Possibly a Pomegranate celebrates womankind. From ancient history to the modern day, women stride through its pages. Sometimes they dazzle us with their humour and creativity – too often overlooked by patriarchal contemporaries. At other times, their fate moves us to tears.
How rare it is to read a collection so full of calm wisdom, of a lifetime’s experiences and investigations marshalled with a clear eye for what matters and a well-honed gift for finding the words and forms to share them. This celebration of women ranges from girlhood memories and the tenderness of parenthood to the intimacies and aggravations of later years, from insight into lives in different cultures to a roll call of remarkable women through the ages in which Pope Joan rubs shoulders with Jane Austen. These are satisfying and enriching poems. Alasdair Paterson, Uncut Poets
An assured exploration of womanhood, with poems as abundant as the fruits in the pomegranate, resonant with love, birth, death, achievement, happiness and heartbreak. Small, unnoticed moments are brought into focus and held still enough to touch. Marriage turns her sympathetic and good humoured gaze on Sappho, Cleopatra, Lot's wife, Heloise, Hildegard, Mother Julian, Grace Darling, Rosa Parkes as well as her own life, creating a rich panoply of women. Maggie Butt, poet and novelist
Review by Pat Edwards in London Grip, September 2022.
Review by Mandy Pannett in Tears in the Fence, October 2022.
Review by Carla Scarano D'Antonio in Write out Loud, November 2022.
Review by Dilys Wood in Artemis, November 2022.
Review by Emma Lee in The Journal, November 2022.
Review by Sue Kindon in The High Window, Spring 2023.
To order a copy, please use the "Contact Alwyn" link.More info →
In this poem, Alwyn Marriage suggests that St Clare (1194-1253) may be a rather more interesting figure than history suggests.
Clare Offreduccio (Chiara) was a normal, healthy and enthusiastic teenager until she was swept off her feet by the dashing young Francis, whom she heard preach with passion. Abandoning her previous life to follow him, she devoted herself to a life of chastity and charity. Images of St Clare in art tend to depict her as an icon of humble obedience and purity, but there may well be more to the story than that.
While not wishing to diminish Clare's genuine piety and good works at all, this story suggests that Clare's obvious love of St Francis was more full-blooded and passionate than the official stories have suggested, and that ending up in a convent was not quite what Clare had in mind.More info →
Pandora’s Pandemic is a vivid and personal account of Covid-19 in real time, in poems written actually as it happened. When Covid-19 swept across the world, it took everyone by surprise. Debilitating illness, unprecedented lockdowns and tragic deaths soon followed. And then the questions arose – how long would the devastation last and would anyone survive? Alwyn Marriage contracted Covid-19 early in the pandemic and that is where this moving collection starts.
In these vivid poems, Alwyn tracks the course of her own illness and recovery, the death of her brother and the gradual dawning of new hope. Above all, she asks what we have learnt from this pandemic, and whether the world will ever be the same again. This means that, unusually for a poetry book, because it tells the story of Covid-19, you can read Pandora’s Pandemic like a novel, not knowing what the next twist will be. This is poetry that grips you, may make you cry, but will also warm your heart. One reader wrote: The poems are wonderful. You have captured our universal experience of the pandemic, rather as the young war poets did ... It's a huge achievement.
For more information on Pandora's Pandemic, endorsements and unsolicited responses, click on the image of the book cover.
There is an interview with Greg Freeman about Pandora's Pandemic in Write out Loud, July 2021
Review by Sue Wallace-Shaddad in London Grip, November 2021.
.More info →
In 1628, the English physician and anatomist, William Harvey, discovered the circulation of the blood. This short story explores whether this great leap in medical knowledge might also be seen as a metaphor for something even more surprising.
William Harvey Esq was at his desk when God sidled in. Ungreeted, indeed unnoticed, God cleared the dirty coffee cups from the table, tidied up the tobacco pouch and ink - well, then set about laying a fire in the hearth. Still William Harvey’s head was bent in concentration over his papers: God is, after all, very easily missed. It was Spring 1629 ....More info →
Set in a future in which medical science has eliminated almost all life-threatening illnesses, one woman races to escape a Government that is responding to the resulting population explosion with deadly methods. Will she find safety and a new way of living? Will she find love?
The Elder Race is not afraid to confront such difficult issues as over-population, dementia, self-sacrifice and euthanasia, all set within a heart-warming story of escape, survival and hope.
