Putting on my shoes

I am going to be sociable, I need
an intermediary between the planet and my own weight.
I lean my head towards my feet; I love and serve myself.
A rapid mechanical operation.
For four or five seconds
my brain engulfed with blood
and shut off from the universe
reformulates some fundamental notions.
Its conclusions are wiped out when I sit up.
I surface again, tired,
but the world hasn’t changed one iota.
Why not carry on, as a drowned man? Something
might happen.
Every morning my shoes grant me dizziness
and a sudden secret opportunity.

by Joaquín Giannuzzi

This year’s Oxford Brookes Annual Creative Writing lecture will be given by Mark Watson on Wednesday 9 October at 6pm. The novelist and comedian will be combining two strands of his rich and varied career in an evening of ‘bookomedy’, and the event is open to all. To book a place, visit the Brookes website.

This translation of ‘Putting on my shoes’ is copyright © Richard Gwyn, 2012. It is reprinted from A Complicated Mammal by permission of CB editions.

Notes from CB editions:

Joaquín Giannuzzi was born in 1924 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and died in 2004. His ten collections of poetry, written while working as a professional journalist, established his reputation as one of the most admired and influential Spanish-language poets of his time.  You can read further excerpts from the collection on the CB editions website. The translator Richard Gwyn has published several collections of his own poetry, two novels and a memoir, The Vagabond’s Breakfast (2011), winner of the 2012 Wales Book of the Year in the creative non-fiction category, as well as books on illness, language and the body. He is Director of the MA in Creative Writing at Cardiff University.

CB editions publishes no more than six books a year, mainly poetry and short fiction and including work in translation. Since 2008 its poetry titles have twice won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and have been shortlisted for both the Forward Prize and the Forward First Collection Prize three times. In 2011 CBe put on Free Verse, a one-day book fair for poetry publishers to show their work and sell direct to the public; the event was repeated in September 2012 and this year, with over 50 publishers taking part. Find out more about the publisher from the website, where you can also sign up to the CB editions mailing list, or ‘like’ the publisher on Facebook to keep up-to-date with its activities.

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 Sum of Mum

she begins to calculate:

that’s 3 times 9 months
that’s 3 times (approximately 30 days times 9)
which is really 3 sons times 270 days
equals 810 days of combined incubation
that’s 24 hours a day
equals 19,440 hours of combined incubation
but one came early
one month early
so minus one set of 30 days
equals 810 minus 30 equals
780 days times 24 hours a day equals
18,720 hours of combined incubation

when the sons floated in her universe
yolk eyes staring into membrane galaxy
flicking pulse and finger
nail into red-darkness
she breathed for all of them
always will because
everything adds up to four

by Selina Tusitala Marsh

The Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre warmly invites you to attend the opening of the exhibition Where We Begin to Look: Landscape and Poetry on Friday 11 October at 6.30pm in the Glass Tank, Abercrombie Building, Oxford Brookes University. Where We Begin to Look is a collaborative exhibition by the artist Zoe Benbow and the poet, Deryn Rees-Jones,and is presented by the Poetry Society and Small World Theatre, Ceredigion. The opening event will feature a discussion about the exhibition by Benbow and Rees-Jones,and readings by Rees-Jones and Sarah Corbett, whose work appears in the show. You can find out more on the Brookes website. If you would like to attend the opening, please reply to this message with your details. The exhibition runs until 5 November and is open to all.

‘The Sum of Mum’ is copyright © Selina Tusitala Marsh, 2012. It is reprinted by permission of Arc Publications from Fast Talking PI (Arc Publications, 2012).

Notes from Arc Publications:

Selina Tusitala Marsh is of Samoan, Tuvaluan, English, Scottish and French descent, and was the first Pacific Islander to graduate from The University of Auckland with a PhD in English, where she is now a lecturer. Fast Talking PI (pronounced pee-eye) reflects the poet’s focus on issues affecting Pacific communities in New Zealand, and indigenous peoples around the world including the challenges and triumphs of being afakasi (mixed race). You can read more about the collection from Arc’s pages (where you can read further selections from the book), and hear Selina read from it on Soundcloud.

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. 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.

