Masculine Happiness

John Wayne is warm, tired and had
just the right number of drinks. Firelight
and the stars of Arizona surround his bed:
a saddle blanket rolled out in the desert night.

News headlines of a foreign war: the reporter’s
hair and blue eyes match her checked scarf;
and a voice behind me starts: who’s havingher,
insulted when I won’t laugh as he starts to laugh.On another channel Bob Mitchum’s an old sea captain:
safe on land while his son’s submarine is overdue;
drinking cognac from a dark bottle, he finishes it all,
and floats into the sleep of drunk and drowned men.
Sick the next morning, his steps slow and unsure,
like a shipwrecked sailor exploring a new shore.

by David Foster-Morgan

Exciting news from the Centre: our 2016 International Poetry Competition is now open for entries! This year’s judge is the award-winning poet Daljit Nagra, and you can find details about how to enter on the Poetry Centre website. There are two categories: Open and English as a Second Language, and the winners of each category will receive £1000, with both runners-up receiving £200. The deadline for entries is 31 August. 

If you are in or around Oxford, don’t miss this Saturday’s reading at Oriel College, featuring Lucy Ingrams, Stav Poleg, Rosie Shepperd, and Liane Strauss. It begins at 7.30pm. There are more details on Rosie Shepperd’s website.

‘Masculine Happiness’ is copyright © David Foster-Morgan, 2015. It is reprinted from Masculine Happiness (Seren, 2015) by permission of Seren Books.

The beautiful, multi-layered poems of David Foster-Morgan have already made him a ‘poet’s poet’ amongst the cognoscenti. His debut collection, Masculine Happiness, brings this subtle and remarkable poet to a wider readership. O’Hara, Ginsberg and Borges are amongst the many influences that inspire these poems on themes of masculinity. Writing about his work, Judy Brown has commented that ‘David Foster-Morgan’s exacting images and distinctive music create a world of complex interactions – between places, people, stories and voices. These subtle and unexpected poems investigate what lies under the surface, making up a memorable collection which is both cool, and richly textured.’ You can read more about David Foster-Morgan’s new book on the Seren website, and follow his work on his blog and via Twitter

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.