Black Jaguar at Twilight


He seems to have sucked
the whole Amazon
into his being, the storm-

clouds of rosettes
through a bronze dusk.
I’ve been there, sheltered

under the buttress
of a giant, felt
the air around me –

its muscles tense,
stalking me
as I stumbled

through dense fur,
my father’s tongue
wet on my neck

as I fell into a gulch,
the blackout of his mouth.
And when I woke

I thought I heard
the jungle cough – this jungle,
the jaguar safe

behind bars. I lean over
and touch his cage – his glance
grazes me like an arrow.

by Pascale Petit

This is the last Weekly Poem until after the Christmas and New Year period. We hope you have enjoyed this year’s selection, and we are very grateful to our publishers who have so generously provided poems. You can find a full list of those publishers on the Poetry Centre site. Their books make excellent Christmas presents!

This Friday is the closing date for receipt of abstracts for the Poetry Centre/IES conference about contemporary poetry, due to take place in March 2015. Inspired by the New, Next, and Next Generation 2014 lists, the conference will explore the state of contemporary British and Irish poetry now, and will feature a host of contemporary poets and critics. For more details,visit the cfp on the IES site.

‘Black Jaguar at Twilight’ is copyright © Pascale Petit, 2014. It was published in Fauverie, and is reprinted here by permission of Seren Books.

Notes from Seren:

Pascale Petit has published six collections, four of which were shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and three featured as Books of the Year in the Times Literary SupplementThe Observer, and The Independent. Her latest is T.S. Eliot-shortlisted Fauverie (Seren, 2014). A portfolio of poems from this book won the 2013 Manchester Poetry Prize and the manuscript in progress was awarded an Arts Council England grant. Her fifth book, What the Water Gave Me: Poems after Frida Kahlo, was shortlisted for both the T.S. Eliot Prize and Wales Book of the Year. You can read more about Fauverie on the Seren website, and follow Pascale’s work on her website or via Twitter.

Writing about Fauverie on The Tuesday Poem site, Kathleen Jones commented that ‘[t]he Fauverie is the big cat house in the Jardin des Plantes zoo in Paris – a city portrayed in these poems as “savage as the Amazon”. At the centre of the collection is the big Jaguar, Aramis, beautiful, wild and dangerous in every cell of his powerful body. And there is also the poet’s father, now weak and dying, but still able to arouse turbulent emotions and painful memories. There is ambivalence and ambiguity in everything – ‘ferocity and grace’ exist side by side – the wild can be both savage and seductive. Humans are also animals.’

Seren is based in Bridgend, South Wales and was originally conceived in the early 80’s by then Head of English at Brynteg Comp, Cary Archard, on his kitchen table as an offshoot of Poetry Wales magazine. After moving briefly to poet Dannie Abse’s garage in Ogmore by Sea, the advent of Managing Editor Mick Felton has seen the press has go from strength to strength. We’ve 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 John Redmond’s Poetry and Privacy, as well as sumptuous art books like the collaboration between the painter Shani Rhys James and a number of poets and writers: Florilingua). Seren’s poetry list, edited by Amy Wack since the early 90s, has produced T.S. Eliot-nominated titles by Deryn Rees-Jones and Pascale Petit, Costa winner John Haynes, and a large list of Forward prize winners and nominees. Cary Archard remains on our Board of Directors and is a lively and influential presence. We mourn the loss, this year, of the wonderful Dannie Abse, also a guiding spirit. Find out more about the publisher from its 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.

3. Reclining Figure, Angles


credo

If there must be a word
and believe me there must
then it is the word alert

and drawn to what moves
beyond her—where she lies
draped about the knees

with fabric pulled taut again
a way of explaining time
to the eternal moment

as her left leg declines
though no longer passive—
the turn of her left shoulder

towards a strong focal point
leaves the body twisted
on the thrust of her flatplanted

right foot—image
of awareness repeatedly
alertness of an interest in

though there’s nothing
here of the egotistical—
in these graceful airs

in what passes through
as it has through these others
the flex and curve

of self-confident pride
yet hollowed and smoothed
and though the head

is shaped to a feature
still the magisterial gaze
is blankly all-seeing

staring beyond shock
or surprise or pleasure
or anger or envy forever

beyond grief—this curious
taking notice and if it ever
comes to be diminished

I mean the head on its stump
it’s the body that senses
and nothing’s let slip
by Martyn Crucefix

This Friday 12 December, join The Archway Foundation, local poets George Chopping, Kate Byard, and Dan Holloway, and musician Matt Sewell for ‘Rhyme to Change’, a free poetry and music event in support of the Time to Change mental health campaign. The event takes place at 7.30pm at the Albion Beatnik Bookshop on Walton Street in Oxford. All are welcome!

‘3. Reclining Figure, Angles’ is copyright © Martyn Crucefix, 2014. It is reprinted from A Hatfield Mass (Worple Press, 2014) by permission of Worple Press.

