Poems

Borderliner by Hannah Lowe and Writing Prompt by Ben Rogers

Writing prompt – False Memory by Ben Rogers History can be a difficult thing to pin down, and the fallibility of memory can be one of the challenges in determining what actually happened when.  Take a journey into the False Memory Archive, a collection of vividly recalled personal accounts of things that didn’t happen.  You can read…

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Poetry in Aldeburgh – National Poetry Day

Poem of the Day To celebrate National Poetry Day 2016 and its theme of messages, here is an extract from a classic WH Auden poem that forms one of his collaborations with Benjamin Britten, the famous English composer and Aldeburgh resident. Here, Auden’s verse acts as a closing commentary to a short film documentary on…

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Poetry in Aldeburgh Countdown – Poem of the Day & Writing Prompt

  Poem of the Day This is the first poem in a sequence of prose poems by Tamar Yoseloff that originally accompanied drawings by the artist David Harker in the limited edition pamphlet ‘Nowheres’.  Each image is a depiction of an unpopulated in-between space that appears unremarkable and which are, in the poet’s words, “not destinations”…

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“We-Poetics” – How I Did It: ‘Body Logic’

Because first of all, it’s not just I. Even in poetry, even the lonely writing on a lined pad or keypad. Even that has its communal moments. No one does anything on one’s own. And that goes for writing, too. When I read a book of poems that move me, I know I am moved…

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‘Mrs Arnolfini’s interior’

My husband’s seville oranges are ripening on the window ledge; he punctures and sucks at them before flinging the pith to the pigs. When he’s not trading silk, he likes to paint still lives, nature morte. I know this child’s another phantom. I gather my dress under my ribs, rest a hand where its head…

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How I Did It: Poem in Which…

In darker periods, I spend far too many hours Wikipedia-hopping: clicking from link to link and half-learning all sorts of extraordinary things. I find Wikipedia a real horde of things to write about and poems to find. My favourite articles are the list pages, and the best of these (and a good portal to further…

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Shey Hargreaves reads ‘Death at Sea’ and ‘Junior Doctors’

Shey Hargreaves, our former Digital Poet-in-Residence with 1215.today, reads two of the poems written during her residency. The poems are also hosted over on the 1215.today site. Junior Doctors is “an homage to all those toiling long, red-eyed hours in the fluorescent throb of hospital corridor”. You can read Shey’s blog post and poem about the…

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‘Sea Between Us’

The sea turns its beautiful face away, turns its lily-face to the sun. The sea gets cat-close, its muscles ripple under fur as it stalks off alone. In the sea-mirror waves are clouds, whale moon, spaceships polystyrene islands of debris. In the sea-mirror your hand is fairground-strange. The sea is a graffiti artist, writes huge…

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How I Did It: ‘Interlude’

This poem was the first poem I tried to write after a period of about three years during which I didn’t write at all. During this time, I was making some significant discoveries about my family, my mother and myself, unpicking the deep legacies of intergenerational trauma. One day, after work, I took myself to…

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How I Did It: ‘The Survivors’

I began the poems in Disko Bay during a midwinter residency at Upernavik Museum in Greenland. My brief was to write about the history of the island and its present-day community but I hoped to record some observations on the wider Arctic environment too. However, the weather conditions were so extreme I couldn’t walk much…

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How I Did It: ‘Upstairs’

‘Upstairs’ is the pivotal poem in my collection Distance. Six years ago, illness forced my mother to live, sleep and eat in the downstairs part of the house. This was the inspiration for ‘Upstairs’. My original intention was to highlight how, in old age, we slowly lose the world we created. But to write it…

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‘Seashell Sound Recordist’

Pick up any Jack-knife Clam, Triton, a Sharks Eye or Pearwhelk. Place any Conch to your ear and you will hear my work. Have you ever heard the Sea Biscuit, the Thick Lucine or the Kitten’s Paw? Because I have travelled from sandbank to coastline and shore to shore, passed through raging squalls, over calm…

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‘Fragrance of roses’

They left the heat of Uganda deep into the night on Alitalia flight 204. Their parents waved, silent on the tarmac. The smell of kerosene gave way to the fragrance of roses on Raihana’s handkerchief. She and Fahima already had a grip on Britain, what with Jane Eyre, The Avengers, Robin Hood. Greeted by thrashing…

