The Red Aeroplane

From the oratory window I witness
mid-air doom, a slew of concentric
swirls, a trail of forge-sparks,
and that’s it. A vermilion two-seater
stagger-wing loops earthbound,
so much depending upon centrifugal
drive. Slivers of toughened glass
spangle the outer stone sill,
the vacant co-pilot seat
is plummeted deep in rosebed mulch.

I question now if the red bi-plane
ever was, the way sureties tilt
and untangle from any one freezeframe
to its sequel. Maybe I was glimpsing
that two-seater red pedal car
– injection-moulded plastic –
collected one Christmas Eve night
for a fevered child? Or conflating
the replica cherry-red sixty-three
we’d toyed with, tinkered with, briefly
on a tinsmith’s covered stall
that drenched Saturday?
                                        What can’t be
cast in any doubt is the wreckage,
a fragmentary scattering,
the mangledness on the far side
of glass. And how a Galway blue
skyscape proves ineluctably
the exponential function of tangents.          


by Anne-Marie Fyfe

Irish literature expert (and former Director of the Poetry Centre) Dr Eóin Flannery, and Dr Donal Lowry, who has published widely on Irish foreign policy, are leading a one-day short course on Saturday 14 May at Oxford Brookes: ‘One Hundred Years On: 1916–2016. The Easter Rising: its History and Literature, Then and Now’. All are welcome. For more details, visit the Brookes website.

Don’t miss Modern Poetry in Translation‘s 50th anniversary study day in ‎Oxford on 14 May. A really spectacular programme is on offer with writers and translators like Patrick McGuinness, Karen Leeder, David Constantine, Jamie McKendrick and Sasha Dugdale. There will be another translation day in Cambridge on 30 April.


‘The Red Aeroplane’ is copyright © Anne-Marie Fyfe, 2015. It is reprinted from House of Small Absences (Seren, 2015) by permission of Seren Books.House of Small Absencesfollows Fyfe’s popularUnderstudies: New and SelectedPoems. Her new collection serves as an observation window into strange, unsettling spaces—a deserted stage-set, our own personalised ‘museum’, a Piedmontalbergo,underground cities, Midtown roof-gardens, convent orchards, houseboats, a foldaway circus, a Romanian sleeper-carriage—the familiar rendered uncanny through the distorting lenses of distance and life’s exigencies, its inevitable lettings-go. Youcan read more about the book on theSeren website, and more about Anne-Marie’s work and forthcoming appearances onher own site. Anne-Marie is alsoon Twitter.


Anne-Marie Fyfe
, poet, creative-writing teacher, arts-organiser of the Troubadour Coffee House poetry events and former Chair of the Poetry Society, (2006-2009), was born in Cushendall in the Glens of Antrim and now lives in West London. She has read and performed her work worldwide.

Seren is an independent publisher based in Wales. Founded in 1981 to publish poetry discovered by the then-editor of Poetry Wales magazine, Cary Archard. Under Managing Editor Mick Felton the press now publishes a broad range of fiction, non-fiction, and criticism. Amy Wack has been Poetry Editor at Seren for over 20 years. During that time, poets published by Seren have won or been shortlisted for the Costa, Forward, T.S. Eliot and Aldeburgh Prizes. ‪You can find out more about Seren on 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.

Denominations

You’ll paint me gross –
gripping my shins,
retching silver coins.

Let me put you straight.
All I’ve got’s loose change
for late-night kofta stands

outside the Lions’ Gate,
where tote-bag tourists
sip tart tamarind

from paper cups.
On Friday night I saw the city
wane and wax to pixels

on the screens of untold
mobile phones. From unbuilt
minarets, muezzins hoistthe pale Passover moon
above the gospel

of the Separation Wall.


by Damian Walford Davies


Irish literature expert (and former Director of the Poetry Centre) Dr Eóin Flannery, and Dr Donal Lowry, who has published widely on Irish foreign policy, are leading a one-day short course on Saturday 14 May at Oxford Brookes: ‘One Hundred Years On: 1916–2016. The Easter Rising: its History and Literature, Then and Now’. For more details, visit the Brookes website.

