This page: The Sugar Factory by Ann O'Neill The Potting Shed by Monica Cheale Palimpsest by Rima Handley Even The Ants Have Names Colours / Colors by Angela Readman Postcard from a Waterless Lake by Lisa Matthews

The cover of 'the Sugar Factory'

The Sugar Factory by Ann O'Neill,
ISBN 978-0-9539196-4-2


There it is, number twenty two, the sandstone doorstep worn to a groove by years of feet. The dark passage, smell of bread, clack of spoons on pans from the kitchen, a sink deep as a vat; and always, the treadle machine's rattle"

Extract from 1901 CENSUS

"Ann O'Neill's poems are firmly rooted in time and place. They are deceptively low-key whether recapturing past landscapes, or bringing myths and fairy stories up to date. They take us into rooms and streets peopled by vivid characters whose voices weave in and out of the poet's voice, with a curiosity about human nature explored sometimes with compassion, sometimes with a sharp sense of humour. There is the warmth of kitchens and cooking, and the warmth that comes from the way the poems engage so intimately with the lives and places evoked. Hers is a voice that gains our attention from the first poem."

Cynthia Fuller

"a very engaging collection showcasing a quiet voice that doesn't need to shout to make itself heard."

John Francis Haines, NHI Review

Bread, from this collection, was Diamond Twig's poem of the month for October 2003.


Ann O'Neill

What did I do before poetry?

"I began writing poetry in 1990 in my mid-fifties during a NOW course at University of Leeds Continuing Education in Middlesbrough - it was a course for women wanting to go on to higher education and people like me, keen to have new interests after leaving work, an introduction to literature, history and sociology one day a week. After doing a stint of fourteen years on night duty as a midwife, I felt ready for a change, though I never imagined that poetry would become my all consuming interest. Well, I just got hooked and went on a massive late middle-aged learning curve which I hope will last as long as I do.

"A while ago I was trying to sort out the junk that over forty years of marriage and five children accumulate, but had promised never to throw out because it's important and might be worth something some day. I came across a load of knitting patterns, needles, sewing silks, wool and patchwork stuff I'd forgotten about. Did I really used to do all this needlework - That's what late starters ask themselves. What did I do before poetry?"