Stones

for Dave Billings

I nearly went arse over tip on the footpath to Lundy Bay
where violets, primrose and spring squill were jostling
in the last of the sun with scurvygrass and speedwell.

I clambered over the boulders, with half an eye on the tide
that sucked and slopped in the hollows, as I looked for pretties
and paperweights – for stones are a comfort in sorrow.

And I turned up granite and quartz, flat skimmers of shale,
limestone smoothed by the ebb and flow, and a slew
of coppery pebbles tumbling down to the foam;

then heaved myself back up the cliff, pockets bulging with rocks,
as a stonechat sang in the tangled gorse and alder swayed
in the wind, while the boats out at sea held their course.

So I bring you nothing but stones and I let these stones
speak for me, that hold their own in the storm, keep faith
with the tide and the land; for we measure in millions
the years they have been here, and the years till they turn to sand.

by Stephen Boyce

This Friday, The Archway Foundation, UK, in partnership with Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre, presents Rhyme to Change, a free poetry and music event in support of Time to Change, the national campaign to end mental health discrimination. The event takes place at the Barracks Lane Community Garden from 7.30pm, and features Dan Holloway, Matt Sewell (Charms Against the Evil Eye), Hugh McManners and George Edward Chopping. For more details, visit Archway’s Facebook page.

‘Stones’ is copyright © Stephen Boyce, 2014. It is reprinted from The Sisyphus Dog (Worple Press, 2014) by permission of Worple Press.

Notes from Worple Press:

Stephen Boyce lives in Hampshire and works as an advisor to arts and heritage bodies. His poems have appeared in MagmaStapleThe Interpreter’s HouseFrogmore PapersSmiths KnollTears in the FenceInk, Sweat & TearsAcumen and other journals, as well as in various anthologies. He has been a prizewinner in the Kent & Sussex, Leicester, Ledbury, Ware Poets and Plough Prize competitions. His collection Desire Lines (Arrowhead Press 2010) was described by Katherine Gallagher as ‘intelligent, sophisticated, formally assured… a truly exciting new voice’. He is a trustee of Winchester Poetry Festival. You can read more about his work on his website and on Twitter. You can find out more about his book on the Worple website.

Worple Press 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 TheStreet 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.

San F.


Bridged city under fog-white hills
The weeks were love and ended our eyes turning
Away past silence, endurable, the way damp soil tills.
In front of October, already, love was slower burning.
Wakeless suspension, her absence the agent of fever,
You gave the meaning of newspapers, and cleared the mist,
Silently plaguing like a dress I can’t remember
As i held back love with gripped fist.
Sirocco, and even the week-ends spent
The mental move must precede suitcases packed
Standing eternally within this dolmen we bent
Two memories and me gazing into plaster cracked.
       Give time the time to rewind cells
       Another meeting will arrange new hells.

by Ed Dorn

Our contemporary poetry conference, New to Next Generation 2014, takes place between 13-14 March 2015 in London, and features a wide range of discussion panels, poets (such as Helen Mort and Nick Drake), publishers and editors (like Peter Target from this week’s publisher, Enitharmon, Tom Chivers, and Karen McCarthy Woolf), and critics (such as David Wheatley, Suzi Feay, and Jeremy Noel-Tod). You can register for the conference on the IES website. All are welcome. On 13 March, there is also a free evening reading featuring Ian Duhig, Patience Agbabi, and Hannah Lowe. Please register for that here.

‘San F.’ is copyright © Edward Dorn, 2015. It is published in Derelict Air, and is reprinted here by permission of Enitharmon Press.
 
Derelict Air gathers over 400 pages of Edward Dorn’s previously uncollected poetry. Whereas Dorn’s Collected Poems exhibits the poet that he became, Derelict Air reflects a career of becoming, full of unacknowledged successes: impassioned outbursts written during the Cuban missile crisis, illustrated bucolics for an unfinished children’s book, “confetti poems” meant to shower the 1968 DNC, translations of native texts from the Mayans and Aztecs, outtakes from his sci-fi epic Gunslinger, and a relentless extension of his nineties ‘stock ticker’. Complete with scholarly endnotes, manuscript facsimiles, and a cover by the painter Raymond Obermayr, this substantial offering of Dorn’s poetry makes fully visible the transatlantic roots of his anti-capitalism, and is a must-have for anyone interested in post-War American modernism. The book contains a large number of illustrations, including reproductions of manuscripts which reveal Dorn’s unique style of composition. You can find out more about the book on the Enitharmon website, and listen to Ed Dorn read from his work on the PennSound website.

Edward Dorn (1929-1999) was born in Eastern Illinois in 1929 and grew up in rural poverty during the Great Depression. He studied at Black Mountain College with Charles Olson. For several years he travelled through the far West of America, following the winds of writing and employment. He taught at various universities in America and the UK (Essex) where he wrote the first book of his epic Gunslinger), before accepting a professorship in 1978 at the University of Colorado, Boulder where he continued teaching until his death in December 1999. He is the author of over forty books of poetry, fiction, non-fiction and translation. Writing about Dorn’s work in The Guardian , Patrick McGuinness observed that ‘what you get from Dorn is not available anywhere else in poetry.’

