People are murdered all the time,
Somewhere – be it in the laps
Of dozy valleys, or on watchful peaks
That peer; so what a cold comfort
To say ‘Ah, but it’s so far off!’
Shanghai or Guernica –
Either is just as close to my heart
As your small frightened hand,
Or the planet Jupiter high above us.
No don’t look up at the sky,
Don’t even look at the earth, just sleep.
For death is racing through
The sparkling dust of the Milky Way
And pouring molten silver
On the headlong shadows tumbling down.


by Miklós Radnóti

Copyright © Miklós Radnóti; reprinted 2010.

‘Lullaby’ is taken from Forced March, published by Enitharmon Press.

Notes courtesy of Enitharmon:

Forced March is a new edition of Miklós Radnóti’s selected poems, in the powerful and moving translations of Clive Wilmer and George Gömöri. Poet Dick Davis explains why this book is so important: ‘Radnóti has emerged as the major poetic voice to record the civilian experience of World War II in occupied Europe. His poems are an extraordinary record of a mind determined to affirm its civilization in the face of overwhelming odds. He is one of the very greatest poets of the twentieth century, and Clive Wilmer’s and George Gömöri’s versions are by far the best that exist in English.’ You can find out more about this book here.

By the time the Second World War broke out, Miklós Radnóti was already an established poet. When the Nazis took over his home town of Budapest, Radnóti was sent to a labour camp at Bor in occupied Serbia. Then, in 1944, as the Germans retreated from the eastern front, Radnóti and his fellow labourers were force-marched back into Hungary. On 9 November, too weak to carry on, he and many comrades were executed by firing squad. When the bodies were exhumed the following year, Radnóti was identified by a notebook of poems in his greatcoat pocket. These poems, published in 1946 as Foaming Sky, secured his position as one of the giants of modern Hungarian poetry. You can learn more about Radnóti here and here.

Enitharmon Press takes its name from a William Blake character who represents spiritual beauty and poetic inspiration. Founded in 1967 with an emphasis on independence and quality, Enitharmon has been associated with such figures as Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter and Kathleen Raine. Enitharmon also commissions internationally renowned collaborations between artists, including Gilbert & George, and poets, including Seamus Heaney, under the Enitharmon Editions imprint. Discover more about Enitharmon here.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.

Stagshaw Fair

If there’s a spectre in the air, it’s hard
to find in the mizzle smudging the line
between land and sky and the Blackface herd
that scatters as I swing past the footpath sign.

I know this place, these roads, like my own bones
and also love its secrets. I’ve walked
the fair, the north, inside myself. Its stones
are fallen walls, markers where the way forked.

A constellation of returning birds
offers itself as puzzle more than omen.
Where do we think we live? 
I sift the words
in layers. Who with? Gorse. Redwing. Roman.

Whether we go to the fair, or we don’t,
won’t we all come home pockets full of ghosts?

by Linda France

Copyright © Linda France, 2010.

‘Stagshaw Fair’ is taken from You are Her (2010), published by Arc Publications.

Notes courtesy of Arc:

Linda France was born in Wallsend, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and for the past 16 years has lived close to Hadrian’s Wall, near Corbridge in Northumberland. She works as a poet (she has published 11 collections of poetry), tutor, mentor and editor, often collaborating with visual artists, particularly in the field of Public Art. Since 1990 her poetry has won many awards and prizes as well as being carved into stone and wood, cast in metal, etched in glass, stitched onto fabric and printed on enamel. Her recurring themes are landscape and history, flora and fauna, love and identity.

Linda France found the title for her new collection, You are Her, on a fading information board at Hadrian’s Wall, not far from where she lives. Locating and disorientating at the same time, it set the co-ordinates for a body of work on boundaries and identity, damage and absence. At the heart of the book is a section looking at Nature and Cultivation through the life and work of Capability Brown, who was born in Northumberland in 1716. A horse-riding accident in 1995 fractured France’s spine and cracked her pelvis. This injury, although on the surface healed, re-emerged in the form of flashbacks and chronic pain ten years later when several of her friends died in close succession. Many of the poems in You are Her chart the passage of grief and resolution, a cycle of re-orientation. You can find out more Linda France here, and and read further selections from the book here.

