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Second Light Network

Promotion network for older women poets

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About Second Light          Membership          Associate Membership          Apply to Join

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**2019:  latest publication: The Last Parent, by Anne Stewart


About us

Second Light is a network of women poets who are published or beginning to be 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 part-time Administrator, a Membership Secretary and a small 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, and offering remote workshops for groups as well as for individuals.  

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 are also offered the Holland Haul, a supplement of poetry arising from Second Light's residential workshop, normally held at 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)  Two Series of 8 remote workshops, based on substantial anthologies (Her Wings of Glass  and Fanfare) are available, as well as one or more day workshops. (Remote Workshops)

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

To subscribe to ARTEMISpoetry, pay annual Renewals or for events, buy remote workshops, anthologies, collections, or enter Second Light's  annual poetry competitions, go to Second Light's online shop.


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.  The venue is currently Holland House, Cropthorne, Worcs. Each year, the resulting course anthology, Holland Haul, is distributed to participants and made available to other Second Light members.

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 and early booking is recommended as the workshops fill very quickly, often within a few days of opening the booking.

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

Other Events: Occasional other reading and workshop events are notified initially by e-mail Newsletter (letters to those not on e-mail) and posted on the Second Light website.  Second Light publications are highly regarded, often going into re-run, and launch readings are popular and usually very well attended. Again, early booking is recommended!

Other prominent poets who have worked with the organization include Anna Adams,  R V Bailey, U A Fanthorpe, Elaine Feinstein, Judith Kazantzis, Meg Peacocke and Anne Stevenson.

If you would like to receive Second Light News and our Newsletters (circa 10-12 over the year), please sign up here: e-mailing list.

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







    biannual journal of women's writing

Published in May & Nov each year, 64+ 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   buy online



The Last Parent, cover



The Last Parent

                                              Anne Stewart

“I love the way ... Anne does not flinch from the macabre humour that can creep into dreadful situations, to help us through ... look out specially for “my grief a sack of fists still blindly hammering... ” and the choices to be made in Organise The Funeral And Wake … this collection has moved me greatly.”
                                                                    Caroline Carver

Second Light Publications, April 2019

ISBN:   978-0-9927088-3-2

£9.95, (96 pp)

Order form    buy online 


Persephone in Finsbury Park, cover


Persephone in Finsbury Park

                                              Myra Schneider

“Myra Schneider’s poetry is rare in seeming both richly spontaneous and finely controlled … these sensuous and generous poems are far-reaching … Fascinated by the texture of the world, again and again, with a sure touch, she brings its multiplicities to life.”
                                                                    Moniza Alvi

Second Light Publications, 2016

ISBN:   978-0-9927088-2-5

£7.95, (47 pp)

order from Second Light    buy online



 Fanfare, cover



    “As a trumpet-call of celebration, Fanfare is exactly the right title for this anthology. Adventurous … witty and moving, intelligent … these poems … will shock and delight you.”
                  Dr R V Bailey

    "The sky is full of cadences writes Sue Rose in her poem in this beautiful anthology, a fitting metaphor for the sheer range of topics and tones in these poems … ”,
                 Hannah Lowe

Second Light Publications, 2015
eds. Wendy French and Dilys Wood

ISBN:   978-1-9927088-1-8

£12.95 + p&p, (198 pp)

buy online (at offer price)
order from Second Light



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)

buy online (at offer price)
order from Second Light


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.

Second Light Publications, 2010

 buy online  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

buy online


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

Second Light Publications, 2007

ISBN:   0-9546934-2-6

£5.95, (47 pp)

buy online


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)

buy online (at offer price)

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

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 from Second Light



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.


Her Wings of Glass (Dilys Wood): 8 workshops, each with a suggested minimum time of 2 hours and with extended working options to boost them up to 4-5 hours; overall, a full short poetry course. For groups or individuals. The series is linked with the eight sections of Her Wings of Glass, Second Light’s anthology published in October 2014, which Moniza Alvi has called “tremendously inspiring”. More and comments on these workshops at Second Light.

Fanfare (Dilys Wood): 8 workshops, each with a suggested minimum time of 2 hours and with extended working options to boost them up to 4-5 hours; overall, a full short poetry course. For groups or individuals. The series is drawn on poems in all sections of Fanfare, Second Light’s anthology published in November 2015. “This unique collection showcases some truly wonderful poetry: inspiring, enriching and consoling – a deeply pleasurable read.”  – Hannah Lowe. More and comments on these workshops at Second Light.

Perceptions of Time (Myra Schneider): A full-day workshop for individuals (5 hours plus). Price: £8. see front page Time plays a central role in every aspect of our lives. The workshop explores ways in which we perceive time and how we represent these perceptions in writing. More at Second Light

(more workshops to follow)

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.


Annual Competition for Long & Short Poems by Women

Four prizes are offered each year.  A first prize each for the best Long Poem and the best Short Poem (up to 50 lines), a second and a third prize.

Competition Judges & Prize-winners:

2021         Hannah Lowe
                    winners: Daphne Milne & Cathy Whittaker, Niki Strange, Janet Hatherley

2020         Myra Schneider
                    winners: Lucy Hamilton & Justina Hart, Marion Oxley, Rebecca Hubbard
                    & Kathy Miles (note, 2 3rd prizes awarded)

2019         Kate Foley
                    winners: A C Clarke & Kathy Miles, Harriet Proudfoot, Margaret Wilmot

2018         Esther Morgan
                    winners: Nicolette Golding & Linda Saunders, Pippa Little, M R Peacocke

2017         Myra Schneider
                    winners: Jill Dawson & Mary Robinson, Liz Diamond & Shirley Wright
                    (note, 2 2nd prizes awarded)

2016         Alison Brackenbury
                    winners: Alison Mace & Caroline Price, Angela Kirby, Martha Street

2015         Myra Schneider
                    winners: Margaret Wilmot & Carolyn King, Judith Taylor, Kathy Miles

2014         Jackie Kay
                    winners: Kate Foley & Margaret Beston, Pippa Little, Ann Alexander
                                        & Sue Davies
                    (note, joint 3rd prize awarded)

2013         Moniza Alvi
                    winners: Clare Best & Kathy Miles, Gill Learner, Helen Moore

2012         Katherine Gallagher
                    winners: A C Clarke & Doreen Hinchliffe, Brigid Sivill, Margaret Speak

2011          Fiona Sampson
                    winners: Daphne Gloag & Moya Pacey, Hilary Jenkins, Clare Crossman

2010         Myra Schneider
                    winners: Anne Cluysenaar & Andie Lewenstein, Caroline Price
                                      & Elisabeth Rowe
                     (note, joint 2nd & 3rd prize awarded)

and prior to addition of 'long poems'

2009        Pauline Stainer
                    winners: Lynne Wycherley,Margaret Wilmot, Kay Syrad

2008        Gillian Clarke
                    winners: Eleanor Livingstone, Anne Wigley, Sheila Wild

2007        Carole Satyamurti
                    winners: Pat Borthwick, Kate Foley, Doreen Hinchliffe

2006        Penelope Shuttle
                    winners: Pam Hughes, Anne Ryland, Margaret Speak


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 (& non-Members who have joined the mailing list) receive 4 Members' Newsletters each year and 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: £28 pa,  £46 for 2 years,   £69 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:    Complete the Application (pdf)     Renew existing Membership (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          M R Peacocke

Pascale Petit          Caroline Price          Carole Satyamurti

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

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


  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