Janet Lees: We two girls together singing, Shortlisted Poem in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award

The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award is now in its eighth year and is open for entries. The Award is an international literary prize that celebrates and champions writers and poets from around the world, and presents an opportunity for them to engage with a wider audience. Janet Lees was selected for the shortlist of 60 writers in last year’s Award with her poem We two girls together singing. Read more about her work as featured in IOM Newspapers.

Janet, who lives outside Peel with her husband Ian, is one of the finalists in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award, a competition open to emerging and established writers from around the world. Each year the finalists and winners are published in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual, an absorbing compendium that fuses new and critically-acclaimed international writers.

Her entry was a poem called We two girls together singing, which was inspired by Paul Klee’s painting A Young Lady’s Adventure, and reflects some of the experiences of being young and wild. Janet said: “I’m delighted and very honoured to have been selected as one of the Aesthetica finalists, particularly as the competition attracted such a large number of entries from around the world. It’s lovely to get this kind of recognition on a personal level, and also great that the Isle of Man is represented among all the other countries in the anthology.”

Janet has worked as a freelance copywriter for more than 20 years. She said: “I’ve been writing in one way or another all my life, but I started writing poetry seriously in 2011, when I embarked on a Creative Writing MA at Lancaster University, taking the ferry over to Heysham once a week in term-time. It was a part-time Masters over two years and I graduated with distinction in December 2013.”

Janet Lees, We Two Girls Together Singing
Inspired by Paul Klee’s painting A Young Lady’s Adventure
After David Hockney and Walt Whitman

I am
drawn in
to your adventure;
its signature scent
of line-dried hope-white linen
cut with black coffee
and frosted city air,
velvet growl of French cigarettes
rising up from pumping bass notes
of undiluted girlblood;
the skin-tight harmony of our raw code
tripping off our tongues of gold lamé.
Two maids
holding a bag of sky behind our backs,
laughing, stealing, slashing, burning,
catwalking the canyons of every next yearning,
our stormforce heartbeat scrawled across the night.
Me-you, snake-hipped and fluid,
doing the bump with each new moon,
wrapped in clouds of our own breath
and the ghosts we can’t see yet –
treading the dusk above our heads, offering
our hearts in their outstretched hands –
as a spiral staircase builds itself around our legs
and goat-eyed birds put their beaks to our necks
and the grinning lizard runs ahead,
its tiny crown flashing in the light
from our unquenchable momentary blaze.

To enter the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award, visit www.aestheticamagazine.com/creativewriting

Deadline for entries is 31 August 2015.

1. Agne Stasiauskaite, Bibliography