The Prince of Rivers

In the land of rivers I was the prince of rivers.
In the land of houses I lived in a thousand houses.
In the land of scattered bones my bones were scattered

by worshipful princes who carried each one like a scepter.
I was there and a breeze eddied around me.
In the land of questions I was the subject of questions.

I’m sorry what was lost was found utterly changed.
I could see through the sky and bring down the lonely stars.
When I was happy, lambs were born. They stood up

enacting their first dance of balance. In the land of frost
I was never cold. A warm breeze eddied around me.
When I thundered the sky tore like paper. Beyond the sky

the sky tore and rain fell into the moon’s dark holes.
In the land of eagles I received messages from eagles.
I’m sorry the moon is a fake gray plate. I’m sorry the day

is so dark. In the land of the future I saw men of stone.
When I was sad all the seas swelled. The islands
were swallowed and forgotten; books were drenched and forgotten.

When I was old my hair was as long as my story.
I’m sorry the branch bearing fruit is so high.
When I was young trees arched toward me like I was the sun.

I’m sorry the dead are quiet as ash. I’m sorry what’s left is so cold.
I knew I could escape through a hole in the sky. Wherever
I wept thick stalks grew. I knew I could weep for a long time to come.

by Craig Morgan Teicher

‘The Prince of Rivers’ is copyright © Craig Morgan Teicher and BOA Editions, 2012, and reprinted from To Keep Love Blurry (BOA, 2012).

Notes from BOA Editions:

Inspired by Robert Lowell’s Life Studies, Craig Morgan Teicher’s To Keep Love Blurry is an exploration of the charged and troubled spaces between intimately connected people: husbands and wives, parents and children, writers and readers. These poems include sonnets, villanelles, and long poems, as well as two poetic prose pieces, all meditating on the relationship between truth and art. As a son becomes a husband and then a father, Teicher expertly probes a life recast as poetry, with poems that long to leap into the lives of their subjects.

Craig Morgan Teicher is a poet, critic, freelance writer, and poetry editor and director of digital operations at Publishers Weekly. His first book of poems, Brenda Is In The Room And Other Poems, was chosen by Paul Hoover as winner of the 2007 Colorado Prize for Poetry and was published by the Center for Literary Publishing. Cradle Book (BOA, 2010) was his first collection of short stories and fables. You can read another selection from Teicher’s latest collection of poetry, To Keep Love Blurry, at BOA’s website here, learn more about Teicher from his website, follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and watch him read from his work in these YouTube videos.

BOA Editions, Ltd., a not-for-profit publisher of poetry and other literary works, fosters readership and appreciation of contemporary literature. By identifying, cultivating, and publishing both new and established poets and selecting authors of unique literary talent, BOA brings high quality literature to the public. Support for this effort comes from the sale of its publications, grant funding, and private donations. In 2011, BOA celebrated its thirty-fifth anniversary. To find out more about BOA Editions, click here. You can also sign up for the publisher’s newsletter here, find and like BOA on Facebook, and follow the publisher on Twitter by searching for @boaeditions.

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.

A Place Of Fine Ridges

A place of fine ridges
Where light was flung up from the valleys
Where flags flew in the blond wind
Little snowy pockets and high mountain monasteries
So you knew you could get a blessing before leaving for the summit
And you did
And you watched yellow-ribboned flags fly against red
And this was a new impossible adventure
From which you would learn, grow
Develop from the magic and mystery
But you knew one day too
You would trace a tablecloth pattern of red, yellow and blue
Like the blond wind and the coloured flags
And there would be an ashtray nearby and somebody talking
And it would be as if the ridges, never before seen
And the special light from the soft contours
Had never been

by Elizabeth Ashworth

‘A Place Of Fine Ridges’ is copyright © Elizabeth Ashworth, 2008. It is reprinted from Flashes and Specks by permission of Cinnamon Press.

Notes from Cinnamon Press:

In Flashes and Specks Elizabeth Ashworth displays a carefully honed skill, acute powers of observation and an enviable range. Birds and light, shadow and dark, the questing spirit of Walt Whitman, impermanence and a refusal to take anything for granted coalesce in mature language that is threaded with humour and made precise by the artist’s eye at work. You can read more about the book at Cinnamon’s website here, where you can also sample further poems from the collection.

Elizabeth Ashworth is a short story writer, poet, and journalist. Liz was born in Buxton and has lived in north Wales for most of her. She has taught creative writing for many years to children and adults. Her Outposts poetry collection A New Confusion won the Alice Hunt Bartlett Prize, and she was second prizewinner in the HE Bates Short Story Competition.

Cinnamon Press is an independent publisher run by a family team and based in North Wales and the Midlands. We select books that we feel passionate about and concentrate on a list of poetry and fiction titles into which we put maximum effort at every stage of development. We also run regular writing courses and writing competitions, including major awards for poets, novelists and short story writers and a series of mini competitions. Find out more about the publisher and join their mailing list here. You can also find Cinnamon on Facebook and on Twitter.