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‘In The Museum of Antiquated Offices: Exhibit C, fax machine’

I jerk awake some nights, jabber in tongues of space-age dolphins, a blip blip red-eye scanning lost horizons for a connecting signal. A curl of white paper blooms – like winter roses under glass – briefly warm to touch as grey smoke ghosts of secretaries pass. I crave the tap of polished fingernails the gossip…

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‘The Court Verbatim Shorthand Reporter’

I have wielded my pencil like a sword at 140 words per minute to record the minor mis-doings of the inhabitants of Staines, frantically squiggled dots, dashes, chays, jays, hays and yays ─ in days before a ‘hay’ or a ‘yay’ was a common greeting and Pitman 2000 sounded so futuristic at around a double-decade…

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‘The First Day of Galungan’

Rain, rain, endless tropical rain, day after day. Boredom blooms heavy-lidded with flaming stamens that drive me out out of the villa, in spite of the rain, in search of diversion, out down the long, winding Balinese lane that runs past Pura Petitenget to restaurants and shops. I have the world to myself, but there…

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‘Stones’

Before he came, I lusted for those stones – my flesh should bruise and split, my bones should break to speak the pain of loss and shame, the words we couldn’t speak. He cast in dust the words, “I’m yours”; the heavy breathing crowd clutched stones as heavy as their virtue, hard as heartbreak. The…

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‘Dear Cape Town,’

I would like to give you a giraffe like the one in the central park of Cuidad Juárez. In that northern Mexican town they treat their giraffe like a tourist. I’d watch our giraffe amble along Buitengracht, meander through Bo Kaap and District Six. Volunteers would gently shoo her into the Groote Schuur Estate where she would…

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‘The Have the Want and the Next’

This week I’ve talked about how, by and large, we in the UK are free to express ourselves as we wish, within certain broad boundaries defined by hate speech legislation, defamation law and so on. Wonderful though this may be for many of us, some UK citizens are actually denied this right. They are people…

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‘A Hymn to the Ordinary’

Zsa Zsa Gabor’s very fond of a door especially in oak or a light sycamore – her sister-in-law loves a long corridor and a friend of her father has a thing for his floor – it was Dior before but it’s not anymore – we should try to be more like Zsa Zsa Gabor. Don’t…

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‘Three exercises in style (after Raymond Queneau)’, ‘Acronymic poem (after Schuldt)’, and ‘Snowball’

‘THREE EXERCISES IN STYLE (AFTER RAYMOND QUENEAU)’   ‘ACRONYMIC POEM (AFTER SCHULDT)’   ‘SNOWBALL’   COMMENT Kate Wakeling is a writer and ethnomusicologist based in Oxford. Her poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies including The Rialto, Butcher’s Dog and The Best British Poetry 2014 (Salt). These texts were written on Steven J. Fowler’s Maintenant!…

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‘Wooden’

I am carving your initials into my chest shedding oak in your name, mahogany heavy. I am beside you with skin like saw dust skin is saw dust. Neck braced with trunk, stiff – like the first time. Burning bark under duvets. For all the times we lay in silence thinking of walks, of holding…

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How I Translated It: ‘It makes two signs…’ by Krystyna Miłobędzka

Translating is attending to what might happen in language and what might occur between languages. As readers and writers we know this space intimately – the in-betweenness where we can experiment, hesitate, discover, doubt, try again. ‘“Try” – there’s so much faith in it, and so much resignation. But we keep trying. … Only such…

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‘Look Out Tree’

Two ghosts sat in a tree gusting songs and talking, yakking about the moon round as a bullet hole. The sky is soldered black, yet to be opened by dawn, thunk it with clods of earth and know it never will. Everything but those ghosts has stopped. Grass stopped dog stopped tree stopped whole turning…

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How I Translated It: ‘The mask of the angry one’ by Brecht

The translation of poetry, as well as being, famously, impossible, is, for the translator, the most wonderful and most punishing form of close reading. There is no limit to the aspects of the poem at hand to which the translator must desire to be attentive. Form in all its forms, meaning in all its meanings:…

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