Poems

‘Bucharest’

and if I had to build myself a past here this must be the ministry where years later they processed my papers here is the museum I walked around hung-over that one day I spent in this city over there the apartment Andrei told me about that night walking through Leblon where his mother hid…

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‘Song Without Words
’

music everywhere, rolling in secretive oceans, slicking trees, curling like smoke over hills and hummocks, sounds from centuries of mandolins and flutes, harps, bayans, dulcimers, citterns hovering, a universe of stray notes fluttering around their stranded bodies. If only they could hear it stuck in a silent siding, facing each other wondering who will be…

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‘Wasn’t It All Twinkly When We Sang Happy Birthday?’

Marilyn Monroe’s ‘Happy Birthday, Mr President’ dress sells for record $4.8m – BBC News I hated the storage years, each of my hand-stitched crystals dulled by moths and cobwebs. I craved Madison Square again, the night they sewed you in to my rib-chafing tightness, my flesh-coloured brashness. Under the lights, you shrugged your fur from…

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‘Lotus Feet’

He’s expecting daintiness a man might cup in his hands. She tells how Great-Aunt Li arrived one winter. Her mother wept but she was a brave child, dreamed of dancing at the Emperor’s court. Great-Aunt soaked her feet in herbs and animal blood, scrunched the little toes, pressed them sideways against the sole then wound…

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Primers II Shortlist: Ben Bransfield

Welcome to the first in a series of sneak peeks at this year’s Primers candidates. The shortlist has been announced and the judges, Jane Commane from Nine Arches Press and Jacob Sam-La Rose, are busily reading the full submissions to decide which three poets will receive mentoring and publication in the second Primers: Debut Poetry Shorts. We’re eager to…

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‘Still Very Green’

The women buried here are sinful. Holding hands with men they shouldn’t have, touching ladies they called their friends in ways that friends don’t touch. The sex has not gone from this garden, I think, Couples walking in, so many pairs of sinners, and So much green. Green, the colour before a bud blooms, Green,…

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‘Nomura Haikus’

Iris Goddess of rainbows blue indigo violet mood after rainfall   Foxglove Southwark Cathedral bells tinkle in foxglove spires a candle is lit   Aquilegia Set in the city columbine from the woodlands the alpine meadows   Agapanthus Bridal Bouquet Lily of the Nile beribboned sapphire bloom floats along the aisle   Achillea Millefolium Paprika…

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Poems from the film ‘Paterson’

Love Poem We have plenty of matches in our house We keep them on hand always Currently our favourite brand Is Ohio Blue Tip Though we used to prefer Diamond Brand That was before we discovered Ohio Blue Tip matches They are excellently packaged Sturdy little boxes With dark and light blue and white labels…

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‘Going Over’

  Only a weary traveller would settle for such lonesome stones but the day we crossed the river we knew we’d found a home. Now I sleep between two waters, dreaming a red rock town where nine kind mothers feed me, none of them my own. And I see my mother coming but she is…

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‘Just Like A Woman’

Of course I’d been to Paris before, but not without supervision. And if Dylan ever had a dry patch this was it, which meant the club was intimate, tickets cheap and the young among us shoved upfront, thrilled, skin on skin. Electric guitar, him in a lurex suit tootling at the piano a while. So…

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‘Haint’ by Eve Ellis

  Last night I heard the dogs again, this side of the crick. This morning another window’s smudged and her bitty footprint’s in the skift. Ma wipes her eyes and the glass, takes the broom out to snow-sweep. Pa’s painting the fence blue like a river she can’t cross. Tonight he’ll throw salt on the…

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Phone call from… by Susan Utting and a new writing prompt from Ben Rogers

Writing Prompt – Phone Eavesdrop  by Ben Rogers There is of course an ethical issue to listening to other people’s conversations in secret. However, with the rise of mobile phones there is an associated increase in the number of conversations (or at least one side of them) that you can hear with little or no effort, sometimes…

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Short Film & Short Film II by Julia Bird and a new writing prompt from Ben Rogers

Writing Prompt – High-Concept by  Ben Rogers                     Write a poem that acts as the full synopsis of an imagined high-concept film.  Indulge in far-fetched fiction and employ a narrative that utilises the type of big what if questions that regularly surface in a cinematic blockbuster, such as ‘what…

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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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