Featured Publication – thirty-one small acts of love and resistance by Steve Pottinger

Our featured publication for July is thirty-one small acts of love and resistance by Steve Pottinger, published by Ignite Books.

Steve’s sixth collection of poems is a glorious weaving of celebration and defiance in politically turbulent times.

‘These are hard-hitting poems salted with a good dose of Black Country humour. They are poems from a poet who is only too aware of the bad press that has been doled out unjustly over the years to places like Wolverhampton. The rot set in as early as the first half of the 19th century when the young Princess Victoria ordered her servant to pull down the blind so that she could be spared the horror of looking at the Black Country, an episode which Pottinger recounts in ‘Trainspotting, 1832’ and then goes to show how this attitude still prevails today in a poem where a machinist called Kevin wonders “when will the cameras come to Tipton?”…
…Pottinger is a perceptive social critic with a great eye for detail. His pace and delivery, which is even evident from the printed page, is just what we have come to expect from this accomplished performance poet.’ Neil Leadbetter, Write Out Loud


Glass collector

Let us sing of the mouse-quiet collector
of glasses, clearer of plates, wiper of tables,
he who returns sauce bottles to their
allotted place on the worktop
he who takes no space at all
asks no space at all
who is seventeen
who will surprise you by butting into
your conversation about the Milky Way
with an extensive knowledge of cosmology
who will shrug and say he taught himself
because what else is there to do here
really, what else is there to do?
Let us sing of the mouse-quiet collector
of glasses, his slow orbit round tables,
of sauce bottles and wisdom
and no space at all.
Let us raise our glasses.
Let us sing.

Winner of the Bread & Roses comp, 2018


Olives only once, mind…

Two years on, she sleeps
whichever side of the bed she wants,
spends money how she fancies.
Tries olives, cocktails, trampolines.
Visits an art gallery, paints a wall,
sits in the garden for hours
watching the light shift, change,
fade, fall. Sings in the bath,
the kitchen too, if the mood takes her.
Goes to the gym and the pub. Loves both.
Loves chips more. Is a woman
of appetite and smiles.
Apologises for nothing.

Doesn’t think of him at all.

Previously published as a postcard poem by PoL


The drunken Polish labourer, homesickness, and the 529

if there is god thinks Piotr
then this bus will not stop
at sentchiles sick tempull
places which he cannot name
places which all look the same
bus will not leave him in darkness
on dog-shit chip-box puddle pavement
cold flat waiting

if there is god, bus will drive through night
head south, east through towns
villages neon cities lit by rain
will fall idle only on boat, engine cooling
Piotr will swig at beer through sunrise
turn up music on his phone
see autobahn and kirche
from top deck front seat window

if there is god
bus will deliver him to dark bread,
barszcz, kielbasa, kopytka,
wódka, wódka, wódka
Piotr gazes out into blur of noo slain
knows bus will deliver him home
if there is god
if there is fockin god

(St Giles, Sikh Temple, and Noose Lane are stops on the 529 bus route from Wolverhampton to Walsall)
Runner-up in the Prole Laureate poetry competition


after years of putting her down john bull kicks europa out of his house and embraces a bright new future where he makes his own rules.
and John shrugs his shoulders
says it’s been coming for a while
plenty more fish out there, you know
another lager, landlord! smiles
slides money over the bar
breathes deep and crows of freedom
sinks the pint, again again again.

he’s back down the pub
telling anyone who’s there
that he’s fine without her
no more gip about leaving
the toilet seat up
no earache when he has
a harmless daytime tipple
he’s living the dream, people!
you saps should try it.

she needs him more than he needs her
you’ll see, she’ll be back, the bitch,
mark his words
crawling on her fucking knees.

pissed, he mutters about betrayal
shoots dark glances round the bar
asks for the loan of a tenner
till, well… whenever
you learn who your friends are
someone helped her take the bloody sofa
yer bastards, you lot, bastards.

she’s been seen walking out
with another fella on her arm
looking good, someone says
before they’re shushed to silence
and they all try to pretend
they can’t hear the sound
of a proud man lost
and sobbing in the toilets.

Previously published in the Bollocks to Brexit anthology, May 2019


Steve Pottinger is a dynamic and engaging performance poet, and an experienced workshop facilitator who shoe-horns spoken-word gigs into his busy schedule when he’s not plotting a benign world domination underpinned by sourdough bread and beer. He is a winner of the Culture Matters poetry and spoken word competitions, was runner-up in the 2019 Prole poetry competition, and has had his work widely published. Steve’s fifth volume of poems a fine fine place is published through Ignite, as were Island Songs and more bees bigger bonnets both of which have now sold out. He previously had two books of poetry published through AK Press: Shattered and Kissing It All. For more info about Steve and his work: http://stevepottinger.co.uk

thirty-one small acts of love and resistance is available to purchase from the Ignite Books website.

2 thoughts on “Featured Publication – thirty-one small acts of love and resistance by Steve Pottinger

  1. The whole collection is great. You have picked out four top poems here, but turn to any of Steve’s poems in this volume and in “More Bees Bigger Bonnets” and you will meet people that may have otherwise passed you by…which would be your loss.


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