Poems

‘Andromeda As A Teacher’

    COMMENT Majella Kelly is a poet, photographer and teacher from the West of Ireland. She happens to teaches teenagers in a prefab, behind the main school building, and here she re-imagines the students as her own constellation. The poem came about after a prompt from Claire Trévien on her  ‘Cosmic Compositions’ course at…

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‘Grandma’s Hands’

She wore pigskin gloves so fresh and soft you could almost hear them squeal as she rounded a bend, flicked the giant indicator, flashed me a grin with her own white teeth. We’d drag her squeaking mangle across the rippled concrete floor where patiently she’d feed it – puce slip, cashmere cardi – like knitted…

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‘Conflagration’

i.m. Dominic When he falls, catching his foot on the kerb, he is a nuisance, to be skirted round quickly, like the fly-ridden spew outside The Queen’s Head. Even the pigeons ignore him. His backpack weighs on him, like a brickie’s hod, but struggling up on his knees, manages to right himself, takes small steps…

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‘A Survivor Strips Himself of Guilt’

Think of the trains running deep into the night, the windows a-jitter in their narrow wooden frames; think of your breath sent spinning into the small of my ear. Think of the steam paring loose from your bathwater like bark planed away from the trunk of a tree. Think of the idleness of morning hours,…

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How I Translated It: ‘When I left you, afterwards’ by Brecht

Some notes on my translation of Brecht’s ‘Als ich nachher von dir ging …’ and some hints on translation more generally. First the text itself, with a very literal interlinear translation:   Als ich nachher von dir ging When I afterwards from you went An dem großen Heute On the great today Sah ich, wie…

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‘littoral’

2666, pp.642. “He drew Porphyra umbilicalis, a particularly lovely seaweed, nearly eight inches long and reddish purple in colour. […] There were various species of Porphyra and all of them were edible. The Welsh, in particular, were fond of them.” i had been reading up on instant nori made from greenish laver, on sugar kelp…

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‘Robo-mow’

Alan dreams 256 shades of green, hibernating in his glass docking pod at the bottom of the garden. Self-starting at sunrise, his solar panels slowly energise. Recharged and updated with new kinds of seed, 66 brands of feed and non-toxic weed killers plus the latest on invasive alien species. Alan zips up his latex happy…

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‘She’s a game old bird’

My granny takes canary sips from her service-station tea, jaundiced eyes lantern-bright as she asks, again, who the ambulance is for. is magpie-quick the nurses say, fills her knicker drawer with plasters, rubber gloves, someone else’s dentures. sticks her beak in other rooms Look at’em! Lolling! picks over the injustice like a pigeon pecking at…

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‘At the table’

two chairs. One for me and one for him who will not come.     COMMENT “I live in the north of Germany near the Kiel Kanal. I also live in a lifelong very passionate love affair with language /s. Three years ago I started to study poetry of all ages and nationalities and to…

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‘Poor, becoming moderate later’

If I wis waddir I’d cheenge i da blink o a untrained ee – I’d be warm, laek da pert breists o wid pigeons a smidgeon ower don, a trifle gien I’d be weet, laek monkfish cheeks lattin da saat wash aff afore divin back in tae aa dey keen I’d be dull, laek a…

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Primers Shortlist – Roderic Vincent

With this final poet, we reach the end of our Primers shortlist features. We hope you’ve enjoyed discovering their work as much as we have – and we’re certain you’ll be anticipating Kathryn Maris and Jane Commane’s final decision as eagerly as we are. The judges are due to announce the three poets that will…

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Primers Shortlist – Maureen Cullen

We hope you’ve been enjoying discovering the work of the Primers shortlist as much as we have. Over the last few weeks we’ve been showcasing those poets in the running for our mentoring and publication scheme with Nine Arches Press. We’re entering the home straight in our poem features having already presented work from Geraldine Clarkson, Jo…

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‘Binge-Watch’

A poem for Chris Packham You— all cable-knit dadbod, clean cut, clean eating, lisping your feathered Corbynomics, warning of the plight of hedgehogs, the risk of transgender fish and Oh! those otters. This is Binge-Watch, not Autumn Watch. I watch you— boxed, badger-setted, episode by episode, not as young as you used to be (but…

