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Fran Isherwood is a poet with a comedic bent (bit like Housemaid’s Knee) who has been known to fling herself about on the London poetry circuit and (sometimes back of) beyond. She has promoted and hosted and/or co-hosted various series of regular (and a few highly irregular) gigs since 2011, including Sunday Shenanigans, The Erratic Review, Girlfriend In A Comma, and The Hideaway Open Mic . Her poems lurk in several anthologies, print and online periodicals and in ‘Poems in The Waiting Room’ which was distributed in surgeries and hospitals nationwide. Her book Swimming with Endorphins was published in July 2015. Her poetry is a wry, awry, word-playful gallop through the vagaries of life encountering mail stealing snails, lollipop ladies, Glam Rock, insomnia and macabre part time jobs en route. She is available for features at gigs, bespoke commissions, festivals, private parties and workshops. Despite having a black belt in procrastination, Fran recently completed an MA in Creative Writing,. In 2023, her one hour show The Songs My Mother used to Sing debuted at Morecambe and Faversham Fringe festivals, and a private gig in London. Currently, looking to book venues and dates for 2024-25.


In an English City Garden I saw the hind legs of a gazelle, the knock knees of a gnat as well, then the remnants of a ranting rave amid the paraphernalia of a shave. I witnessed a tsunami at the local aqueduct, a beast that looked how Chewbacca looked, a Lamb’s lettuce led to the slaughter, a horse volunteering to drink the water. I espied the head of a King-sized bed, from a distance, in a non-existent shed. Then, a tub of m-m-marge (can’t believe it’s not stutter) sailed down a waterfall to cast Anchor in the gutter The Daily Bread headline read, “Careless Stork Costs Lives”. Through bins, I focused on a crocus lip synching “I will Survive” until I made out the flimsy limbs of mimsy shop dummies ferally flung at middle-aged women crying for their mummies. I met him on a Monday, and he looked quite dead. Reader I carried him. Luckily, I found a (scroll up) bed. “I accept your f****ing Cookies” was my password, one-time. “Canal Sulks as Orange Declared King of Non-Rhyme”. ©Fran Isherwood July 2020 Last Laugh The last laugh will not be a chuckle. It will be the blow from a hefty knuckle that brutally bruises the losing face, and constitutes your scenario’s worst case. ‘Twill blow as low as a bellowing bassoon and encircle the globe in a hot air balloon. The last laugh will follow after The News to replace the advertised Wallowin ’ Blues. The last laugh shall not ring hollow. It will be portly and hard to swallow. The last laugh will serve to vindicate, will be proffered on a golden plate - bangers of victory on a mash mountain, overlooking a gushing Champagne fountain. ‘Twill be Seventy -Six Trombones on a loop. It will be a cackling, cock-a hoop whoop, dolled up as a million- dollar holler- a velvet stole stealing over a satin collar; A skywards, erect finger, a tortured torch singer. It will wipe the smile off your pathetic boat and transfer it to mine, afloat on gloat. It will be gold buttons on a captain’s blazer. The last laugh will be a Taser of a smile eraser. Cobwebs If I could rummage in your brain And I could blow away the pain Fill bin bags with your fears And buckets with your tears Throw them in the gutter If I could just de-clutter Your soul, hose away the stress Replace with fonts of happiness If I could spring-clean in your brain And buff up the parts that remain Obliterate the thoughts that torment you Hoover away the thoughts that prevent you From reaching what it is you seek Come in, in a pinny, maybe once a week? If I could polish your self esteem Until I made it sparkle and gleam If I could sand blast your defences Place gold cushions around your senses If I could compost the weeds of pessimism Nurture and water the seeds of optimism If I could tuck your inner child into a cosy bed, Safe in the clutching of a favourite ted Employ bouncers to keep your demons at bay If I could, what would you say? Would you let me help you to be free? Oh …and…Would you do the same for me? ©Fran Isherwood Countdown 11.56 and counting The tension is mounting A horse drawn cabbage waits At heavy leaden gates 11.58- we all await Our imminent fate The church clock strikes twelve We argue amongst our selves And don’t see an imposing figure Perpetrate his crime… At 11.59. End of the Road Above what is laughingly called a park at the end of our road seagulls, who took the wrong turn at Clacton, wheedle and whoop, on a loop. This place used to be a graveyard. They make no bones about that. Headstones pressed into redbrick walls provide a macabre mural. Barely anyone (anyone alive, that is) frequents the park at the end of our road save one or two dogged dog walkers, eyebrows knitted against the wind, and the group of globular nosed, mottled-faced career drinkers (Dog optional), cold claws clutching their crutches of cans of a chemical facsimile of cider. Now, in the thick of the coldest winter for God knows how many years, as storms threaten to smash the composure of stately oak trees; A two-person tent has materialized in the shadows of the last standing, savagely eroded, stone sepulchre with smashed statue as sentinel. I wonder who is loitering within this tent as I survey the scene. I imagine and hope it’s a couple huddled together for warmth. I am grateful they have at least a canvas roof to protect them. I wonder if they sleep soundly surrounded by spirits of the non- drinking kind. ©Fran Isherwood


