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  • Caroline Gilfillan

About Caroline Gilfillan

Caroline Gilfillan was born and grew up in Sussex. After studying English Literature at York University, she spent some years in London working as a musician and editor. In 1998 she took an MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University, which she passed with distinction. Since then she has worked as a writer in residence in hospitals, schools and in the community. In 2004 she was Poet in Residence at the Eastern Daily Press in Norwich.

She was a winner of the Commonword Crocus poetry competition in 2000. Drowned in Overspill, a pamphlet of her poetry, was published by Crocus Books as a result. She also writes fiction, has won two national short–story prizes, and had a number of stories published in literary magazines. She is working on a novel, and developing radio and stage dramas.

In 2004 she was selected to take part in Creative Arts East Reflections touring exhibition, for which she produced collaborative work with the photographer Stuart Goodman. In 2005 they mounted another joint exhibition at the offbroadway gallery in Hackney. This summer her poetry is being exhibited with photographs by Agnieszka Lesiewicz at the Idea Store Bow, in London.

She teaches at the University of East Anglia, and acts as a mentor to African writers, under a British Council scheme.

The Painter of the Angels at Barton Turf

Posted by Caroline Gilfillan on 28 September 2011 at 12:06 in Poetry

Tags: angels barton turf

Long hours I worked, late into nights
when the milk of the moon lit my hand.

I had a team of painters with me –
bright-eyed youngsters and solid men

calm and capable with their brushes –
but it was my hand that drew the lines

that coaxed the nine orders of angels
into this church set in rippling fields.

One day, it seemed, the angels were empty
shapes; the next dawn they’d arrived

with a whisper of feathers, a hiss of silk,
on the good, strong feet I’d drawn for them.

They came clothed in scarlet feathers,
white ermine, rose damask,

smelling faintly of incense and lilies,
of palm branches and ringing steel:

Seraphim, burning red with love;
golden Cherubim, all-seeing;

green-winged Thrones, Dominions,
blue Virtues; devil-scourging Powers;

Principalities, Archangels in armour,
and Angels guarding naked souls.

All this was eight centuries ago.
but still they glow in dappled light,

listening to prayers, readings and song,
and rooks and sparrows taking flight.

Caroline Gilfillan

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Intercepted light

Posted by Caroline Gilfillan on 12 September 2006 at 09:55 in Poetry

Tags: light

She watches shadows dip beneath the door,
swirling to the rhythm of the blades,
the push and pull of brown Bakelite whir.

Her fingers trace the swell of thigh to hip,
belly bump to ribs. Out in the dusty street
conversation splashes on to brick.

Next door the shower gurgles, as, within,
her heart maintains its sturdy, even thud,
reminding her that under her cloak of skin

she, too, pulses like intercepted light.
She too is rock and rolling out of sight.

Caroline Gilfillan

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