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the right to be heard


1234567890123456789the first female presenter


1234567890123456789tight skirt and rosebud lips

1234567890123456789perfectly bobbed hair


1234567890123456789she hesitates because


(some people would have liked me to leave the anger out of this

but it concentrates the work)


she’s terrified


testing her voice against the microphone’s pop shield

where all that’s deemed high-pitched or crystalline gets filtered out


I’d like to turn that radio show on its head

instead of ladies and gentlemen, tonight at the Victoria …

I’d chant Latin across the airwaves just for fun


flos Carmeli,
vitis florigera,
splendor caeli,
virgo puerpera
flower of Carmel
tall vine blossom laden
splendour of heaven
childbearing yet maiden
none equals thee


© Julie Mellor

Picture 11123914, unattributed photograph, early 20th century, image copyright Mary Evans / Everett Collection/Old Visuals



Julie Mellor lives near Sheffield and holds a PhD from Sheffield Hallam University. Her poems have appeared in various magazines, including Ambit, Magma, The North, The Rialto and Stand. Her pamphlet, Breathing Through Our Bones (Smith|Doorstop, 2012) was a winner in the Poetry Business pamphlet competition: ‘Poems with a real ability to own their subject – whether spontaneous combustion or the collective thought of geese – and which remain to intrigue long after reading’ (Carol Ann Duffy). Mellor’s second pamphlet, Out of the Weather (Smith|Doorstop) appeared in 2017: ‘The writing is alert and alive, sensitive to different visions of past and present – the vast landscapes seen by a fly, Edwardians relishing electricity, a bat embryo dissected with light’ (Helen Mort). More recently, Mellor has worked with found texts: ‘I’m interested in the layers of meaning found texts can yield, especially when excerpts are juxtaposed. The interweaving of cut-up texts acts as the scaffolding for many of my new poems.’