Amaretti

Toadstool tops.  Two.  Cracked as nana’s old
knee sore.  And you launched one: thumb-spun
higher than a dollar – your mouth – that catpink
ridge-beam waiting; barely budged your chin to
grind it like a roof tile; offered the other, pathetic
as a button on your outstretched palm.  And I
snatched it quick as a whisker, bit, felt my tongue
melt caverns deep inside, release its acrid-sweet
almond adultness –
                                  which I dribbled out in spite
of the almost-shake of your loaf, the high arches
of your brows.  Then you tunnelled the wrapper
between fingers to roll a joke, a giant’s
cigarillo from air’s tobacco; stood it
end first on ma’s stainless tea tray, flicked
your flint lighter to chase the tip with flame
which seeped downwards, filled my head
with burning –
                                  until, at the last,
it wobbled, transfigured, a ganglion
of desire there, rose up into our cathedralled
Italian stairwell: willed wisp of your making
who stood, an edifice of father frowning
his gargoyled wonder into mine, our wish
held up by ash, all trembling, climbing
into hallowed space.

by Mario Petrucci

from Flowers of Sulphur (2007)

Flowers of Sulphur crackles with metaphorical energy.  Over a decade in the making, this remarkable new book confirms Petrucci’s reputation for exploring the gamut of human experience.  It demonstrates, once again, his rare capacity to bridge the gap between science and poetry with power and authenticity. ‘As with the best poets, thinking and feeling are, for Petrucci, a single act’ (George Szirtes). Indeed, just as we now know that light is both corpuscular and wave-like in nature, so Flowers of Sulphur is able to embody many, often seemingly paradoxical, qualities.  These poems ring with complexity and clarity: like our quantum world, this award-winning collection reinvents itself moment to moment so as to unsettle, move and inspire us.

Mario Petrucci is an ecologist, physicist and war poet. He is also the only poet to have been in residence at the Imperial War Museum. His book-length sequence on Chernobyl won the Daily Telegraph / Arvon International Poetry Competition in 2002. A Natural Sciences graduate, Mario works as an educator and a radio/TV broadcaster. Poems from Heavy Water are featured in Poetry Review, The London Magazine, Acumen, Agenda, on BBC Radio and at The Royal Festival Hall. Flowers of Sulphur has won an Arts Council of England Writers’ Award and the London Arts New London Writers Award, but also collects together many individual prize-winning poems, including successes in the Bridport, the London Writers Competition, and Frogmore and the National Poetry Competition.

Founded in 1967, Enitharmon Press publishes fine quality literary editions. While specialising in poetry, we also publish fiction, essays, memoirs, translations, and an extensive list of 

To the Boy Elis

Elis, when the blackbird calls in darkest wood,
This is your destruction.
Your lips drink the cool of the blue rock-spring.

When your brow softly bleeds, forsake
Ancient legends
And dark readings of the flight of birds.

But you walk with soft steps into the night
Where purple grapes hang thickly
And you move your arms more gracefully in the blue.

A thorn-bush sounds
Where your moonlike eyes are.
O how long, Elis, have you been deceased.

Your body is a hyacinth
Into which a monk dips his waxen fingers.
Our silence is a black cave

From which at times a gentle beast emerges
And slowly lowers heavy eyelids.
Black dew drips onto your forehead,

The last gold of decayed stars.

by Georg Trakl, translated by Margitt Lehbert

from The Poems of Georg Trakl
Anvil, 2007
Translation copyright © Margitt Lehbert 2007

Margitt Lehbert’s deft and attentive translations of Trakl’s poems and her introduction to The Poems of Georg Trakl are a fine guide to a poet now regarded as among the most original of the twentieth century. Surreal, expressionist and starkly beautiful, his poems responded to his own pain and to the traumas of the First World War with work of unique depth and power. Although he is a complex and difficult poet in many respects, he translates well into a complex and difficult English.

Born in Salzburg, Austria, he lived from 1887 to 1914, mainly in Vienna. He died after a drug overdose in a military hospital in Krakow, Poland. Margitt Lehbert has translated Elizabeth Bishop, Carol Ann Duffy and Les Murray for German publishers, and Sarah Kirsch into English for Anvil. She lives in southern Sweden where she runs a small press, Edition Rugerup.