Don’t miss Modern Poetry in Translation‘s 50th anniversary study day in ‎Oxford on 14 May. A really spectacular programme is on offer with writers and translators like Patrick McGuinness, Karen Leeder, David Constantine, Jamie McKendrick and Sasha Dugdale. There will be another translation day in Cambridge on 30 April.

‘Denominations’ is copyright © Damian Walford Davies, 2015. It is reprinted from Judas (Seren, 2015) by permission of Seren Books

Damian Walford Davies is Professor of English and Head of the School of English, Communication & Philosophy at Cardiff University. He has published two previous collections with Seren. A literary critic, theorist, and editor as well as a poet, he has published widely on Romantic-period literature and culture and on the two literatures of Wales.

Writing about Damian Walford Davies’ book, Judas, Tiffany Atkinson comments: ‘An apocryphal tour de force, Damian Walford Davies’s Judas is a long-overdue mythobiography of the infamous Iscariot. With dazzling linguistic precision, mordant wit and unflinching humanity, these poems turn the familiar story inside out, exposing not just the many facets it has accrued from two thousand years’ telling, but how the veil between past and present, love and betrayal, magic and miracle is fine, and easily torn. Walk with this shadowy figure past the tombs, soldiers and late-night kofta stands of a shimmering, timeless Jerusalem, and be prepared to hear the other side.’ You can read more about Judas on the Seren website, and an interview with Damian Walford Davies here.

Seren is an independent publisher based in Wales. Founded in 1981 to publish poetry discovered by the then-editor of Poetry Wales magazine, Cary Archard. Under Managing Editor Mick Felton the press now publishes a broad range of fiction, non-fiction, and criticism. Amy Wack has been Poetry Editor at Seren for over 20 years. During that time, poets published by Seren have won or been shortlisted for the Costa, Forward, T.S. Eliot and Aldeburgh Prizes. ‪You can find out more about Seren on 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.

Pinball Electra

You and your robot bride, I scoff
(the sport of waking her, waking her),
cold metal clattering to fleshen
out the supine girl, evince
that throaty laugh’s ideal
appreciation of your skill.

You ribbed me back –
how I, Electra-like, keep
harping on my theme.
And I dream a dark arcade,
where the pinball king
has made a game of genius,

to make him breathe, if
I play it right. Shake the cabinet
with the volleys, flippers
to defibrillate the dormant heart,
a silver hail on whitened skull.
Make him turn and see.

No cheat codes for this level,
a hall of earnest girls play on.
Coinfall after coinfall,
the expectation of that crucial voice,
shattering the case’s glass.
Make him speak to me.


by Isobel Dixon

This Thursday lunchtime, the Poetry Centre invites you to join us in a celebration of ‪Shakespeare’s Sonnets in this special year commemorating the 400th anniversary of his death. A dozen students and staff will be reading their favourite sonnets, and the event will begin with a short introduction by Dr Katharine Craik, an expert on Shakespeare and his work. It will take place from 12-1pm in T.300 (Tonge Building), Gipsy Lane campus.   

‘Pinball Electra’ is copyright © Isobel Dixon, 2013. It is reprinted from Bearings (Nine Arches Press, 2016) by permission of Nine Arches Press. ‘Pinball Electra’ was originally published in Coin Opera II, edited by Jon Stone and Kirsten Irving (Sidekick Books, 2013). 

In her fourth collection Isobel Dixon takes readers on a journey to far-flung and sometimes dark places. From Mumbai to Hiroshima, Egypt to Edinburgh, the West Bank and beyond, these poems are forays of discovery and resistance, of arrival and loss. Bearings sings of love too, and pays homage to lost friends and poets – the voices of John Berryman, Michael Donaghy, Robert Louis Stevenson and others echo here. And there
is respite for the weary traveller – jazz in the shadows, an exuberant play of words between the fire and tremors. In this wide-ranging collection Dixon explores form and subject, keeping a weather eye out for telling detail, with a sharp sense of the threat that these journeys, our wars and stories, and our very existence pose to the planet. Isobel Dixon will be launching the collection at the London Book Fair on Wednesday 13 April at the Globe Theatre, 5B140 in the Great Hall from 5-6pm, and also at the Wenlock Poetry Festival, together with Abegail Morley and Julia Webb on Sunday 24 April.

