Chris McLoughlin’s Response to a First Story Anthology Launch

We’re really  excited that we’ve begun the process of publishing this year’s anthologies. Anthology publication also means anthology launches. So, to kick off the upcoming anthology launch season, we wanted to share a piece of writing that the poet Chris McLoughlin wrote after having attended the First Story anthology launch at Nottingham Academy Greenwood Road last year.

We love it. And it’s a glimpse into just one of our launches.


A traveller, tired and road-worn, enters the Kingdom of Words
and is reminded what it is to be alive, to cry,
wind-whispers warming him inside
after Jim Hall & The First Story Nottingham Academy Poets

Have you ever heard anything like it?
This steel silence, this laminated moment,
these eighteen voices, loud, strong,
a page, a place to belong, to explore,
to pour out feelings and thoughts
usually taught we ought to hide.
Are you surprised? Can you feel the warm ice
form around this exact second, thawing this minute,
this feeling, wait,
have you ever seen eighteen poets
steal a silence, a frozen moment, weave it
into fire-verse, the introverts and often unheard
one at a time, playing rhythm and rhyme…
Have you ever felt anything like it?
Like the strength of a young voicebox
prodding the world outside its throat.
Can you hear them? They are here.
Our future, bravely stepping up,
teaching us all to heal, to realise
it is okay to feel.

Chris McLoughlin


You can buy Nottingham Academy Greenwood Road’s anthology Kingdom of Words here.

You can follow Chris on Twitter here:@McLoughlinC


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