Anvil Press Poetry was founded in 1968 and publishes English-language poetry and poetry in translation, both classic and modern.

Yesterday When I Was Young

in memory of Dusty Springfield 

Mimosas, dear, forcing lemony scent
into a cold reactionary March wind,
I bought them on the day you died
to raise a yellow torch in memory
of how your voice addressed our needs
in every shade of love that’s blue
and shared with us its aching entreaty
to find a little sunshine after rain,
a sanctuary from bruises dealt
invisibly across the soul.
Today, your death-day, you are on the air
posthumously, your husky R&B
slow-burners building in their rise and fall
smokily pitched delivery.
Your life returns with every anguished catch
in phrasing, you the bouffant blonde,
the patron saint of mascara

wreathed in a boa, lending signature
to how the song hinged on a frantic sob
to make the pain definitive…
I keep on hearing retros of your voice
as though you’re still singing familiar hits
six hours after your death. Big purple clouds
arrive, dispensing hints of flashy showers.
You’ve gone away, like someone takes the train
with no-one knowing, no address,
no destination, no reporting back
about pure music on the other side.
We listen to you in Freedom, First Out,
and hold you near this way and celebrate
a torchy diva’s dramas, feel the hurt
in your vocal authority,
and hope you’re healed in passing, wish you where
the light in its entirety shines through.

by Jeremy Reed

from This Is How You Disappear (2007)

This Is How You Disappear is Jeremy Reed’s most autobiographical book to date, and one in which he celebrates the dead and missing friends who were the formative and enduring influences on his life as a poet.  Using the elegy to imaginatively recreate the often extraordinary individual characteristics of his subjects, Reed’s personal book of the dead is one that burns with his customary dynamic for dazzling imagery, glows with compassion for the suffering, and sparkles with a visual retrieval of detail so acute it hurts. With the title taken from the first line of a Scott Walker song, ‘Rawhide’, This Is How You Disappear is elegiac poetry at its most brilliant.

Jeremy Reed was born in Jersey, Channel Islands, and read for his PhD at the University of Essex. He is widely acknowledged as the most imaginatively gifted British poet of his generation, praised by Seamus Heaney for his ‘rich and careful writing’ and by David Lodge for his ‘remarkable lyric gift’. His Selected Poems were published by Penguin in 1987. Subsequent collections have been Nineties (Cape, 1990), Dicing for Pearls (1990), Pop Stars (1994), Sweet Sister Lyric (1996), Saint Billie (2001) and Duck and Sally Inside (2004), all from Enitharmon Press.  He has also published Heartbreak Hotel (Orion, 2002), a verse biography of Elvis Presley.

Founded in 1967, Enitharmon Press publishes fine quality literary editions. While specialising in poetry, we also publish fiction, essays, memoirs, translations, and an extensive list of artists’ books.

16 transit of venus. (2)

protean shape unshaping, my desire,
that turns in me like starlings whorling dusk,
or like high cloud that burns belated fire
as in the dark damp blooms release their musk,
go figure; press on leaves that suppler print
of yours than breath, write in declining sheets
of long grass trailing lines, and urge, and hint,
and ring the round that being rung, repeats;
but coil in shadows, love, and never touch
that finest of her hairs, the lightest drop
welled at her eye, whose globe is made too much
a world, for your discovery to stop;
hold; linger at her lip, and at her ear
by turns, returned, that make to disappear.

by Andrew Zurcher

from coming home by andrew zurcher (Landfill, 2006)
Copyright © Andrew Zurcher

Andrew Zurcher is a Fellow in English at Queens’ College, Cambridge and the author of Spenser’s Legal Language: Law and Poetry in Early Modern England (D.S. Brewer, 2007). His poems have previously appeared in Bad Press Serials.

coming home is a sequence of 56 mostly Shakespearean sonnets. Here, in the second of three poems titled ‘transit of venus’ – a rare astronomical event, when the planet passes between the Sun and the Earth – the poet considers the difference between desire as a force of nature (the ‘turns’ of the vivid opening) and love as an understanding of transience (the ‘turns’ of the enigmatic ending). Venus, we are reminded, was also the Roman goddess of love, eternal provoker of transitory desire.

Landfill Press was founded in Norwich in 2004 as a publisher of contemporary poetic sequences.