Three poems by Dominic Fisher

We are pleased to publish three poems from Dominic Fisher’s latest collection of poems, A Customised Selection of Fireworks, available from Shoestring Press later this month (May 2022).

A Customised Selection of Fireworks

It’s the sequence that really matters 
	colour rhythm flow
which isn’t something the lay person 
gets right every time.

Maybe start with deep frozen sparklers  
	some St Anthony’s fire
a few howling spiders, remembering
	odd numbers work best.

So, scotch bonnet, popcorn bombette
	high hats, puff adder
jammy dodgers, some gamboge, and 
	a titanium salute.

Next one or two long-range screamers
	a tequilla sunrise
some bloody cranesbill followed by 
a fat green mamba.

Nearly there now with a gentle brocade
	three knee crackers
a will-o-the-whip then the coup de grâce
	a haemo-goblin.

Excellent. Would you like the receipt? 
 Take care with my children.
Please light them only in darkness
	and enjoy the show. 
Inside
Shepton Mallet Prison, National Poetry Day 2019 

The word and the law
a hand and the blame
the logic of locks
and meanings of keys
all come to the same.
Inside is this side
outside is not.

Venus or Mars or a plane
a gull in the last of day
these are no more
than pictures on walls.
Someone is shouting
on another floor.
Footsteps go down to the hall.

You can consider 
how the world divides
or what freedoms could be
inside the inside
but you come to a door
locked on the side you don’t see
when they put you inside.
Under Arcturus

Day has come inside the walls,
dogs two doors down  
are loafing on a savaged lawn.
I came out here to see
higher miles clarify 
then monster gates of fire
but find I’m watching 
moths and bathroom windows  
orbiting a tree.

Now though, Arcturus
is over us. Shaded petals go
ultraviolet, are half ghost
as night-cats step across
ponds of yellow lamplight 
to tap our books our brains,
as soundless counterpoint
sends a two-halved moon
arcing through the leaves.

And now in the emptied air 
cities are burning out among
unseen towns, depleted stars.
The dogs get whistled in.
An ambulance flies 
howling through the sky. 
A down-the-middle moon
shivers in its half house
underneath our tree.

Dominic Fisher taught English language for many years, first in Turkey and Spain, and then in the UK in Bristol. His poems, now his main preoccupation, have been successful in major competitions and have been widely published and broadcast. He is a co-editor of Raceme magazine, and regularly gives readings, both in his own right and as a member of poetry performance group the IsamBards. This, his second collection, is his first published by Shoestring Press. His previous collection is The Ladies and Gentlemen of the Dead] (Blue Nib, 2019).


“From the precise re-membering of ‘Nocturnes’ and ‘Indoor Fireworks’, through the extraordinary beauty of ‘Walking Through a Half Open Book,’ to the genius of a culinary-minded Captain Hook swapping his prosthesis for a meringue-whisk, Dominic Fisher walks the high-wire of poetry, balancing surrealism with intense observation and an always erudite and playful love of words.”

—Deborah Harvey


“This poem [Dominic Fisher’s winning entry for the Bristol Poetry Prize 2018] I put on my ‘read again’ pile four times, knowing I couldn’t consume it all at one sitting – which is ultimately, I think, what I want from a poem.”

—Helen Ivory


“This is an outstanding collection [The Ladies and Gentlemen of the Dead] by a writer with a distinct, compelling voice. Fisher is clearly fascinated by how opposites are really so close to each other: the living and the dead, work and play, the rural and the urban, the ordinary everyday and the complex.”

—Richard Lance Keeble, Professor of Journalism, University of Lincoln