Full Moon at Little White Alice

In spite of hats, coats and candles, we’re cold and fear
is in the frosty air: for our own health, that of others,
for the planet, our families, businesses and love affairs,
paintings or projects. We’re afraid of moving and changing,

the process by which butterflies leave the chrysalis,
a new-born baby first cries, tearing open her lungs.
Stagnating’s not an option.  Time taunts us: the ticking clock
mocking our bodies, no longer young, a slow decoupling

from our sister moon. We walk in silent meditation round
the high, granite-strewn pool, seeing, as we step with care,
a frill of thin ice form in the reeds along the edge, watch,
amazed, as Rosie suddenly sheds all of her clothes. She dives,

spine curved in a crescent, breaks the black water, sending
courage, like a scatter of stars, up into the still January air.

by Victoria Field

The Weekly Poem is off on holiday for a couple of weeks! The Poetry Centre wishes you a very good start to the summer, and thanks you for reading. The poems will begin again on 9 June.

‘Full Moon at Little White Alice’ is copyright © Victoria Field, 2012. It was first published in Quadrant (Australia) in the January-February 2012 issue, and is collected in The Lost Boys  by Victoria Field, published by Waterloo Press in 2013, and reprinted by permission of  Waterloo Press.

Notes from Waterloo Press

Note: Little White Alice is a granite-quarrying area of Cornwall.

The Lost Boys enlarges Victoria Field’s scope and her poetics with freshness and ambition, whilst drenching her growing readership with the light of place, person and belief. Penelope Shuttle writes: ‘Less pessimistic than R.S. Thomas, T.S. Eliot or Elizabeth Jennings, Victoria Field is that rara avis, the religious poet. Her spiritual realities are firmly anchored in contemporary reality. Her poems illuminate the heart, and shine with richness of compassion and understanding of human predicament and travail.’

Victoria Field is a writer and poetry therapist, now living and working in Canterbury, Kent after many years in Cornwall. The Lost Boys is her third full collection of poetry. She is a previous writer-in-residence at Truro Cathedral and Associate Artist at Hall for Cornwall who produced two of her plays. Her new play, BENSON was showcased at The Marlowe Theatre Canterbury in April 2014. You can read more about her work on her blog, and read further samples of her work on the Waterloo website.

Waterloo Press offers readers an eclectic list of the most stimulating poetry from the UK and abroad. We promote what’s good of its kind, finding a commonality amongst the poets we publish. Our beautifully designed books range from lost modernist classics, translations and vibrant collections by the best British poets around. Our translation list is growing to 25% of our output. Waterloo Press brings radical and marginalised voices to the fore, mirroring their aesthetics in outstanding book design, including dust jackets; large font; and original artwork. With its growing list, Waterloo Press promotes at last a permeable membrane between contemporary schools, quite apart from archiving a few sacred vessels for good. WP fosters a poetics based on innovation with respect for craft, bloody-mindedness and as founder Sonja Ctvrtecka put it: ‘An elegant unstuffiness – a seagull perched on a Porsche.’ Now the major poetry publisher of the south-east, we also believe strongly in a community of like-minded independent presses. We’ve become a land.

Find out more about Waterloo Press via  its website, or ‘like’ the publisher on  Facebook.

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.

Next to Nothing

Through a watery light of after-rain
this bed, its personal history,
brought back by container ship from Japan
shows in ruffled covers
lines that say love spent the night here,
its indentations, your body’s traces.

This commonplace bed with everyday sheets,
its rumples and creases
caused by the nightmare disturbances,
forms a tableau of shadowy folds
where by contrast time
tries to recover us, in all senses.

Yet still this unmade double bed
while you are away
preserves outlines where your body lay,
reminding me what lovers
do in their proximity
although I’m next to nothing now.

by Peter Robinson

Are you a Brookes member of staff or student? Do you have a favourite poem? The Poetry Centre invites you to share your love of poetry with the community in our exciting new project for National Poetry Day. If chosen to participate, you will be filmed reading your favourite poem and sharing why it is memorable to you. Filming will take place in September 2014 and videos will be posted to the Poetry Centre website via the Oxford Brookes YouTube channel for National Poetry Day on 2 October. If you wish to participate, all you need to do is send an e-mail to favouritepoem@gmail.com including your name, your role at Brookes (student or member of staff), the title and author of your favourite poem, and a brief description of the poem’s significance to you, by this Friday 16 May, 2014. No original poems, please!