Isobel Dixon grew up in South Africa, where her debut, Weather Eye, won the Olive Schreiner Prize. She studied in Scotland and now works in London, returning frequently to her family home in the Karoo. Her further collections are A Fold in the Map and The Tempest Prognosticator and she co-wrote and performed in the Titanic centenary show The Debris Field (with Simon Barraclough and Chris McCabe). Mariscat will publish a pamphlet, The Leonids, in August 2016. You can read more about Isobel’s new book on the Nine Arches website, and more about her work on her own site.

Since its founding in 2008, Nine Arches Press has published poetry and short story collections (under the Hotwire imprint), as well as Under the Radar magazine. In 2010, two of our pamphlets (The Terrors by Tom Chivers and The Titanic Cafe closes its doors and hits the rocks by David Hart) were shortlisted for the Michael Marks Poetry Pamphlet prize and Mark Goodwin’s book Shod won the 2011 East Midlands Book Award. In 2012, Nine Arches launched the Debut New Poets Series of first collections and the press has now published more than 30 collections of poetry and 10 issues of the magazine. We continue to build a reputation as a publisher of well-crafted and innovative contemporary poetry and short story collections. Follow Nine Arches 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.

The Museum of Bus Stop Queues


Bowling pins holding on to small suns.

Almost all of their work
addresses the theme of retaliation.

They sip time through a straw.

Their book has all the symptoms
of a forgotten ice cream.

‘Our main weakness is probably the universe.’

What of their best quality?

                                                They look upstream.

They are always looking upstream.


by Claire Trévien

This is the final poem from a special trio featuring work by poets who are appearing at one of the two Poetry Centre events in the Oxford Literary Festival. Claire Trévien will be reading alongside Sarah Hesketh and Harry Man tomorrow (Tuesday 5 April) at 4pm. There are more details on the Oxford Literary Festival website. We hope to see you there!

‘The Museum of Bus Stop Queues’ is copyright © Claire Trévien, 2016. It is reprinted from Astéronymes (Penned in the Margins, 2016) by permission of Penned in the Margins.

Astéronyme, n. (French). A sequence of asterisks used to hide a name or password. In this follow-up to her acclaimed debut, The Shipwrecked House, Trévien becomes curator of imaginary museums, indexing objects and histories with a quixotic energy. The stunning central sequence recounts a journey across the Scottish island of Arran, where myths are carved into remote caves and a mountain hides behind a ‘froufrou of gas’. Formally inventive and intricately composed, Astéronymes is a book of redactions – and an elegy for places and people that have been ruined by time, erosion or neglect.

Claire Trévien is an Anglo-Breton poet, editor, reviewer, workshop leader and live literature producer. She is the author of the pamphlet Low-Tide Lottery and of The Shipwrecked House, which was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. She edits Sabotage Reviews, and in November 2013, she was the Poetry School’s first digital poet-in-residence. Her second collection, Astéronymes, has just been published. You can read more about the book on the Penned in the Margins website, and more about Claire on her own site.

Penned in the Margins creates publications and performances for people who are not afraid to take risks. The company believes in the power of language to challenge how we think, test new ideas and explore alternative stories. It operates across the arts, collaborating with writers, artists and creative partners using new platforms and technologies. Read more about its work on its website. You can also follow Penned in the Margins on Twitter and 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.

