK.   Second Light Network publications are highly regarded, often going into re-run, and launch readings are popular and usually very well attended.  Advance booking is recommended!

Other prominent poets who have worked with the organization include Anna Adams, Moniza Alvi, U.A. Fanthorpe, Elaine Feinstein, Judith Kazantzis, Meg Peacocke, Caroline Price and Anne Stevenson.

Please let us know if you want to be added to our e-mailing list (include your name and e-mail address).

DATES / NEWS / EVENTS all at www.secondlightlive.co.uk/news.shtml




Her Wings of Glass, cover


Her Wings of Glass

Women are still sometimes labelled 'bodies and relationships' writers, praised mainly for emotional integrity. In reality a woman poet of the 21st century - strong in 'her lion-red body' (Plath poem, Stings) - ignores limiting gender assumptions. As the exciting work here shows, she writes what she wants to write, goes where integrity and aspiration take her.

Second Light Publications, 2014
eds. Myra Schneider, Penelope Shuttle and Dilys Wood

ISBN:   978-1-9927088-0-1

£12.95 + p&p, (211 pp)

Purchase at shop online (offer £10 incl p&p)
or download postal order form (pdf file)






    biannual journal of women's writing

Published in May & Nov each year, 60+ pages of women's poetry and women's writing about poetry, reviews and artwork. ARTEMISpoetry aims to show the best in women's writing today.

Single Issue £5 + p&p;      Subscription £9 + p&p

Second Light Publications

More details

Purchase at shop online

Inside the Brightness of Red, cover






Inside the Brightness of Red

                                              Mary MacRae

A second, posthumous collection. In her Afterword, Mimi Khalvati says of these poems, ‘We cannot read Mary without becoming her, so strong is her empathy with all living things, so intense her desire to be fully alive, so palpable her sense of mortality.’ The wide range of poems here includes poignant work written when she was terminally ill but also beautiful lyric poems about childhood, youth, relations with parents, marriage, friendship and her responses to art and nature.

ISBN: 978-0-9546934-8-0, (96 pp), £8.95, non-members please add £2 per book p&p. (Offer with order form: £8 incl p&p or £6 each for 2 or more copies)

Second Light Publications, 2010

ISBN:   978-0-9546934-8-0

£8.95, (96 pp)  (Members £8 incl p&p)
Offer: 2 or more copies, £6 each

order a copy (pdf file)



Antarctica, cover



                                              Dilys Wood

Dilys Wood, founder & co-ordinatior of Second Light, has published a poetry collection, Antarctica, which is all about The White Continent and includes the long poem The South Pole Inn, which invents a meeting in the West of Ireland in the 1920’s between the real-life Endurance Expedition heroes, Frank Worsley and Tom Crean. The meeting leads to a fictional love and adventure story…

Dilys is donating all proceeds from sales of her book to Second Light Network funds.

Greendale Press, 2008
13 Springfield Close, East Preston, West Sussex, BN16 2SZ. £5.95 (95pp)

Copies direct from Greendale Press



As Birds Do cover


As Birds Do

                                              Mary MacRae

This is MacRae’s first poetry collection. She is published in journals and many anthologies. She lives in London but has travelled widely and has close connections with Kent and [West] Wales. Outer landscapes in city and countryside are often her entry point to the inner, spiritual landscape explored in her poems.

Second Light Publications, 2007

ISBN:   978-0-9546934-3-5


 Was £7.95, (68 pp)  (Members £7)



Becoming cover



                                              Myra Schneider

" Becoming centres on the highly individual voices of four people as they help each other to escape from intricate patterns of prejudice, frustration and self-doubt. Expert plotting sets up tensions, contrasts, echoes, cuts unexpectedly from voice to voice, while evocative descriptions engage the imagination. Becoming recaptures for modern poetry the neglected ground of dramatic narrative."               Anne Cluysenaar
(see more

Second Light Publications, 2007

ISBN:   0-9546934-2-6

£5.95, (47 pp)

order a copy (pdf file)



Images of Women cover


Images of Women

" This is a book that has been waiting to be written since, perhaps, the nineteen-seventies, when women at last began to play a serious part in the world of poetry.  These images of women are images of women by women, constructed out of twenty-first century consciousness, unmediated by the male gaze."           U A Fanthorpe
(see more

Arrowhead Press in association with Second Light, 2006, eds. Myra Schneider and Dilys Wood

ISBN 10:   1-904852-14-9
ISBN 13:   978-1-904852-14-8

£12.95, (211 pp)

order a copy (pdf file)


My Mother Threw Knives cover

My Mother Threw Knives

 sister-publication (pamphlet-style) to Images of Women, Second Light Publications, 2006, eds. Wendy French, Maggie Sawkins and Dilys Wood  (see more)

ISBN:   0-9546934-1-8


 Was £4.50, (77 pp)



Four Caves of the Heart cover




Four Caves of the Heart

... (Second Light Publications') first independent publication celebrates the work of members with exceptional talent but who are not yet widely known. We think you will find these voices interesting, distinctive and compelling.

Second Light Publications, 2004, eds. Myra Schneider and Caroline Price

ISBN:   0-9546934-0-x


Was £8.95   (119 pp)

a few rebound copies available for £2

order a rebound copy (pdf file)



Making Worlds cover


Making Worlds

...a major anthology of poetry by women writers in Britain. It is the first such anthology produced in this century and it demonstrates the strength of women's writing today and its increasing contribution to the poetry of the last thirty years. The editors have aimed to show the imaginative power, depth of thought and range of content in women's work

Headland in association with Second Light, 2003, eds. Myra Schneider, Dilys Wood and Gladys Mary Coles

ISBN:   1-902096-70-3


Was £10.95, (272 pp)



Parents cover



...includes poems by 114 poets living in Britain about their own parents and has work both by established writers and exciting newcomers. Only a few copies left.

