And this is how everything vanishes,
how everything that vanishes begins,
the hinged moment looking forwards and back.
Like that night when we sat with the back door open,
the summer distilled to the scent of jasmine,
the scrape of cutlery, the chink of glass.
A robin stirred in the dusty hedgerow.
Clothes held our bodies as a mouth might a kiss.
Then the meteor brought us to our feet:
a stripped atom, trapping electrons
to excite the darkness with its violet light.
I remember how it disturbed the heavens,
burned against the air to leave no trace.
by Deryn Rees-Jones
The Poetry Centre is delighted to announce the launch of this year’s Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition! We are also excited to say that this year our judge is the award-winning poet Helen Mort. With two top prizes of £1000 on offer, the competition seeks to celebrate the great diversity of poetry being written in English all over the world. Poems are welcomed from writers of 18 years or over in the following two categories: English as an Additional Language – for poets who write in English as an additional language, and Open category – for poets whose first language is English. First Prize in both categories is £1000, with £200 for Second. The competition is open for submissions until 11pm GMT on 28 August 2017. Visit our website for more details.
This Saturday, head along to the Albion Beatnik Bookshop in Oxford for ‘Nevertheless, she persisted: an evening of feminist/equality poetry in Oxford’. Presented by The Persisters, this event will encourage poetry, equality and empowerment for all. The headliners are Kelley Swain and Rowena Knight, and there will be an open mic open to all. Sign up from 19:00. Entry £4. Profits will be donated to Oxfordshire Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre. You can find more details on the Facebook page.
‘Meteor’ is copyright © Deryn Rees-Jones, 2016. It is reprinted from What It’s Like to Be Alive: Selected Poems (Seren, 2016) by permission of Seren.
Notes from Seren:
‘Meteor’ is included in What It’s Like to Be Alive: Selected Poems from the highly-regarded poet, Deryn Rees-Jones. A milestone in the career of this author, the book includes generous selections from her previous individual collections including her debut, The Memory Tray; her subsequent Signs Round a Dead Body; her murder-mystery in verse: Quiver; her T.S. Eliot prize-nominated, Burying the Wren; and her long poem inspired by Edward Thomas’ wife, And You, Helen. A poet of intimate lyricism, of thoughtful speculation, close to the natural world, or ‘creaturely’ as John Burnside puts it, this is work which balances a singular musical quality with a profound intelligence as well as a deep emotional power. Read more about the book on Seren’s website.
DerynRees-Jones was born in Liverpool, and educated in North Wales and London. Her debut, The Memory Tray, was nominated for the Forward Prize, and her most recent collection, Burying the Wren, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and nominated for both the Roland Mathias and the T.S. Eliot prize. Her other collections published by Seren include Signs Round a Dead Body; a murder-mystery in verse, Quiver; and a collaboration with the artist Charlotte Hodes, And You, Helen, that includes images alongside a long poem inspired by the wife of the poet Edward Thomas. She has edited the influential Modern Women Poets anthology and a companion critical book, Consorting with Angels, for Bloodaxe. In addition to being chosen as one of the Next Generation Poets in 2004, Deryn has received a Cholmondeley Award from the Society of Authors and was picked as one of the top ten women poets of the decade in Mslexia magazine. She is Professor of Poetry at the University of Liverpool where she co-directs the Centre for New and International Writing, and edits the Pavilion Poetry Series for Liverpool University Press. You can find out more about Deryn’s work on her website, and follow her on Twitter.
Seren has been publishing poetry for 35 years. We are an independent publisher specialising in English-language writing from Wales. Seren’s wide-ranging list includes fiction, translation, biography, art and history. Seren’s authors are shortlisted for – and win – major literary prizes across Britain and America, including the 2014 Costa Poetry Prize (for Jonathan Edwards’ My Family and Other Superheroes). Amy Wack has been Seren’s Poetry Editor for more than 20 years. You can find more details 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.