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Primers Shortlist – Mark Cooper

We hope you’ve been enjoying discovering the work of the Primers shortlist as much as we have. Over the last few weeks we’ve been showcasing those poets in the running for our mentoring and publication scheme with Nine Arches Press. We’ve already featured poems from Geraldine Clarkson, Jo Young, Kate Davis, Katie Griffiths, Ken Evans, Louise Ordish and Lucy Ingrams. Now, let’s…

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Primers Shortlist – Lucy Ingrams

We hope you’ve been enjoying discovering the work of the Primers shortlist as much as we have. Over the last few weeks we’ve been showcasing those poets in the running for our mentoring and publication scheme with Nine Arches Press. Hopefully you’ve already had a chance to read poems from Geraldine Clarkson, Jo Young, Kate Davis, Katie Griffiths, Ken Evans and…

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Primers Shortlist – Louise Ordish

We hope you’ve been enjoying discovering the work of the Primers shortlist as much as we have. Over the last few weeks we’ve been showcasing some of those ten poets in the running for our mentoring and publication scheme with Nine Arches Press. The good news is, there are still five poets to come. Do…

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Primers Shortlist – Ken Evans

We’ll be spending the next month or so discovering the work of the Primers shortlist – the ten poets in the running for our mentoring and publication scheme with Nine Arches Press. This marks the half-way point of those poets shortlisted for the inaugural Primers. You’ve already seen work from Geraldine Clarkson, Jo Young, Kate…

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Primers Shortlist – Katie Griffiths

We’ll be spending the next month or so discovering the work of the Primers shortlist – the ten poets in the running for our mentoring and publication scheme with Nine Arches Press. So far we’ve seen poems from three of our poets – Geraldine Clarkson, Jo Young and Kate Davis – and next up is……

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Primers Shortlist – Kate Davis

We’ll be spending the next month or so discovering the work of the Primers shortlist – the ten poets in the running for our mentoring and publication scheme with Nine Arches Press. So far we’ve seen poems from Geraldine Clarkson and Jo Young, and next up is… Kate Davis Kate Davis is from Barrow-in-Furness, where…

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Primers Shortlist – Jo Young

We’ll be spending the next month or so discovering the work of the Primers shortlist – the ten poets in the running for our mentoring and publication scheme with Nine Arches Press. We kicked off these features last week with Geraldine Clarkson, and next up it’s… Jo Young Jo is 39 and from York. She…

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Primers Shortlist: Geraldine Clarkson

Welcome to the first in a series of sneak peeks at the Primers candidates. The shortlist has been announced and the judges, Jane Commane from Nine Arches Press and Kathryn Maris, are busily reading the full submissions to decide which three poets will receive mentoring and publication in the inaugural Primers: Debut Poetry Shorts. We’re eager to find…

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National World Octopus Poetry Day

Today is National Poetry Day, but did you know that today is also World Octopus Day? Coincidence? We think not. We discovered not too long ago that almost everyone who worked for the Poetry School had written, completely independently of the other, a poem about an octopus. This included our former Director, Ollie Dawson, whose…

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Happy National Poetry Day!

To celebrate, here is a sumptuous jumble of poems touching upon the themes of ‘books’, ‘bookshops’, ‘craft’, ‘design’, ‘handwriting’, ‘reading’ and ‘libraries’. Thank you to all who made recommendations, and if there are any that I’ve missed, please write them in the comments section below as I’d love to see them. Enjoy! ✎ ‘In my…

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‘Playing Your Guitar’

Because my stairwell still creaks with your step and your door snaps shut and your cold must swells the air that trips my every breath. Because I wallow in the contradictions of grief, where you stood, you stand, where you cannot be. Because heaven gives hell a shell loss cracks in absolutions or conceits, I…

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‘Arachne’

See me now, a loathsome lob, mantling the May shrouding September in lurex knit; each intricate design mathematically marked with my own round cob of a body. My thread finer than any goddess’ silk, its ductile strength bears the weight of creation; my colours, luminous in sun-spectrum, silvered by moonlight. What do Athene’s dull-dyed wools…

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