Since it was founded in 1969, Arc has adhered to its fundamental principles – to introduce the best of new talent to a UK readership, including voices from overseas that would otherwise remain unheard in this country, and to remain at the cutting edge of contemporary poetry. Arc also has a music imprint, Arc Music, for the publication of books about music and musicians. Find out more about Arc by visiting the publisher’s website, where there are discounts available on Arc books.

temporary lodging

as good a place as any       where the book
just falls open       mid-sentence       to start
here       & subvert the order      far

from the madding       & hardly
a stone standing       cities we’d imagined
way off the beaten       the word is out

let’s follow that as far as it’ll take us
to the edge where even the largest continent
crumbles       how do we bear this

awakening       here       where you come from
you told me once       before the noise begins
at first light you can hear the lions in the zoo

all over the city       you cried remembering
here at least the windows are watertight
for the time being       we can take our chance

by Catherine Hales

Copyright © Catherine Hales, 2010.

‘temporary lodging’ is taken from the volume hazard or fall, and reprinted by permission of Shearsman Books.

Notes courtesy of Shearsman Books:

Catherine Hales grew up near the Thames in Surrey and (after a few years in Norwich and Stuttgart) now lives near the Spree in Berlin, where she works as a freelance translator. Her poetry and translations of contemporary German poetry have appeared in many magazines, including ShearsmanTears in the FencePoetry Salzburg ReviewFireStrideHaiku QuarterlyGreat Works and Shadowtrain. She is a co-organiser of Poetry Hearings, the Berlin festival of English-language poetry, and has been described (by ExBerliner magazine) as a “Berlin poetry heavyweight”. Her pamphlet out of time appeared in 2006; hazard or fall is her first full-length collection, and her work also appears in the anthology Infinite Difference. Her translation of Norbert Hummelt’s Selected Poems, Berlin Fresco, also appears in 2010. You can find out more about Catherine Hales here, and read more poems from her book here.

Shearsman Books is a very active publisher of new poetry, mostly from Britain and the USA, but also with an active translation list. You can learn more about the publisher here.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.

Letter to a Lover

Today I am going to pick you up at the beige airport.
My heart feels like a field of calves in the sun.
My heart is wired directly to the power source of mediocre songs.
I am trying to catch a ray of sunlight in my mouth.

I look forward to showing you my new furniture.
I look forward to the telephone ringing, it is not you,
you are in the kitchen trying to figure out the coffeemaker,
you are pouring out the contents of your backpack.

I wonder if you now have golden fur?
I wonder if your arsenal of kind remarks is empty?
I remember when I met you you were wearing a grey dress,
that was also blue, not unlike the water plus the sky.

They say it’s difficult to put a leash on a hummingbird.
So let us be no longer the actuary of each other!
Let us bow no longer our heads to the tyranny of numbers!
Hurry off the plane, with your rhinestone covered bag

full of magazines that check up on the downfall of the stars.
I will be waiting for you at the bottom of the moving stairs.

by Matthew Zapruder

© Matthew Zapruder and Copper Canyon Press, 2010. 

‘Letter to a Lover’ is taken from Come On All You Ghosts, and reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press.

Notes courtesy of Copper Canyon:

Editor, translator, and winner of the William Carlos Williams Award, Matthew Zapruder in his third book blends humor and invention with love and loss, as when the breath of a lover is compared to “a field of titanium gravestones / growing warmer in the sun.” The title poem is an elegy for heroes and mentors—from David Foster Wallace to Zapruder’s father—and demonstrates a new, expansive range for the poet, highlighting as well a larger body of poetry that is surprising and direct: writing that wrestles with the desires to live rightly, to make art, and to confront the vast events of the day.

Matthew Zapruder is the author of three collections of poetry, American Linden(Tupelo Press, 2002), The Pajamaist (Copper Canyon Press, 2006), and Come On All You Ghosts (Copper Canyon Press, forthcoming 2010). The Pajamaist was selected by Tony Hoagland as the winner of the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and was chosen by Library Journal as one of the top ten poetry volumes of 2006. He has been a Lannan Literary Fellow in Marfa, Texas, and a recipient of a May Sarton prize from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He works as an editor for Wave Books, is a member of the core faculty of UCR-Palm Desert’s Low Residency M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and is the Fall 2010 Holloway Lecturer in the Practice of Poetry at the University of California-Berkeley. He lives in San Francisco.

Copper Canyon Press is a nonprofit publisher that believes poetry is vital to language and living. Since 1972, the Press has published poetry exclusively and has established an international reputation for its commitment to authors, editorial acumen, and dedication to the poetry audience. As the preeminent independent publisher of poetry, Copper Canyon Press fosters the work of emerging, established, and world-renowned poets for an expanding audience.