‘William Blake dreamed up the original Enitharmon as one of his inspiriting, good, female daemons, and his own spirit as a poet-artist, printer-publisher still lives in the press which bears the name of his creation. Enitharmon is a rare and wonderful phenomenon, a press where books are shaped into artefacts of lovely handiwork as well as communicators of words and worlds. The writers and the artists published here over the last forty-­five years represent a truly historic gathering of individuals with an original vision and an original voice, but the energy is not retrospective: it is growing and new ideas enrich the list year by year. Like an ecologist who manages to restock the meadows with a nearly vanished species of wild flower or brings a rare pair of birds back to found a colony, this publisher has dedicatedly and brilliantly made a success of that sharply endangered species, the independent press.’ (Marina Warner.)

You can sign up to the mailing list on the Enitharmon site to receive a newsletter with special offers, details of readings & events and new titles and Enitharmon’s Poem of the Month. You can also find Enitharmon 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.

Boom!

There was this baby who thought she was a hand grenade.
She appeared one day in the centre of our marriage
– or at least in the spot where all the elements of our union
       appeared to orbit –
and kept threatening to explode, emitting endless alarm-sounds
       that were difficult to decode.
On the ridge of threat, we had two options.
One was attempt to make it to the bottom
of the crevice slowly, purposively, holding hands. The other
       was see how long we could stand there philosophizing
       that when she finally went off we’d be able to take it.
But then the baby who believed she was a hand grenade
       was joined in number: several more such devices entered our lives.
We held on, expecting each day to be our last. We did not let go.
As you might expect, she blew us to smithereens.
We survived, but in a different state: you became
       organized, I discovered patience, shrapnel soldered the parts of us
       that hadn’t quite fit together before. Sometimes when I speak
it’s your words that come out of my mouth.

by Carolyn Jess-Cooke

Two notes from the Poetry Centre: registration is now open for our contemporary poetry conference in London from 13-14 March, to which all are welcome. ‘New Generation to Next Generation 2014’ features academic panels, a poetry reading from Nick Drake and Helen Mort, and discussions about the publishing and reviewing of contemporary poetry. It will be an exciting two days. Full details of the programme are available on the IES website. The conference also includes a free public reading on the evening of 13 March by an illustrious ‘cross-generation’ panel of poets: Ian Duhig, Patience Agbabi, and Hannah Lowe, and you can register for that via the IES.The deadline for submissions to our well-being poetry competition isthis Friday 13 February. It is open to all members of the Brookes community. Find more details on the Poetry Centre website.


‘Boom!’ is copyright © Carolyn Jess-Cooke, 2014. It was published in Boom!, and is reprinted here by permission of Seren Books.

Notes from Seren:

Carolyn Jess-Cooke is a poet and novelist from Belfast. She has received numerous awards for her poetry, including an Eric Gregory Award, the Tyrone Guthrie Prize for Poetry, an Arts Council Writer’s Award, prizes in the Cardiff International Poetry Competition and the National Poetry Competition, and she has twice received a Northern Promise Award. Her work has been translated into over twenty languages. She is Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow. You can read more about Boom! on Seren’s pages, and more about Carolyn Jess-Cooke from her website. You can also follow Carolyn on Facebook and Twitter.

Writing about Jess-Cooke’s work in New Welsh Review, Georgia Carys Williams has commented that: ‘For any readers who sigh at the very idea of pregnancy writing, these poems are somehow unique, laying motherhood bare, written at the raw moment of pain and ecstasy at each strange and miraculous stage. We can only gain further insight from such vivid descriptions of how this experience affects time, identity and relationships.’

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, last 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.

Enda’s Letter

Your second letter arrived this week,
green edged air mail. The only place in the world
to have these envelopes, I’ll bet,
and in case that’s not enough, a small printed
shamrock and Bronze Age jewellery on the stamp,
Tobair an Choir on the post mark: my address
in royal blue. You don’t seem too bothered
about countries, England’s an afterthought
in the corner. With your own you get as far
as Gurteen but no further. What are
states and nations your writing seems to say?
Four Easter eggs and holldays from school,
two kisses and a heart.

Aren’t there laws against letters as young
as this travelling on their own by air?
You’ve only been around five years. Hardly time
to learn to clean your teeth, and here you are
sending a whole page of proper sentences
thousands of miles, getting foreign post codes
right, being taken seriously by postmen,
addressing me as Ms. and, no doubt, by now
learning like a grown up to wait for a reply. 

by Mary Woodward

‘Enda’s Letter’ is copyright © Mary Woodward, 2014. It is reprinted from The White Valentine (Worple Press, 2014) by permission of Worple Press.

Notes from Worple Press:

Mary Woodward was born in Hammersmith to Irish and Welsh parents. As a child she lived in bomb-damaged Shepherd’s Bush, grew up on a council estate in Hertfordshire, and then studied in Liverpool. She has an English degree and a Master’s degree for research on William Morris’s early poetry from the University of Liverpool. She has worked in the Department of Education, and from 1979 to 2002 as a teacher in a comprehensive school; in 1993 she won the TES Teaching Poetry prize. After teaching HND Fashion students she went on to win the Guardian Jackie Moore Award for Fashion Writing in 2003. In 1993 she won the Poetry Business poetry competition and published Almost Like Talking (Smith Doorstep). In 2008 she was awarded a place on a Poetry Trust First Collection seminar at Bruisyard Hall. Her poems have been in many magazines and frequently placed in competitions. Her poem ‘White Valentine’ was Highly Commended in the Forward Prize for Poetry 2014. She also has published short fiction. Read more about the book from Worple’s website.

Worple Press 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.