The Last Words of the Love-Sick Time Machine Pilot

And would you ever know if I had
snatched the keys from under the mat,
and unlocked the nucleus of our parents’ old Astra
with its quarks of petrol and spent Silk Cut packs

and taken my younger self for a spin
past the shutters lit blue from within –
the freezer light of Kennedy’s fishmonger’s
not Frankenstein’s lab after all – sorry,

and told you, Donny, this one’s important:
do what you were going to do and ask Susie Whitlow
on a date— yes, like last Wednesday when you tried
at Latchmere slides, feeling doubly sick from the height 

and your nerves on the ladder to the diving board –
I shouldn’t remind you – but in ten years’ time,
over a bottle of wine, she’ll tell you she’s got
a new boyfriend, whose name, you joke, sounds

like a make of saucepan, which isn’t so funny
for you, so much as a blow but sometimes
a little hurt is worth a heartful – like baking
with Dad while nursing a broken foot

from that casserole dish you failed to lift,
and don’t leave for Dover without matches,
and put a couple more quid on Little Polveir
at the Grand National this year, but still  

slip the winnings into the lining of Mum’s Dorla purse
like you were planning and when pulling up home again
I say, this is my last visit, I’m restoring the timeline,
so you should go and tip-toe inside and pause for a beat  

on the third stair, and when the past’s within walking distance
try not to startle all three of your selves on the landing,
or you’ll wake everyone up and we won’t make it,
and Mum wants answers and Dad gets sick 

and don’t recall our talk to anyone,
over time it will blur, and merge;
let’s call me the best of a good conscience
and say these things, and only these things

meaning when you test the Tipler core in Culham
after the press conference, you keep curious,
stride into the temporal displacement unit,
feeling in your atoms you might never know?


by Harry Man

This is the second of a special trio of poems being posted this week by writers who are featuring in one of the two Poetry Centre events in the upcoming Oxford Literary Festival. Harry Man will be reading alongside Sarah Hesketh and Claire Trévien on Tuesday 5 April at 4pm, whilst Helen Mort and Alan Buckley will be performing their poetry show ‘The Body Beautiful’ on Sunday 3 April at 2pm. We hope to see you there!

‘The Last Words of the Love-Sick Time Machine Pilot’ is copyright © Harry Man, 2013. It is reprinted from Lift (Tall Lighthouse, 2013).

Harry Man was born in Buckinghamshire in 1982. He won the 2014 Struga Poetry Evenings UNESCO Bridges of Struga Award, and his pamphlet, Lift, was shortlisted for the ‘Best Pamphlet’ in the 2014 Saboteur Awards. Harry has taught Creative Writing workshops in a wide-range of settings. His poetry has appeared in many publications, including New Welsh ReviewFuselitPoems in the Waiting RoomAnd Other Poems, as well as in Anthologies such as Coin Opera 2 and Rewiring History.

Harry has collaborated with the dancer & choreographer Jennifer Essex on a production for the London College of Fashion, with Kirsten Irving for ‘Auld Enemies’ curated by SJ Fowler, and with illustrator Sophie Gainsley on Finders Keepers, which examines Britain’s disappearing wildlife. Harry also narrates children’s books for HarperAudio and was selected to be the voice of many of Michael Morpurgo’s children’s books. In 2016, Harry was Poet-in-Residence at the StAnza Poetry Festival. Harry Man’s first pamphlet of poems, Lift (2013) is published by Tall Lighthouse in English and by Struga Poetry Evenings in Macedonian. You can read more about Harry on his website, more about Lift on the Tall Lighthouse site, and follow Harry on Twitter.

Tall Lighthouse is an independent publishing house in the UK, established in 1999 by Les Robinson. It publishes full collections of poetry as well as pamphlets, and has featured work by Maurice Riordan, Hugo Williams, Daljit Nagra, Helen Mort, Roddy Lumsden, and Sarah Howe, amongst others. The press has established itself as a leading light on the small press poetry scene, and its pamphlet publications have received the Poetry Book Society‘s Pamphlet Choice Award on a number of occasions. The current Director and Editor of the press is Gareth Lewis, who took over after Les Robinson stepped down from those roles in 2011. You can read 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.