For more information on The Elder Race, endorsements and unsolicited responses, click on the image of the book cover.More info →
This collection of poems brings to life women who, though they lived centuries ago, shared many of the hopes, thoughts and emotions that we experience today. A variety of formal and free verse styles of poetry is used to celebrate the love, courage and occasional defiance of real women. The book was published on 20 April 2017 by Indigo Dreams and was launched in Bergen in June 2017 at an international conference about the lives and writings of mediaeval women. For more information, click on the image of the book cover.More info →
Rapeseed follows the story of Samantha, a bright young academic, investigating the psychology of the children of rape. However, Sam has a secret, and flashbacks throughout the novel explore how this affected her upbringing. With a serial rapist on the loose and Sam's own search for her father becoming more desperate, her personal and professional lives begin to overlap. Various new contacts enter Sam's life as her doubts about her work and her detective efforts increase, until she eventually finds herself in horrifying danger. Does anyone love her enough to save her from herself? ‘Rapeseed’ was shortlisted in the Cinnamon Novel Award, 2011.
An admirer of Alwyn Marriage’s poetry, I was very interested to go to the launch of her novel, Rapeseed, in York. It was clear from her presentation and reading that the book was meticulously researched and beautifully written.
The novel concerns Sam, a young woman researcher into the children resulting from rape and whether they might share certain characteristics. From the outset we learn that Sam also has a personal interest in the subject as her own mother was raped and she herself falls into the category of the ‘rapeseed’ of the title. Her mother never discussed this with her and the narrative, which becomes increasingly tense and gripping, is interspersed with diary entries from childhood onwards in which Sam expresses a desire to find her father.
The personal (and there is a very well-written sub plot of a long-running love affair which contrasts beautifully with the ugliness and violence of rape) becomes inseparable from the academic and the researcher keeps her own family history a secret from her professor as well as from the governor of Wandsworth Prison where she is given access to files, including that of her own father.
Without wishing to give away the plot, I found myself caught up in the narrative and anxious for the main character who puts herself in real danger when she finally puts the personal before the academic and secretly arranges to meet her mother’s rapist in a lonely spot.
I can highly recommend this book which is a real page-turner and also an intelligent investigation into rape and its wide-ranging consequences. The characterisation and dialogue are superb and the reader’s interest is captured and sustained by a fast-moving narrative. Carole Bromley
Poems from throughout the year, but with a special emphasis on Christmas and winter.
Though unquestioningly devout, she's refreshingly unorthodox, irreverent, forthright.
R V Bailey
Excellent and engaging poems. William OxleyMore info →
A collection of poems, arranged in five sections: Energy; Other lives; On being a woman; Open air; and the Christmas story.
Six months after this book was published, Alwyn was invited to take over as Managing Editor of Oversteps. For more information, click on the image of the book cover.More info →
Bible BEST was published in 1998 to mark International Literacy Day. Politicians, church leaders, entertainers, writers and the faithful, including Tony Blair, Desmond Tutu, Susan Howatch, Cliff Richard, Ben Elton and Mo Mowlam, selected their favourite Bible passage and said why they had chosen it.
Published by FTM. Bible BEST is now out of print.More info →
Alwyn Marriage presents a vision of the Church as the priesthood of all believers, and argues that unless we take seriously the doctrine that all Christians are called to be priests, there is little future for the Church. She demonstrates how this inclusive vision was the basis of the Old Testament concept of God's chosen people, was restored through Jesus' calling of the first disciples and the mission of the early Church, and has been a recurring theme through reform movements ever since. For more information, click on the image of the book cover.More info →
For a while this anthology was Collins’ best-selling book, and I still get requests for copies. Unfortunately I have none left, and the opportunity for a re-print was lost during the series of publishing takeovers in the 1990s.
Copies are now like gold-dust, so if you have one that you don’t want, please let me know, so that I can pass it on to someone who does.
Published by Collins (now HarperCollins).
Review by Thelma Laycock in the Leeds-based poetry magazine Aireings, no 22:
Refreshingly this anthology bursts upon the British poetry scene which seems to suffer from a dearth of Christian writing. Alwyn Marriage draws her collection together from two hundred poems chosen from eight and a half thousand received after publicising the anthology to churches and magazines worldwide.
New Christian Poetry is not a denominational ‘churchy’ collection. The editor presents the poetry in its widest sense, dividing it into eleven sections: The Natural World, Place, People, World Issues, Art, The Bible, Times and Festivals, Experience of God, On Being a Christian, Praise and Prayer, Bread and Wine, thus expressing that Christians are not apart from the world but are very much thrown into the turmoil of it.