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.

The Burning Room

(aubade on a picture of spontaneous combustion)

When my lover returns
to his wife, his suburban apartment, the comfort
of a seasoned bed bearing
his beautiful weight

I say nothing.
I do not nod nor sigh nor breathe the light
starting to bleed into the room
the colour of saints

being martyred in portraits.
I walk the gallery of his absence, a tourist only
to this surfeit of space,
the erasure of lines

that is his gift to me.
It is enough, I think, to watch over the wide
territory of his need, to guard
the frontiers of desire

with my body and silence.
It is enough. And so I do not stir,
even when the flames bloom
fresh petals

from my unbrushed hair,
pursed eyelids. I disappear
into photographic retreat,
chemical shadow. So

when my lover returns
I am already the ash he wonders at
and brushes gently away
from the hood of his car.

by Alvin Pang

‘The Burning Room (aubade on a picture of spontaneous combustion)‘ is copyright © Alvin Pang, 2012. It is reprinted by permission of Arc Publications from When the Barbarians Arrive (Arc Publications 2012).

Notes from Arc Publications:

Alvin Pang (b. 1972, Singapore) is a poet, writer, editor, anthologist, and translator. His poetry has been translated into over fifteen languages, and he has appeared in major festivals and anthologies worldwide. When the Barbarians Arrive is a collection of new and selected works, with some poems taken from Alvin Pang’s previous three collections. You can hear Alvin Pang reading from another one of his poems here and watch him on the Arc website here, where you can also read more of his work.

Since it was founded in 1969, Arc Publications 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. As well as its page on Facebook, you can find Arc on Twitter; search for @Arc_Poetry. Visit Arc’s website to join the publisher’s mailing list, and to find full details of all publications and writers. Arc offers a 10% discount on all books purchased from the website (except Collectors’ Corner titles). Postage and packing is free within the UK.

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.

On Speaking to One Another from Different Rooms

Distorted and lingering, ‘Ant!, Dad!, Tats!’
grown interchangeable, explosive,
each sounding furious.
A search for keys in one room
nourishes fear of lateness in another.
From a kettle filled and boiling
to the weather, daily noise is damned
for drowning the needs of now!
My reply is weapon and filibuster,
deliberate sotto voce, below war level,
another trait of my father
I will never perfect:
I’m here, Can’t hear you, What is it?,

screaming inside ‘Who died?’
Because everything is not where we left it
history will revisit us tomorrow
at approximately the same time.
The door is almost closed
and we have not said our goodbyes yet.

by Anthony Wilson

‘One Speaking to One Another from Different Rooms’ is copyright © Anthony Wilson, 2012. It is reprinted from Riddance by permission of Worple Press.

Notes from Worple Press:

On Valentine’s Day, 2006, Anthony Wilson was formally diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. ‘Beginning with what happened’, the poems in Riddance chart the progress of his treatment for this disease, from initial diagnosis to the uncertain territory of remission. Even more essentially, they recover and celebrate all that is most fundamental and affirming about the act of living.

Anthony Wilson is a poet, writing tutor and lecturer at the University of Exeter. His books of poetry are Riddance (Worple Press, 2012), Full Stretch: Poems 1996-2006 (Worple Press, 2006), Nowhere Better Than This (Worple Press, 2002) and How Far From Here is Home? (Stride, 1996). He is also the author of a prose memoir, Love for Now (Impress Books, 2012), detailing his experience of cancer. Anthony has held writing residencies at The Poetry Society, The Times Educational Supplement, The Poetry Trust and Tate Britain, and he works as a tutor for the Arvon Foundation. He is editor of Creativity in Primary Education (Learning Matters, 2009), and co-editor of Making Poetry Matter (Continuum, 2013), and The Poetry Book for Primary Schools (Poetry Society, 1998). Find out more at the poet’s website here.

Worple Press was founded by Peter and Amanda Carpenter in 1997. Since then they have published a wide range of authors, including Iain Sinclair, Joseph Woods, Elizabeth Cook, Beverley Bie Brahic, Clive Wilmer and Kevin Jackson. They published the selected poems of the acclaimed American nature poet Peter Kane Dufault for the first time in the UK (Looking in All Directions); this was followed in 2007 by Kane Dufault’s To be in the same world. Peter Robinson’s The Great Friend and Other Translated Poems was the Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation for Spring 2002. This impressive backlist was augmented in 2012 by three significant titles: Passio: Fourteen Poems by Janos Pilinszky from Clive Wilmer and George Gomori; Riddance by Anthony Wilson; and the republication of William Hayward’s cult novel from 1964, It Never Gets Dark All Night. Over 2013 and 2014 new titles include work from John Greening, Michael McKimm, Peter Robinson, Mary Woodward and Sally Flint.  More information can be found on Worple Press’s new website and Facebook page.