Sudden Collapses in Public Places

like buildings, people can disintegrate
collapse in queues, or in a crowded street

causing mayhem, giving kids bad dreams
of awkward corpses, policemen, drops of blood

but I’m stood here, a miracle of bones
architecturally balanced in my boots

I feel each joint, each hinge and spinal link
jolting to the rhythm of my breath

aware of every tremor in my joists,
and yet I’m scared I haven’t done enough

to be re-enforced and girded, Christ, I fear
those flowers tied to lamp posts, dread the crash

by Julia Darling

Two upcoming events: on Monday 16 November at the Albion Beatnik Bookshop from 7.30pm, the Poetry Centre co-hosts a reading by visiting US poet celeste doaks and Hanne Busck-Nielsen. It promises to be a lively and exciting event. Find out more on our Facebook page.

And then on Friday 20 November there will be a free poetry workshop in Oxford on the theme of ‘history’, led by experienced poets. From myths, collective stories or personal narratives, what does history mean to you? Does living in Oxford, a place steeped
 in history and memories, inspire you to write about the past? To join, email your name and affiliation to The workshop will take place from 3-5pm
 in the Old Library, University Church of St Mary the Virgin, High St, Oxford OX1 4BJ.

‘Sudden Collapses in Public Places’ is copyright © Julia Darling, 2003. It is reprinted from Indelible, Miraculous (Arc Publications, 2015) by permission of Arc Publications.

Notes from Arc Publications:

Julia Darling was born in Winchester in 1956, and moved to Newcastle in 1980. Her first full poetry collection, Sudden Collapses in Public Places, was published by Arc in 2003. It was awarded a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Julia’s second collection Apology for Absence was published in 2005. Darling was a recipient of the prestigious Northern Rock Foundation Writer’s Award, the largest literary award in England.

Ten years after Julia Darling’s death, her poetry continues to represent the very essence of what a poem can be – in her own words, a ‘first aid kit for the mind’. Surprising, vivid, beautiful, often disturbing and always thought-provoking, Darling explores themes of illness, hope, family, and the acceptance of mortality in a body of work that reminds us why we read poetry in the first place. Read more about Indelible, Miraculous, a collected edition of her poems, on the Arc website.

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.