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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 the A590 slews to a halt at the edge of the Irish Sea. Her poems have been published, printed on shopping bags, implanted in benches, sung and remixed. In 2013 she received a Northern Writers Award.


How the forgetting began

Things she knew –
            the train trip to the sea-side
            the boating pool brimming green
            the moment her mother’s back was turned
            the rubber sea-weed on the pool wall
            the rotting cabbage feel of it as she scrabbled over

The thing she didn’t know –
            the sea hid a waiting gob of virus

Things she knew –
            the sea’s hard slap on the fleet of little peeling hulls
            the shocking intransigent of small boats

The thing she didn’t know –
            the virus intended to get to the core of her spine

Things she knew –
            the lumpy face of the boatman
            the opening and closing of his immense mouth

The thing she didn’t know –
            the virus in her spine would bring a terrible dream of heat

Things she knew –
            the squeeze of deeper water
            the sea creeping green past her hips

The thing she didn’t know –
            the start of the dream would be the start of the forgetting

Things she knew –
            the distance between her and her mother
            the smallness of her mother
            the snag
            the slip
            the sea closing green over her head
            the green taste of sea in her mouth
            the salt
            the salt on her lips.


Stay tuned for features on all the shortlisted poets over the coming weeks, and find out the full Primers shortlist here.

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