Sarah Barr

Writer, poet and teacher

Happy National Poetry Day!

Today, I’m celebrating everything good about poetry!

I am grateful to all the poets whose poems have sustained and delighted me over the years.

I am grateful to all the poets who have offered friendship, inspiration and affirmation, encouraging me to keep going with my writing. Thank you!

Writing can be a lonely journey, at times, but it seems to me that the journey is happier and more fulfilling if we support each other.

On January 1st 2020, poet John McCullough tweeted a lovely message about my poem, ‘January’, that he had previously selected for the Frogmore Prize. He said: ‘I posted a while back about the importance of learning how to use silence in poetry as well as sound. I think this poem … is a great example. There’s so much quietly going on in the stanza breaks, the line breaks and that white silence at the end.’

Thank you, John! Your appreciation of my poem was a lovely gift, helping to inspire confidence. Later in 2020 my short poetry collection ‘January’ was published by Maytree Press. Thank you, Maytree!

The Best New British and Irish Poets 2019-2021

I’m honoured to be included in the forthcoming Black Spring Press collection: ‘The Best New British and Irish Poets 2019-2021’ with my poem, ‘Dartmoor Snow’. Can’t wait to read the other 99 poems in the book! It’s due out in June and you can pre-order a copy now.

The High Window

The High Window is a poetry ezine I always enjoy reading. The presentation is brilliant, the poems very well-chosen and arranged and the short biogs of poets fascinating. The latest issue starts with a vivid spring illustration. I’m delighted to have my poems, ‘Family in the Museum’ and ‘Little White Skating Boots’ appearing in this Spring 2021 First Instalment. It’s great to see my work alongside that of other excellent and well-known poets. Today, poems that chime particularly with my mood are ‘Knitting’ and ‘Visitor’ by Lorraine Carey and Colin Pink’s sequence of short poems on bereavement. Also, I really like the poems on riding pillion on a motorbike by Fiona Sinclair. THW is a super magazine and free to read!

London Grip review

I recently discovered London Grip and I’m now enjoying the writing, poetry and reviews published in this magazine. Recently, poet Emma Storr wrote a detailed review of my collection, ‘January’, finishing with:

January is a varied, accessible collection of poems filled with understated emotions from a writer who is practised and confident in handling the profound with a light touch.’

Thank you, Emma, for reading and commenting so closely on my poetry. It is great to have readers – as a writer I think it’s necessary! – and fascinating to discover the various different things each reader finds meaningful and enjoyable in the writing.

Emma Storr’s pamphlet, ‘Heart Murmur’, published by Calder Valley Poetry is an accessible and compelling collection that draws on her experiences as a GP and as a patient.

Mid-January Hygge

It’s chilly, wet mid-January. Unusually, I haven’t been outside today, except to get a signal for my mobile so I can have a quick chat with my daughter.

‘But cold provides us with delightful opportunities to luxuriate in that feeling Scandinavians call hygge,’ writes Annie Fisher in her Sphinx review of my collection, ‘January’. Annie continues:’ In ‘Ice Hotel’ we find a place:

where everything is carved from ice
but even so is welcoming and cosy.
You can sleigh right up to the door;
they serve hot meals, mulled wine

So settle down by the fire and enjoy this lovely collection. Hot chocolate anyone? Brandy? Spicy punch?’

Thank you, Annie! Good advice.

Annie’s own pamphlet, ‘The Deal’ published by Happenstance in 2020 is one of my favourite recent poetry collections. I love the humour, the light touch, and the vivid stories and characters. Today, I’m choosing to read, ‘The Orange Lobster and the Hens’, in which Donald Trump, portrayed as a lobster suddenly freed from the poet’s book, is set upon and demolished by a kitten-heel-wearing hen party! What a solution.

January review

I’ve been very fortunate to have interest in my writing from poet John McCullough who has read and reviewed my collection, ‘January’. His thoughts are on the Maytree website and also here:

“Sarah Barr writes subtle poems that probe the edges of uncertainties, the details of objects and landscapes gradually revealing her speakers’ unease. The disjunctions in the title piece evoke the sudden leaps of a mind actively thinking, the white spaces between stanzas inviting us to imagine what’s going on beneath the clipped surface of the language. Elsewhere, simple phrasing holds carefully nuanced images: the menace of cracking ice, a long-married couple surrounded by ‘masks / and stiff-limbed, velvet-dressed dolls.’ The writing carries on unfolding inside the reader long after their eyes have left the page.”

Thank you, John!

January Launch

Tomorrow evening is the launch of my poetry book ‘January’. It is hosted by Maytree Press and starts at 7pm.

If you would like to attend this event, send a request to David Coldwell at Maytree Press with ‘January Launch’ in the heading. When you receive a reply you will need to follow the steps to full registration for the event.

Other Maytree poets will be reading and it should be a fun event.

January publication

I’m delighted that my poetry book, ‘January’, is today published by Maytree Press. Thank you Maytree for a vivid and delightful cover and presentation! To celebrate, and to show the sort of writing that’s in the book, The Poetry Village has published two of the poems.


Yes – but I’m far from distressed at hearing the very good news about the American election. A relief indeed! And then there’s the promising news about success with the coronavirus vaccine. Much-needed news.

And I’m certainly not ‘Distressed’ because my poem with that title appears in the current issue of The New European newspaper. I’m very pleased, in fact!

The poem is about the clothing industry and female exploitation. It is a disturbing subject but I hope that my poem is also an interesting and accessible piece of writing.


I’m delighted that my poetry pamphlet, ‘January’, is to be published by Maytree Press next month. The very attractive cover is by artist Richard Clare.

Maytree is a fabulous indie publisher, established by David Coldwell two years ago and going from strength to strength with some excellent poets – so I’m in very good company!

More about this soon.

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