Lord Forgive Me

Kyrie eleison! I said it in the pub.
I said it to my bitter then I said
it to my heart, with nothing not to dread:
my sins were great: I drank there with my love.

Kyrie iesu christe, God above
and me below, drinking at the Hog’s Head.
‘So. Will you love me better when I’m dead?’
He knew it was a joke, but didn’t laugh

just turned away to look at the TV.
(Arsenal was playing Everton.)
Another man was fixed upon the game

and held his hands together on his knee
and chanted and rebuked. But not my man,
who recognizes neither loss nor blame.

by Kathryn Maris

‘Lord Forgive Me’ is copyright © Kathryn Maris, 2013. It is reprinted from God Loves You, published by Seren Books in 2013.

Notes from Seren:

Kathryn Maris is from New York City and has published poems in The SpectatorPoetry ReviewThe Harvard ReviewModern Poetry in TranslationPoetry, and Slate as well as several anthologies. Among her awards are an Academy of American Poets Prize, a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Yaddo, and Hawthornden Castle. She lives in London, where she teaches creative writing and writes essays and reviews.

Kathryn Maris’s first book, The Book of Jobs, appeared in the USA in 2006. Her second collection, God Loves You, is published by Seren this month. In it, she borrows rhythms, vocabulary and themes from the Bible. The result is more than artful parody, although a sly wit is in evidence. It is an approach that accommodates large themes, unravelling them in new ways. Commenting upon her work, Carol Rumens has written that ‘[t]here’s a delicious sense of both open-mindedness and devilry […]. Her company is quirky, stimulating and sparklingly intelligent. You could say she’s like Sylvia Plath with added chutzpah. But, really, Kathryn Maris is like no-one but herself.’ You can read more about Kathryn Maris’s new book at Seren’s site here, read a 2007 interview with Maris here, and follow her on Twitter here.

Seren Books (‘Seren’ means ‘star’ in Welsh) is based in Bridgend, South Wales. Originally conceived by Cary Archard and Dannie Abse as an offshoot of Poetry Wales magazine in the latter’s garage in Ogmore-by-Sea in the early 80s, under Managing Editor Mick Felton the press has gone from strength to strength and has published a wide range of titles including fiction (which under Editor Penny Thomas has seen the Booker-nominated novel by Patrick McGuinness, The Last Hundred Days, and an acclaimed novella series based on the medieval Welsh tales from the Mabinogion) and non-fiction (including literary criticism such as the new John Redmond title Poetry and Privacy, as well as sumptuous art books like the collaboration between photographer David Hurn and poet John Fuller, Writing the Picture). Seren’s poetry list, edited by Amy Wack since the early 90s, has produced T.S. Eliot Prize-nominated titles by Deryn Rees-Jones and Pascale Petit, Costa winner John Haynes, and a large list of Forward Prize winners and nominees, as well as continuing to publishing classic Welsh writers. Most recently, Seren has also added Irish and American writers to its list.

For more details about Seren, visit the publisher’s website, where there is a blog about Seren’s news and events. You can also find Seren on Facebook, on Twitter, and on YouTube, where there are videos of a number of poets reading from their work.

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.