Notes from Worple Press:

Martyn Crucefix has won numerous prizes including a major Eric Gregory award and a Hawthornden Fellowship. He has published 5 collections of poetry; the latest, Hurt, was published by Enitharmon in 2010. His translation of Rilke’s Duino Elegies in 2006, shortlisted for the Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation, was hailed as “unlikely to be bettered for very many years” (Magma). His new translation of Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus appeared in 2012. You can read more about A Hatfield Mass on the Worple website, and follow Martyn’s work on his website or on Twitter.

WorplePress was founded by Peter and Amanda Carpenter in 1997 and publishes 6-8 books a year by new and established poets: collections, pamphlets, works in translation, essays, interviews. Early authors included Iain Sinclair, Joseph Woods, Beverley Bie Brahic, Kevin Jackson and the acclaimed American nature poet Peter Kane Dufault. Recent collections (2014/2015) include Andy Brown’s Exurbia, Isabel Galleymore’s Dazzle Ship, Martyn Crucefix’s A Hatfield Mass, Julian Stannard’s The Street of Perfect Love, and Clive Wilmer’s Urban Pastorals. More information can be found at the publisher’s website, and 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.

Girl

That girl’s the girl I mean. That one now, wearing
no-animals-were-harmed-in-making-these-
leopardskin leggings, ears posing the question

of what are ears for, really,
but bearing the weight of the biggest silver-
coloured hoops on earth? In diamanté

scarlet heels, six inch,
when she walks, everything sparkles, everything
limps. Her hair is piled up on her head,

like the kind of coastal clifftop rampart
cameras swoop in at from the sea,
in historical action movies, featuring

Mel Gibson. Up her sleeve
is a tattoo, a Chinese symbol, and what it means
is clear. Look, that’s her now, outside The Mermaid,

going a little cross-eyed as she draws
on a cigarette and shouts across the street,
asks an acquaintance if she’d like

some, would she? So how else
can I put it? How much clearer can I be?
That girl’s the girl. That girl’s the girl for me.
by Jonathan Edwards

Two news items. First, the deadline of the call for papers for the conference ‘New Generation to Next Generation 2014: Three Decades of British and Irish Poetry’ has been extended to 19 December. We welcome all abstracts that address one or more of the broad range of themes listed in the cfp, which can be found on the IES website.

And on Wednesday, Professor Maximilian de Gaynesford (University of Reading) will speak on ‘Why Poetry Matters’: 6pm (drinks and nibbles from 5.30) at the Ashmolean Museum’s Education Centre (nearest entrance from St. Giles). The event is free, but turn up early to secure a seat! More details can be found on the Ashmolean website.

‘Girl’ is copyright © Jonathan Edwards, 2014. It was published in My Family and Other Superheroes, and is reprinted here by permission of Seren Books.

Notes from Seren:

Jonathan Edwards was born and brought up in Crosskeys, south Wales. He has an MA in Writing from the University of Warwick, has written speeches for the Welsh Assembly Government and journalism for The Big Issue Cymru, and currently works as an English teacher. He won the Terry Hetherington Award in 2010, was awarded a Literature Wales new writer’s bursary in 2011, and in 2012 won prizes in the Cardiff International Poetry Competition and the Basil Bunting Award. His work has appeared in a wide range of magazines, including Poetry Review, The North, Poetry Wales andNew Welsh ReviewMy Family and Other Superheroes is his first collection, and has been shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Prize 2014 and the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize 2014. You can hear Jonathan discuss his book and read from it on the BBC website, and find out more about the book on the Seren website.

Dave Morgan in Write Out Loud has commented that ‘[t]his collection, in parts nostalgic and emotional, reveals a poet preoccupied with heart and hearth. However, Jonathan Edwards’ characters and places stop short of being caricature, and his appeal to emotion does not trivialise the poignancy and pathos of his observations. Edwards is the poet as sociologist, as well as observer/participant; he makes the customs and culture of the hill tribes of south Wales as exotic as that of the Trobriand islanders.’

Seren is based in Bridgend, South Wales and was originally conceived in the early 80’s by then Head of English at Brynteg Comp, Cary Archard, on his kitchen table as an offshoot of Poetry Wales magazine. After moving briefly to poet Dannie Abse’s garage in Ogmore by Sea, the advent of Managing Editor Mick Felton has seen the press has go from strength to strength. We’ve published a wide range of titles including fiction (which under Editor Penny Thomas has seen the Booker-nominated novel by Patrick McGuinness, TheLast Hundred Days, and an acclaimed novella series based on the medieval Welsh tales from the Mabinogion) and non-fiction (including literary criticism such as John Redmond’s Poetry and Privacy, as well as sumptuous art books like the collaboration between the painter Shani Rhys James and a number of poets and writers: Florilingua). Seren’s poetry list, edited by Amy Wack since the early 90’s, has produced T.S. Eliot nominated titles by Deryn Rees-Jones and Pascale Petit, Costa winner John Haynes, and a large list of Forward prize winners and nominees. Cary Archard remains on our Board of Directors and is a lively and influential presence. We mourn the loss, this year, of the wonderful Dannie Abse, also a guiding spirit. Find out more about the publisher on its 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.