Redwings and Magnetism

How small is the god of those migrating bird-rivers:
redwings, fieldfares that fall from Norway to the Neva.

She will climb from her bed and airbrush their science.
The season is ice-mist, a scared short-range weather.

Redwings, fieldfares that fall from Norway to the Neva
smash as if thrown against the solid-state river.

The season is ice-mist, a scared short-range weather.
A small neck bows, the tiles of its wings

smash as if thrown against the solid-state river.
She makes herself dark coffee, taps in the data.

Her small neck bows; the tiles of those wings
are unfolded and healed by the heat of her argument.

She makes herself dark coffee, taps in the data.
How those ten thousand birds fleer in her thought,

unfolded and healed by the heat of her argument.
Warm the cold lives by her limpid knowledge:

those ten thousand birds that fleer in her thought.
She has climbed from her bed, airbrushed their science,

warmed the cold lives by a limpid knowledge:
how small is the god of those migrating bird-rivers.

by David Morley

This week’s poet, David Morley, will be speaking at John Clare in Space: Poetry, Nature and Contemporary Culture, a conference at Oxford Brookes from 30-31 May 2014. Other confirmed speakers include: Jonathan Bate, Josie Long, Richard Mabey, and Iain Sinclair. All are welcome to attend, and details about registration can be found on the Oxford Brookes website.

‘Redwings and Magnetism’ is copyright © David Morley, 2001. It is reprinted from Of Science, edited by David Morley & Andy Brown (published by Worple Press in 2001) by permission of Worple Press.

Notes from Worple Press:

Of Science is a sample of poems by contemporary poets who are also trained as scientists. The writers of this selection are drawn from the fields of freshwater ecology, mathematics, marine biology, neural physiology, ethnology, computing, phenomenology and biochemistry. The mode of selection is modelled on the 1802 Lyrical Ballads, in the spirit of Miroslav Holub’s notion of ‘serious play’, with the shared belief of Wordsworth and Coleridge that ‘poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge; it is the impassioned expression which is the countenance of all science.’ Read more about the book on Worple’s site.

David Morley read Zoology at Bristol University, gained a fellowship from the Freshwater Biological Association and pursued research on acid rain. He co-founded the Writing Programme at the University of Warwick, of which he is now director, and develops and teaches new practices in scientific and creative writing. He co-edited The New Poetry for Bloodaxe and authored The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing. He has published eleven collections of poetry. The Invisible Kings (Carcanet, 2008) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, as was his most recent book, The Gypsy and the Poet (Carcanet, 2013). You can read more from David about his new book on his blog at the University of Warwick, read an illuminating interview with him by Simon Kövesi in the latest John Clare Society Journal, and follow his work via his website and Twitter.

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.

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 Homecoming

For Lois Pereiro

In Ithaca everyone was dead.
They say it was me, Argos the dog, who woke first:
           –  Dead, dead, dead!
A smell stronger than dung,
the smell of a living man,
made me vomit celestial remains,
That man who reeked of legend,
a twitching skeleton,
a bad-tempered ghost,
ripped open the scar with his nails
and smeared the mired shadows with words.
There were our names. All of them.
And the infallible memory of the trees
in Laertes’ orchard.
Half a hundred rows of vines,
thirteen pear trees,
ten apple trees,
forty fig trees.
The blind old man saw, in the end, his son, thanks to the earth’s algebra.
After, Odysseus
came and woke us one by one
and our tears, since then,
are the rope that binds the light
with a violent joy.

by Manuel Rivas, translated by Lorna Shaughnessy

This is the second in our series of four poems taken from the shortlist for The Corneliu M Popescu Prize. The Prize, run by the Poetry Society, was formerly called the European Poetry Translation Prize. The first winner of the Prize, in 1983, was Tony Harrison for The Oresteia. The prize was relaunched in 2003, and renamed in honour of the Romanian translator Corneliu M Popescu, who died in an earthquake in 1977 at the age of 19. The Popescu Prize 2013 has a shortlist of seven books, and the winner will be announced on 29 November.

The original poem ‘The Homecoming’ is copyright © Manuel Rivas, 2009, and the translation is © Lorna Shaughnessy, 2012. It is reprinted by permission of  Shearsman Books from  The Disappearance of Snow  by Manuel Rivas, translated by Lorna Shaughnessy.

