It’s so easy for me to imagine it I don’t even have to try. It’s why
I lost interest in the postcard maker. I hardly needed him anymore,
with his surfboard. I think he understood.                  That view
is stamped on my brain already, clear as day, except the grass
in the foreground is so dark it could almost be dusk overturned.
He told me the landslides are increasingly frequent, one for every
nice drop of rain. And so the cliff slips and the houses get closer
to the edge of it and the cliff gets weaker and so it goes on, and so
I take my love and I take it down. I think my mind’s eye is in my gut.
The lifeboat house is so low now it looks like a bunker, some kind
of air-raid shelter, to be on the safe side twice over. Little does it
know.                        The sunset takes longer these days, of course, with
further to go and less to hide behind.          I’d give a whole limb to be
there again. I’d know the right-handed cliff anywhere, with its slow
morning stretch, its curve, its crumble. Then there’s the section
where clay turns to chalk and the peregrines were nesting last time.
Elsewhere, we’d lost a good chunk of car park, and the seagulls didn’t
know where to land. Have you ever seen tarmac carried out to sea?
Like a jagged black ode to Noah’s Island?             It was not good
news at all. May it never appear in a photo.

by Lily Blacksell

Hear Lily read the poem by clicking below

The Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre is proud and delighted to introduce you to the first of the three poets whose work ignitionpress will be publishing in our first poetry pamphlets! Lily Blacksell’s pamphlet, There’s No Such Thing, together with A Hurry of English by Mary Jean Chan and Glean by Patrick James Errington, will be on sale on 14 February from the Brookes online shop, and there will be launch events on 7 March (at the Poetry Café in London), 8 March (at the Society Café in Oxford), and on 25 March (at the Oxford Literary Festival). You can find out more about these events on our website. We will be showcasing work by Mary Jean and Patrick in the next two instalments of the Weekly Poem.

Lily Blacksell is a British writer recently returned from New York, where she was working towards a poetry MFA on Columbia University’s Writing Program and also held a Teaching Fellowship. Lily writes poems for the page and the stage. Her work has appeared in Rockland LitLifejacketInk, Sweat & Tears, Poet’s CountryFoothill and Magma Poetry. She has written reviews and interviews for Boston ReviewSabotage and Prac Crit and was herself interviewed by Columbia School of the Arts and Impakter.

Lily has performed her work at numerous venues, such as Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop, Bowery Poetry Club, and Dead Rabbits (US), and Cheltenham Poetry Festival, Battersea Arts Centre (as part of Battersea Literature Festival), Howl, Word Up, and Boomerang (UK). In 2013, Apples and Snakes commissioned a piece of original spoken word theatre from Lily, which was performed at Lit Fuse, and in 2015 she was a finalist in the Roundhouse Poetry Slam. In 2017 Lily was nominated for The Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets (United States and Canada).

ignitionpress is a new poetry pamphlet press with an international outlook which publishes original, arresting poetry from emerging poets, and established poets working on interim or special projects. The Managing Editor of the press is Les Robinson, who was the founder and director of the renowned poetry publisher tall-lighthouse until 2011. You can learn more about the press on the Poetry Centre 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.

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to me, beloved
and take me on your lap.

Undo my braid
as buffalo horn

and draw your
through my hair.

Untie my belt, open
the silk cloth
covering my waist,

let my oiled limbs, my
perfumed skin
envelop you

as the rose
the bee.

by Shazea Quraishi

News from the Centre: there are only a few weeks left before we launch our first ever poetry pamphlets through ignitionpressThere’s No Such Thing by Lily Blacksell, A Hurry of English by Mary Jean Chan, and Glean by Patrick James Errington will be on sale from 14 February, and there will be several launch events . More details will follow soon!

The Poetry Centre’s exciting reading series gets underway on Saturday 24 February at the Society Café in Oxford with a reading by American poets Christopher DeWeese and Andy Eaton. You can book tickets via our website , where you can also find details of the rest of the spring series.

The acclaimed Jamaican poet Ishion Hutchinson will be visiting Brookes on Friday 16 February to give a lunchtime reading . Although this event is aimed at Brookes staff and students, there will be places available for members of the public. If you’d like to attend, e-mail

‘Ramadasi’ is copyright © Shazea Quraishi, 2018. It is reprinted from Ten Sexy Poems by permission of Candlestick Press.  

Notes from Candlestick Press:

Shazea Quraishi is a Pakistani-born Canadian poet, playwright and translator based in London. Her first pamphlet, The Courtesan’s Reply, was published by flipped eye in 2012. The Art of Scratching is her first full-length collection and was published by Bloodaxe in 2015. In 2015 Quaraishi was awarded a Brooklease Grant by the Royal Society of Literature and she also received awards from the British Council and Arts Council England in the same year.

Candlestick Press
 is a small, independent press based in Nottingham and has been publishing its sumptuous ‘instead of a card’ poetry pamphlets since 2008. Subjects range from Birds and Sheep to Tea, Kindness, Home and Puddings. Shazea Quraishi’s poem ‘Ramadasi’ appears in Ten Sexy Poems published in January 2018 in time for Valentine’s Day. You can read more about the pamphlet on the press’ website. Candlestick Press titles are stocked by chain and independent bookshops, as well as by galleries, museums and garden centres.

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