Susan Richardson


Many of my poems are dramatic monologues. In the first half of the 1990's, I worked as a playwright and I drew on my experience of writing in different voices and capturing different rhythms and speech patterns when I first turned to poetry. Now, as a regular reader and performer of my own work, I find that writing 'persona poems' can be a very effective way of engaging, and connecting with, the audience. As far as influences go, The World's Wife, Carol Ann Duffy's collection of dramatic monologues, in which she gives voice to the wives/sisters/mothers of various famous/infamous men (Mrs Freud, Mrs Aesop, Mrs Darwin etc.) had a big impact on me when it was first published back in 1999. It's a collection that I still return to now - both for pleasure and as a workshop tool when I'm tutoring students.




Ice Pilot


Sometimes, the ice is merely curious. Bergs nose
this boat as cows, on land, crowd
round an unknown rambler. But I like
it more when it acts
aloof, purely for its own amusement. When I ask
it to dance and it refuses.
When sunlit, sequinned, it spins
out of reach, pretending I’m not needed.

I like it, too, when it bucks
and rears, believing it can unseat
the sky. At such times, I’m
the ice whisperer. I must
mesmerise the ice. Guide
its mind and movements. Shift
it at will with a hiss and a whistle. Break
in each berg on a rope in circles.

But I like it best when it stalks
me, snarling. While my audience gawps
from a distance, I permit myself to dream,
for an instant, of being mauled
by the ice. To fantasise
about its bite. Then, with one dismissive flick
of my whip, I force it to slink
to the ring-side.

Did I mention that I also control
the tides? Decide when the glaciers give
birth? Breathe and thus shape
the space around each berg? Decree
when they die? Yes, I’m the one who causes
their collapse. The magnificent crash.

And the silence.



435569-1589284-thumbnail.jpgSusan Richardson is a writer and tutor of creative writing based in Wales. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, both in print and online, while her first full-length collection, Creatures of the Intertidal Zone, inspired by her journey through Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland in the footsteps of an intrepid eleventh century female Viking, was recently published by Cinnamon Press. She regularly reads/performs her poetry at literature festivals, spoken word events, art exhibition openings and on the radio. As a freelance tutor of creative writing, she offers workshops and courses in Universities, schools, hospices, for refugees, asylum seekers and writers with disabilities, coaxing poetry from children as young as 3 and adults as old as 96. She has also held a number of writing residencies and run workshops in Canada, Finland and Australia as well as in her native Wales. For more information about Susan's work, please visit and