About Me

Welcome to Judi Sutherland’s writing site.

I’m a poet and novelist with a background in life sciences. After taking redundancy in 2011, I studied for an MA in Poetry at Royal Holloway, University of London. I’ve recently relocated from Oxfordshire to Barnard Castle, County Durham, with my husband, Frank (who works for a pharma company) and two Battersea rescue cats, Socks and Zoe.

I review poetry books, pamphlets, and events for Sabotage Reviews and Dr Fulminare’s Irregular Features.  Links at the top of this page will lead you there. I’ve been teaching Poetry for the Petrified at the Corn Exchange Theatre, Newbury and I hope to do some more teaching now we’ve migrated. I’m also the proprietor of The Stare’s Nest, a webzine of poetry with a political and social conscience.

 

Recent Posts

The Poets Have Been Silent

Roger McGough, Mersey Poet and National Treasure, has been persuaded by Waitrose to judge poems for their Year of Poetry. The idea seems to be that the winning entries are posted to the competition page and also are displayed in actual Waitrose supermarkets. I have to say I haven’t seen any in store yet (I now live 45 miles from the nearest Waitrose – *shocked face*), and the first round results seem to indicate that one needs to be either a small child or a grandparent to be selected. I don’t know what has happened to Round 2 of the competition but Round 1 results can be seen here. Undeterred, I sent a poem in for Round 2 – and not only have I not heard that I won (!) but the whole competition seems to have folded. So, because you won’t see it in Waitrose, I decided to donate my cheese poem to the Internet.

Not a lot of people know that a couple of years ago I was looking into the idea of becoming a cheesemaker. I went on a proper course and made experimental cheese batches in my own kitchen.  It looked like this:

#001 Chaource style September 2011 003

So, I wrote a poem inspired by a quote from writer and all round smart-arse G.K. Chesterton, who obviously thought he was being funny when he said: The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.  I regard statements like that as a challenge. It’s only when you get to do some cheesemaking that you realise what a poetic subject cheese actually is.

On the Subject of Cheese

The poets have been silent on the subject of cheese;
of milk, gone bad, come good again,
milk, shapeshifted into solid character
by sly bacteria, the maker’s hands
and the wild herbs of the pasture.
Cheese is poetry in edible form;
the subtle alchemy of heat, salt, pressure,
the white and blue moods of ripening mould
and the long, cool patience of the cellar.

 

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