On Monday 26 May, join an impressive line-up of writers (Lydia Mcpherson, Ian House, Brookes PhD candidate Jennifer Wong, Alyson Hallett, Barbara Marsh, Victoria Field, Jackie Wills, and special guest Louis de Bernières) at a special Coffeehouse Poetry reading. The event, which takes place from 8-10 pm, is hosted by Anne-Marie Fyfe at the Troubadour Cafe, 263-267 Old Brompton Road, Earl’s Court, London SW5 9JA. Tickets are £8 (£7 concs). For more details, visit the Coffee House Poetry website.

‘Next to Nothing’ is copyright © Peter Robinson, 2013. It is reprinted from Like the Living End (Worple Press, 2013) by permission of Worple Press.

Notes from Worple Press:

Peter Robinson was born in Salford, Lancashire, in 1953, and grew up mainly in Liverpool. His many volumes of poetry include a Selected Poems (2003), Ghost Characters (2006), and The Look of Goodbye (2008). He was awarded the Cheltenham Prize for This Other Life (1988). Both The Great Friend and Other Translated Poems (2002) and The Returning Sky (2012) were recommendations of the Poetry Book Society. A translator of poetry, mainly from the Italian, The Selected Poetry and Prose of Vittorio Sereni (with Marcus Perryman) appeared in 2006 and paperback in 2013. He received the John Florio Prize for The Greener Meadow: Selected Poems of Luciano Erba (2007) in 2008. Other publications include his aphorisms, Spirits of the Stair (2009), four volumes of literary criticism, the most recent being Poetry & Translation: The Art of the Impossible (2010), various edited collections and anthologies, such as The Complete Poems, Translations & Selected Prose of Bernard Spencer (2011) and The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary British and Irish Poetry (2013). A collection of essays on his work, The Salt Companion to Peter Robinson, edited by Adam Piette and Katy Price, appeared in 2007. The poetry editor for Two Rivers Press, he is Professor of English and American Literature, and currently Head of Department, at the University of Reading. You can read more about the book on Worple’s dedicated page, and visit Peter Robinson’s own website.

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 have included work from John Greening, Michael McKimm, Peter Robinson, Mary Woodward and Sally Flint. More information can be found on Worple Press’s websiteFacebook page, and Twitter feed, and you can sign up for Worple’s mailing list by e-mailing:  theworpleco@aol.com.

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 Shipwrecked House II

After Frank O’Hara

When waves were far enough away
and the pumpkin seeds still as amber
in the treasure chest, the calls tumblingly
came to crook the paintings, writings, all.

Now your voice falls like a coin to the ocean’s floor
and the house is dragged apart by the fractures
of your smiles – the thought of its absence echoes
unbelievably – our breath opens like a stiff drawer.

You are everywhere and nowhere, you are
the unfinished cup of tea and its straw,
dipped like a paintbrush. I want to keep
the yoghurts that went out of date yesterday.

by Claire Trévien

Near Oxford this week? Come along to OutBurst, the Oxford Brookes Festival at Pegasus, which runs from Tuesday to Saturday. Showcasing cutting-edge research from across the university, the festival features a fantastic range of events and activities for all ages: hear some of Oxford’s best young writers in an event hosted by Kate Clanchy; explore the connections between technology and modernist literature with Eric White; join English PEN for an evening about how publishing and human rights campaigns can join forces; hear the results of a collaboration between the Poetry Centre and the Archway Foundation about mental health; and write a haiku inspired by spring and display it in the Pegasus garden. Visit the website to learn more about these and the many other events this week, and book tickets via the Pegasus Box Office on 01865 812150 (11-4pm).

‘The Shipwrecked House II’ is copyright © Claire Trévien, 2013. It is reprinted by permission of Penned in the Margins from The Shipwrecked House  (Penned in the Margins, 2013). 

Notes from Penned in the Margins:

‘The Shipwrecked House II’ is from Claire Trévien’s debut collection of the same name, which was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. Trévien’s is a surreal vision, steeped in myth and music, in which everything is alive and – like the sea itself – constantly shifting form. You can read more about the collection on the Penned in the Margins website, and hear Claire discuss her work in a Poetry Centre podcast. You can also follow her via her website or on Twitter.

Penned in the Margins is an independent publisher and live literature producer specialising in poetry and based in East London. Founded in 2004, the company has produced numerous literature and performance events, toured several successful live literature shows, published over twenty-five books, and continues to run innovative poetry, arts and performance projects in the capital and beyond.

Their recent anthology, Adventures in Form, was awarded a Special Commendation by the Poetry Book Society and was chosen as one of 50 Best Summer Reads by The Independent. You can visit the Penned in the Margins website  here to sign up to the mailing list, and follow the publisher on  Facebook and  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.