The judges of the Popescu Prize, Karen Leeder and David Wheatley, comment: ‘What is your message?’ asks Manuel Rivas in ‘Missed Call’, but these translations show that, as well as being what gets lost, poetry in translation can be about what gets through, the connections we make, and the voices we hear loud and clear.

Poet, novelist, short-story writer and journalist, Manuel Rivas was born in A Coruña, Galicia (north-western Spain) in 1957, and writes in Galician, which is one of Spain’s co-official languages. His work has a deep connection with the landscape, folklore and history of Galicia, but has a universal impact that has led to him being recognised as one of Europe’s leading contemporary writers. A desaparición da neve is his most recent collection of poems and had the unusual distinction of being issued with a single volume in Spain together with translations of the poems into Catalan, Basque and Castilian. Further selections from The Disappearance of Snow can be found in  this pdf file from the Shearsman website.

Lorna Shaughnessy was born in Belfast and lives in County Galway. She lectures in the Department of Spanish, NUI Galway. She has published two collections of her own poems, Torching the Brown River and Witness Trees (Salmon Poetry) as well as two translations of contemporary Mexican poets: Mother Tongue: Selected Poems by Pura López Colomé and If We Have Lost Our Oldest Tales by María Baranda, both with Arden House.

Shearsman Books is a very active publisher of new poetry, mostly from Britain and the USA, but also with a very active translation list. Founded in 1981 as a magazine, with some occasional chapbooks, the press – now based in Bristol – has grown rapidly in recent years, and is now one of the most active poetry publishers in the U.K. You can find out more about Shearsman’s work from the  publisher’s website.

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.

Happy Days

                Happiness is a warm gun – JOHN LENNON


Mammy tells me “Just read your book.”
I’m sick of reading Captain Cook.
The rain has made a lake in our garden.
I hope some swans land there.
I feel sorry for John Tracy,
All alone in Thunderbird 5.
Do the Tracys have rows like us?
Who cooks dinners?
Who irons their uniforms?
Jeff could marry Lady Penelope.
Then they’d all be happy.


The cherry blossom trees
Are happy young bridesmaids:
They lean together in the breeze,
Petals flying from their braids.

When I quietly eat my Frosties
Aware of my character flaws
I hear the magpies’ congratulations
And the frying pan’s applause.

by Alan Moore

The Poetry Book Society recently announced its fantastic T.S. Eliot Prize Tour, a ten-venue national tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first T.S. Eliot Prize. The tour will visit Portsmouth on 17 September, then Winchester, Oldham, Halifax, Ludlow, Glasgow, Norwich, Liverpool, Durham, and finally Sheffield on 15 October. It includes a spectacular selection of the best poets writing today. Visit the PBS website for more details, and head to the venue nearest you this autumn!

‘Happy Days’ is copyright © Alan Moore, 2010. It is reprinted by permission of Anvil Press from How Now! (Anvil Press, 2010).

Notes from Anvil Press:

In How Now! Alan Moore treats themes of love, evil, and personal loss with gentle humour and tough seriousness. He evokes memories of Ireland in the sixties, seventies, and eighties, capturing flashes of awareness from childhood, youth and adult years with masterful description of emotion and settings.

This absorbing work is his second collection of poems, following Opia, a Poetry Book Society Choice in 1986, which was described by Ciaran Carty as ‘a virtuoso first collection’. You can read ‘Summer’, another poem from his latest collection, on Anvil’s site.

Alan Moore was born in 1960 in Dublin, Ireland, where he lives and works. A graduate in English and Philosophy of University College, Dublin, he worked in the Office of the Revenue Commissioners and in legal publishing before setting up his own tax consultancy business. He is a crime novelist, teacher, business adviser and the author of several professional books.

Anvil Press, founded in 1968, is based in Greenwich, south-east London, in a building off Royal Hill that has been used at various points in its 150-year history as a dance-hall and a printing works. Anvil grew out of a poetry magazine which Peter Jay ran as a student in Oxford and retains its small company ethos. Visit Anvil’s website here, where you can sign up to their mailing list to find out about new publications and events.

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.