Writing • Pamphlet Swimming with Endorphins was published in July 2015 and was Longlisted in the Saboteur Awards 2016 Has poems in the following anthologies as well as in print and online periodicals: • Poems in The Waiting Room Anthology Volume 1, Spring 2020 • Poetry on The Picket Line, Autumn 2018 • Persisters Zine to accompany Persisters Present: Holding the Line Poemathon • The Free Verse Poetry Book Fair Anthology, 2016 • The Pop-up Poetry Anthologies 2013 and 2014 • Bardaid Big Book 2, 2012 • The poem Cobwebs was featured in ‘Poems in The Waiting Room’, a leaflet which was distributed in surgeries and hospitals nationwide. 2011. The same poem has also been translated into Vietnamese (and performed bi-lingually at a mental health service event) and Spanish (and used to teach English) in Madrid. • Alternative Press's "Publish You" 2010 • Forward Press anthology 2009


Spoken word performer and comic 2008- present, in various venues including small festivals and hosting and promoting regular events. In 2023, one hour show The Songs My Mother used to Sing debuted at Morecambe and Faversham Fringe festivals, and a private gig in London. Currently, looking to book venues and dates for 2024-25. Compered and ran a venue for the weekend at Stoke Newington Music Festival October 2015-2018 Ran own event at Stoke Newington literary Festival 2012 -2019, and performed in the beer tent most years. Hosted regular gig Sunday Shenanigans 2014-2020 Hosted the sporadic, nomadic event, The Erratic Review in various venues including Stoke Newington Literary Festival and Camden Fringe. Hosted open mics: Girlfriend In A Comma at Full Stop Bar, Brick Lane E1 2012-2014,& The Hideaway, Archway 2011 Visiting poet in schools for Bookapoet agency (now defunct), giving readings & workshops 2011-2013

The Songs My Mother Used To Sing, Show available to book

Poems, a monologue or two, and the (very) odd song including some written using wordplayful constraints such as anagrams and antonyms, address the vagaries of the present while sporting the reading glasses of the past. Warning: May contain puns. A playfully humorous and occasionally moving spoken word show that incorporates poetry, comedy, a monologue or two, and the (very) odd song. Were you sung to as a child? Did you sing lullabies to your own children? Were traditional folk songs from your family’s home passed down through generations? Perhaps there’s a song you learned at school that has stuck with you despite (or perhaps because of) ear-piercing renditions on the recorder. Did you work with someone who was always singing or whistling a particular tune? Most people grow up with songs in some form. This show will look at how these songs reflect the mood of the time, whether the lyrics are still relevant, and if they help to shape who we are. Although looking back through the medium of old songs, it allows us to look at now. Some of the poems were developed through a variety of sometimes daft methods and ‘Translations’ including Anagrams, Predictive Text, and Scrabble.

All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.

Audio entries by Fran Isherwood

If In Doubt (30/07/2022)

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Tommy Carroll

Sun 10th May 2015 14:54

Still waiting : )

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Tommy Carroll

Mon 11th Feb 2013 12:35

haha so THERE you are! Tommy

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chris yates

Sun 6th May 2012 14:24

Fran loved the rummage in the brain x

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David Franks

Wed 3rd Nov 2010 10:45

Hi Fran: just enjoyed your clever metre-and-rhyme poems. David.

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Fran Isherwood

Tue 18th May 2010 13:58

Thank you, Susan. Hope to bump into you soon at another gig.

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Fran Isherwood

Wed 3rd Mar 2010 18:25

..and Thank you. Fran

<Deleted User> (7075)

Wed 3rd Mar 2010 17:57

Hello Fran. welcome to WOL. Thanks for the poems. ook forward to more. Winston

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