Enitharmon in association with Second Light, 2000, eds. Myra Schneider and Dilys Wood

ISBN:   1 900564 71 8


Was £8.95, (218 pp)



Noticeboard: Members are invited to send news items (information about events, successes, publications) for inclusion in e-notices and the Noticeboard section of ARTEMISpoetry.  See deadlines ARTEMISpoetry

Submit news items Online (preferred), or by post to Dilys Wood.


Myra Schneider's poem "Goulash" (printed in the Launde Bag in the July SLN Newsletter) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for best single poem AND Joanna Boulter's collection "Twenty Four Preludes & Fugues on Dmitri Shostakovich" (reviewed in the July SLN Newsletter), which was shortlisted for the best first collection!  — and Mary MacRae's poem, Jury, is featured in the Forward Anthology.


Competition   2014 (now closed)

Judge: Jackie Kay
PRIZES: FIRST £300 for winner of each category
SECOND £100 and THIRD £50, plus COMMENDED: Book prizes
All winning & commended poems will be published (in full or extract) in ARTEMISpoetry and poets will be invited to read at the adjudication event in London.



Results are now posted on the SecondLightLive website. See Results

2009  Competition  

Judge:   Pauline Stainer

Full results and winning poems on Second Light's website.  

The 2009 winners:

1st prize: Lynne Wycherley, The Lightning Horse;
2nd prize: Margaret Wilmot,
3rd prize: Kay Syrad, "
Registering their flora, /their fauna "

2008  Competition  

Judge:   Gillian Clarke

Second Light now has its own website and full detail are posted there.  The winning and other poems placed in the competitions are published in ARTEMISpoetry, a bi-annual journal of writing by women:  poetry, articles, reviews and artwork.

The 2008 winners:

1st prize: Eleanor Livingstone, Snow Hare;
2nd prize: Anne Wigley,
Learning to Swim
3rd prize: Sheila Wild,
Shiant Wife


2007  Competition  

Judge:   Carole Satyamurti                  (link to Carole Satyamurti web-page)

1st Prize:     Pat Borthwick            Apple Pie

2nd Prize:   Kate Foley          Thrift

3rd Prize:   Doreen Hinchliffe    The Regular

read the winning poems (pdf file)

Commended:   Anne Alexander (2 poems), Jill Dawson, Kate Foley, Jane McLaughlin, Mary MacRae, Denise McSheehy, Anne Stewart, Fiona Ritchie Walker

Shortlisted:  Astrid Van Baalen, Pat Borthwick, Elizabeth Burns, Tricia Corob, Rhiannon Cree, Clare Crossman, Marilyn Donovan, Doreen Hinchliffe, Maria Jastrzebska (2 poems), Doreen King (2 poems), Gill McEvoy, Shelley McAllister, Jane McLaughlin, Rosemary McLeish, Pat Marum, Margaret Speak, Zoe Williams

2006 Competition

Judge:   Penelope Shuttle                            link to web-page

Winning poem:     Pam Hughes           Seven Sisters

joint 2nd Prize:    Anne Ryland          Snegurochka

                                    Margaret Speak    The Photographer's Apprentice

read the winning and second prize poems and Judge's report (pdf file)

Membership & Renewal

Full Membership is open to women aged over 40, with a concessionary rate available for those with limited means, and Associate Membership is open to women under 40.

Members receive twice-yearly Newsletters, other regular information about Second Light events and publications, discount on publications, priority booking, opportunities for publication in Newsletters and anthologies.

Associate Members (women under 40) receive the same benefits as members, excepting that full members have priority for publication and the chance to read at SLN events.

Current rates:   

    Full Membership: £25 pa,  £40 for 2 years,   £60 for 3 years.  

    Concessionary/Associate Membership: £16 pa,  £26 for 2 years,  £39 for 3 years.

    Book Offers: as set out in Join or Renew Application.

Donations welcome.

Apply to join or renew:    Complete the Application (pdf)

Contact details

Organiser:    Dilys Wood

Consultant:  Myra Schneider - website

Membership Secretary: Kaye Lee

Administrator: Anne Stewart

Donations welcome.   Please send cheque payable to "Second Light" to Dilys Wood, Co-ordinator, 3 Springfield Close, East Preston, West Sussex, BN16 2SZ.


SecondLightLive - the website of Second Light Network


Anna Adams          Gillian Allnutt          Moniza Alvi

Catherine Byron          Anne Cluysenaar          UA Fanthorpe          Elaine Feinstein

Kate Foley          Katherine Gallagher(and Katherine on poetry p f )

Judith Kazantzis         Mimi Khalvati

Hilary Llewellyn-Williams          Esther Morgan          Meg Peacocke

Pascale Petit          Caroline Price          Carole Satyamurti

Myra Schneider (on poetry p f)          Penelope Shuttle          Pauline Stainer

Anne Stevenson       Anne Stewart(and Anne on poetry p f )     Dilys Wood


 Arrowhead Press          Enitharmon Press           The Poetry School


Note:  this page created for Second Light Network by poetry p f on a sponsored-page basis no formal association exists otherwise.


© of all poems featured on this site remains with the poet
site feedback welcome