Wendy Holborow, prize-winning poet, playwright and story writer, was born in South Wales, UK, but lived in Greece for fourteen years where she founded and co-edited Poetry Greece and wrote two children’s books in the Jessie and Ben series.


She has won prizes for poetry and short stories, some of which have appeared in Agenda, Envoi, Fairlight Books, Off the Coast, (Canada) Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Poetry Space, Red Poets, Seventh Quarry, QFW, Skylark, Stony Thursday, The Gull, The

Pre-Raphaelite Society Review, Tiger’s Eye, (Denver), many anthologies and other publications internationally.


She was feature poet in 'Caught in the Net', Poetry Kit in 2016 and was twice selected as an International Merit Award winner for The Atlanta Review.


In 2016 she completed a Masters in Creative Writing at Swansea University (with distinction).


Her collections to date: After the Silent Phone Call (2015) and Work’s Forward Motion (2016).













138 x 216mm


30 pages


£6.00 + P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-910834-65-7












An Italian Afternoon is a collection of poems in various forms such as open field, a Terza Rima, a Sestina, as well as lyric poems about the author’s travels in Italy and her prolonged stay in Sipicciano looking after two beautiful dogs. The poems capture the essence of Italy; the people, the landscape and the antiquities.



‘In this sequence Wendy Holborow demonstrates her lyrical and descriptive powers to advantage, and transmits to the reader the excitement and freshness of visiting a new place, in this case, Italy. She handles different forms deftly, and includes art history as she shares her experience,

with a compulsive lightness to her language.’

Patricia McCarthy


‘Vivid, sensuous, beautifully observed, Wendy Holborow's poems perfectly capture the experience of Italy. Pylons and freeways are set against the backdrop of castles and hilltop villages, and contrast with railway lines and dark Stygian tunnels. This dichotomy is reflected in the form: an eclectic mixture of the traditional and experimental, sestina and terza rima rubbing confidently with free verse and concrete poetry.’

Kathy Miles




Wendy Holborow


An Italian Afternoon





The first bark of the day fractures

the dawn chorus


the cockerel’s inexhaustible crow disturbs

her shallow sleep


the camber of shadows elongate the long

cinder track that leads


to grassy avenues between vines

where the dogs race


in boisterous confusion, chasing

the circuit of sound of other dogs.


She clicks with annoyance, like the fan that keeps

the verandah cool


then, in the relative chill of night, attuned

to the moods of the moon,


the neighbourhood dogs howl. When they cease,

the stillness is perfect.





The road is long, dusty,

she’s searching for the station – a train to

Viterbo her destination.


She turns right, should have taken the left road

finds herself trudging the parallel track,

discontent and hot,


until she stops for breath, leans against the rattle

of a five-bar gate as a light luttering of rain

disturbs the dust.


A tremendous kaleidoscope of butterflies

float away near tremulous fern fronds

of maidenhair.


Among the brambles edging the road,

blackberries, purple-black,

fat and luscious


hanging down and urgent, like a vine

heavy with grapes.

She gathers blackberries


in Sipicciano, her hands sticky from the juice

and from webs of busy

orb spiders.


Some berries drop; she bequeaths them to creatures

that live in the nettles, leaves some for the birds

and the pretty green beetle.





Do not sail into the city on a dark marmorial

December morning with nothing visible

but teasing lights of sporadic Christmas trees

under graceful awnings, like baubles

adorning a woman’s neck.


As dawn flirts with night,

abandoned gondolas poise like

mute black swans, wings hunched against

icy tracery of exploded lace.

A disconsolate seagull hovers.


Yet in spring, mists veil the land

like a bride waiting to be revealed.

The rising orange sun displays

an escort of singing gulls.

Venice steals into view, a pearl              

like those nestled around the bride’s throat.






There are no shutters in this darkened room,

no ruled lines of light reflected on the wall,


no simple white, cotton sheet covers the bed

or a blanket waiting for three o’clock chill,


no dogs prostrate on marble floors

near open doors breathing night air.


Here, curtains darken the slumbering room

a warm, necessary quilt covers me and the cat


who lies in my arms, her half snore, half purr

rumbles me to sleep, she injects me with her claws…





of the Tiber nibbles the edges

of the vineyard – wedges of green grapes


anticipate the sun to turn them purple,

wait to be trodden into wine.


The stream has been squeezed from the sponge

of its parent river,  


stumbling, rather than tumbling over its rocks,

seeping into the mangled land, manacled


to its pebbled shore, secretive, sinuous, curled

in cosiness like a snake in folds of its own body.


It is possible to pass through overgrown oleander

and tangled thickets of brambles,


where samphire grows along its banks,

where forget-me-nots glow


like sapphires and the stones are enameled

by the river’s course.

9781910834657 Wendy at Konista River AMEND