Memorable among the poems for me is Jean Naylor’s ‘Contemplation’ (Experience of God) with its Hopkinsian imagery:
“I saw Him in the crushed crimson’s dawn appearing …
He comes riding
Stallion-drawn, whirl-wheeled, fleet
Sword-buckling King, re-armed in glory
I fall, love adoring at his feet.”
Presenting a contrast to that is Rosie Watson’s ‘Red Nose Day’ (World Issues) with its comic irony:
“Would God wear a nose for such a cause
Christ the Clown
our fool for God’s sake
the only one
to wear a nose on red nose day
for the sake of Ethiopia
Yes, and much more.”
Catherine Fisher closes the section on Art with her universal poem, ‘Judas’, in which the poet sees:
“… a roundel here of Christ in Hell,
embracing a man waist-deep in fiery glass
whose medieval face turns up as if in shock …
Perhaps it is something in the kiss that makes me
wonder, if they meant it to be you.”
The poems in this collection have a very high standard and much could be said about the individual poems. I can only recommend that people buy it and read it. It is a good resource for worship and for teaching as well as for personal reflection. It is excellent and have not come across anything quite like it. I am glad to have this anthology on my bookshelves; it has presence.
More info →
This is an exploration of the femininity implicit in much of the language and imagery that has traditionally been used to describe the Holy Spirit. Resisting any attempt to down-grade the Holy Spirit, who is as much God as the other two members of the Trinity, I argued in this book that only if we take seriously both the femininity of the Spirit AND the centrality of that Spirit in our understanding of God can we fully appreciate the wholeness and holiness of God in Trinity. For more information, click on the image of the book cover.More info →
Included in ANTHOLOGIES:
- Clapper boards and Nancy’s star turn in Spring of the Muses, ed Deborah Gaye, 2019
- Uphill, ‘Further than it looks’, Grey Hen anthology of mountain poems, 2019
- Shooting the greys,’ For the Silent’, Indigo Dreams, 2019
- Hopscotch in Play 2018
- Moor Poets anthology iv: A dream of blue, 2018
- Quartet, four seasons anthology: September butterfly, Spring camping. 2018
- Project Boast: RP RIP, Nancy’s star turn. Anthology edited by Alyson Hallett. 2018
- Diversifly. Town birds, Sky high and A reason for faking it in Fairacres Urban birds anthology, January 2018
- Christ in the wilderness in anthology: Stanley Spencer Poems. Two Rivers Press, 2017.
- Rosa Parks is included in Noble Dissent, edited by Rebecca Bilkau. Beautiful Dragons Press, 2017
- Nuclear Impact: Across the mountain, and The Price of Nuclear Energy, 2017, US
- The Poeming Pigeon Poems from the Garden: Heliotrope (US) 2017
- Six English Poets’ Diaries, Contemporary Literature Press, 2017
- To be a Pilgrim in Words in Focus, Surrey poems and photographs
- Laboratory mouse in Paragram anthology 2017
- Nettles was published in the e-book, Poems about stinging nettles, Fair Acres, 2016
- Childproof was published in The Seven Ages of Woman, The Quince Press, 2016
- Immersed in poetry was published in Originals for Orta, edited by Rebecca Bilkau, 2016
- Gentle Giants was published in Poems for Jeremy Corbyn, 2016
- Black face of the deep was published in Not a drop: Just Oceans of Poetry, edited by Rebecca Bilkau. Beautiful Dragons Collaborations, 2016
- Elemental was published in The Poet’s Quest for God, Eyewear Publishing 2016
- Across the mountain and The price of nuclear energy were both published in Nuclear Impact: Broken Atoms in our Hands, 2016
- Clapper boards and Christ in the house of his parents were both published in Wordstrokes: the poetry of art, edited by Deborah Gaye, Avalanche Books, 2016
- Whale and Moon and next door neighbour’s tree were published in English and Romanian in Six British Poets, Integral Press, Bucharest, 2016
- Six impossible things before breakfast was published in the United States in The Alice in Wonderland Anthology, Silver Birch Press, December 2015
- Tidal flow was published in Wild Atlantic Words, 2015
- Moving on was published in Poems for a Liminal Age, 2015
- Skin,The vine and Ski scene in Fereastra, Romanian anthology, 2015
- Bikers, Consider the solitary and invitation published in The Keystone anthology, 2015
