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First Prize Winner, Sentinel Poetry Book Competition 2018


WTD FCWatching the Door is the new poetry collection by Frances Corkey Thompson published by SPM Publication in 2020. It is Thompson's  second full collection. Traversing time and geography, the poet invites us to share her lifelong preoccupation with language and its ability to contain both the expanses and intimacies of the human heart. Watching the Door was awarded first prize in the Sentinel Poetry Book Competition 2018.


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Watching the Door by Frances Corkey Thompson

                                                            Watching the Door is also available from the Amazon Global Store

Watching the Door is a rich and varied collection, often passionate, sometimes surprising, occasionally quirky, and always an entertaining read. It's a collection which offers an engaging variety of tone, mood, subject, effect and, consequently, poetic pleasures. Imagery here is frequently colourful, phrased with apt succinctness, cleverly wrought or simply resonant with implication. Thompson can sustain a hidden suggestion throughout a poem and is able to convey a great deal in few words, allowing allusion rather than literal description to do the work. For the range of its offering, the cleverness of its constructs, and the sheer delight of its offerings, it deserves to be very widely read.

          Noel Williams


This is a collection that goes deep. Whether Thompson is writing a lament, a memory or following an idea home, her words always seem to erupt bright as flame. The poems are profound, and all the more moving for her lightness of touch. In an erudite and non-conformist way, there is a sense of the sacred throughout, often tempered with wit and humour. The courage of the enquiring child she was and the questioning adult she is, are apparent in every stanza.

          Roselle Angwin


Events and impressions that lurk in the memory are considered through the lens of 'now' the lasting influences of a Northern Ireland childhood and youth, parentage, folklore, moments within relationships. At almost every turn, there will be a phrase guaranteed to stop you in your tracks.

          Sam SmithThe Journal

The Rhythm                                                                                        


Getting ready, you have to work it

on strings from your fingertips.

Some of it you may drop.

Too bad, you’re off.  


Crossing Siberia, it enfolds you,

a close, most essential thing, like wise clothing.

While you sleep

it sounds the grammar of dreams.  


On arrival

it folds itself away deep in your luggage –

it knows when it’s needed and when not

and it knows  


that after you’ve done your chaotic day

you’ll suddenly remember and look around

and there it will be,

counting down the sunset.  

She Muses on the Building of the Sky


The structuring of the sky

happens amid great noise, and the noise

is made by men and the noise is called wisdom.

The noise is the definition of wisdom. 

Women know the noise is not of their making because

they are getting on with building the sky.  

Noise from the men

tells of building methods and sky maintenance.

The women pay attention to the sky

and not to the noise.

Sometimes the men take a break from their noise

to sneak a look at the women’s methods  


and then they praise the women

for understanding methods so well.

Sometimes the women take a spade to the men’s heads

for a bit of relief, but usually

they do not have time.

That is how the sky is built and maintained.


Product details

Paperback : 78 pages

ISBN-10 : 1916226302

ISBN-13 : 978-1916226302

Product Dimensions : 15.19 x 0.48 x 22.91cm

Publisher : SPM Publications (22 Sept. 2020)

Language: : English


Book & Cover Design by Nnorom Azuonye

Cover Art – ‘Door’ by Colin M Corkey



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