- Almost harvest moon in Romanian anthology 2015
- Retrospective in Wenlock festival anthology, 2015
- Hildegard, Doctor of the Church was published in ‘Hildegard, Visions & Inspiration’, edited by Gabriel Griffin, Wyvern, 2014
- Lost Scents and Ubuntu love song were published in ‘Love & Loss’, edited by R V Bailey and June Hall, Belgrave Press 2014
- Naming: AD2006 was published in The Other Side of Sleep: Narrative Poems. Arachne Press 2014
- Jane Austen’s tombstone was published in ‘Advice on Proposals’, an anthology of poems about Jane Austen, edited by Angela Topping
- Lycra, Fifty shades of green and Shooting the greys were all published in Pop Up Poetry, 2014
- Quartz and Sloe gin in Moor Poets anthology III, 2013
- La matelote and bikini in the Pop Up Anthology 2013
- Those who go down the the sea in ‘Running before the wind: poems about the sea’. Grey Hen Press 2013
- Ski scene in ‘Ice: Contemporary and traditional poems for the festive season’. Pighog Press 2012
- Peace Camp poems 2012
- Skin the ‘Musings on Motherhood’ 2012
- embedded shapes in the Wenlock Poetry Festival Anthology 2012
- Tsunami and The Price of Nuclear Energy in ‘Sunrise from Blue Thunder’, Pirene’s Fountain, 2011
- September Butterfly in ‘Shropshire Butterflies’, Fair Acre Press 2011
- Walking together in Visible Breath, Indigo Dreams, 2010
- In Casa Tallone in ‘Reflections on Lake Orta’, Wyvern Works 2010
- Puffin in ‘No Space But Their Own’, Grey Hen Press 2010.ISBN 978-0-9552952-5-6
- tree x: Orta Christmas, Poetry on the Lake, 2009
- Skin and by heart: Cracking On, Grey Hen, 2009
- Advent Tea: Doing December Differently: An alternative Christmas handbook. ed Nicola Slee & Rosie Miles. Wild Goose Publications, 2006
- Ski Scene: For the kids, Challenges Anthology. Biscuit Publishing, 2005
- Acrostic for Valentine’s Day: Requiem for Love, Forward Press, 2005
- March Morning Mist: National Poetry Anthology, United Press Ltd, 2005
- Puddles: Sensational. edited by Roger McGough. MacMillan, 2004
- Charting the Thames: The River Thames in Verse, Edited Val Mason. River Thames Society, 2004
- Doxology: A Lifetime of Blessing, compiled Geoffrey Duncan. Canterbury Press, 2004
- Prayers, graces and blessings: A Lifetime of Blessing, compiled Geoffrey Duncan. Canterbury Press, 2004
- Txtur of luv: Text Poems, 2004
- Foreword to Magnificat Poems by Gabrielle Billings. Christmas House Publications, 2000
Some RECENT ARTICLES:
- GEF Obituary: Anne Born. Kingsbridge Gazette (2011) and in Acumen (2011)
- Western Daily Press, February 6th 2010: ‘Giving Pride of Place to Poetry’
- Herstoria (2010) Lady Godiva: truth more incredible than fiction?
- Resurgence, October 2009: ‘Dignified Independence: a review of ‘Weeds and Wild Flowers’ by Alice Oswald
- Contributions to ‘Lifting Women’s Voices‘, Canterbury Press, 2009
- Resurgence (2005) Juggling with energy
- Resurgence (2005) Earth, air and water: elemental poetry with a human touch. An introduction to ‘Dart’ by Alice Oswald
- Devon Life (2004). Celebrating the Dart
- Kingsbridge Gazette. I write a regular column for the Kingsbridge Gazette about life in the Devon village of South Pool.
Guildford Environmental News
- Encyclical: Laudato Si: We have friends in high places. September 2015
- LoCal for Guildford, June 2004
- Shopping on wheels (supermarkets), September 2004
- Guildford Greenlife, December 2004
- Tilting at windmills (wind turbines), March 2005
- Labelling the good, the bad and the ugly (car emissions), June 2005
- Creating a wildflower meadow, September 2005
- Keeping the heat in: a challenge to architects and builders, December 2005
- What a whopper (whales), June 2006
- Congested road? Lyon has the answer (Lyon bike bank), December 2006
- Telling stories: Cassandra, Jonah and Jim’ll fix it (Climate change), March 2007
- Politics on your plate (Vegetarianism), September 2007
Numerous journal articles and reviews on theological, philosophical and aesthetic issues, including Resurgence, Surrey Advertiser, Devon Life, Theology, Theological Book Review, Church Times, etc.
- My short story, ‘William Harvey’s visitor’, was longlisted in the BBC Opening Lines competition, 2014
- Presence & prophesy, Churches Together in Britain & Ireland, 2002
- 2nd edition of Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement, World Council of Churches, 2002