She Thought Her Father Was a Butcher 

watched him smash the arched roofs
of the carcasses into chops,
then line them up
with parsley in the shop. 

She could have hidden under a pig,
breathing in the dry smell of blood,
but she preferred the white-tiled corner
where she could watch 

the butcher she thought was her father,
his right hand a cleaver,
his left a poker-shaped sharpener,
attacking the skinned animals
whose pink flesh was as plump
as her forearms. 

But he would never hurt her.
She was his daughter.

She thought her father was a butcher,
but he was not her father. 
by Claire Williamson

Join the Poetry Centre’s own ignitionpress, this week’s publisher, Seren, and a host of our other Weekly Poem publishers like V. Press, Sidekick Books, Nine Arches, Smokestack (and more!) at this year’s Free Verse: Poetry Book and Magazine Fair. The event, run by the Poetry Society and taking place in London this Saturday (22 September), promises to be a wonderful celebration of poetry in the UK. Three of our ignitionpress poets: Mary Jean Chan, Lily Blacksell, and Natalie Whittaker, will also be reading from their pamphlets.

Then do make a note in your diary to be with us at Oxford Brookes on 31 October for a special event with poet Jay Bernard. Jay will be presenting Surge, an award-winning multimedia project dealing with the 1981 New Cross ‘massacre’ – a fire at a birthday party in south London which killed 13 young black people. Tickets are free, but you must sign up in advance via the website. 

‘She Thought Her Father Was a Butcher’ is copyright © Claire Williamson, 2018. It is reprinted from Visiting the Minotaur (Seren, 2018) by permission of Seren

Notes from Seren:   

Claire Williamson’s latest poetry collection Visiting the Minotaur is published by Seren (2018). In the past year Claire has been awarded 2nd prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly (2018), has been highly commended in the Bridport Prize (2017) and was runner up in the Neil Gunn poetry competition (2017). She’s currently studying for a doctorate in Creative Writing at Cardiff University on the subject of ‘Writing the 21st Century Bereavement novel’. Claire writes libretti and has been commissioned to commemorate the SS Great Britain, the outbreak and culmination of WW1 and most recently St George’s Hall, Bristol. She is Programme Leader for the UK’s only MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. Read more about Claire’s work on her website, and follow her on Twitter

Seren is Wales’ leading independent literary publisher, specialising in English-language writing from Wales. Many of our books are shortlisted for – and win – major literary prizes across the UK and America. At the heart of our list is a good poem, a story told well, or an idea or history presented interestingly or provocatively. We’re international in authorship and readership, though our roots remain here in Wales, where we prove that writers from a small country with an intricate culture have a worldwide relevance. Amy Wack has been Poetry Editor since the early 90s. Our aim is not simply to reflect what is going on in the culture in which we publish, but to drive that culture forward, to engage with the world, and to bring Welsh literature, art and politics before a wider audience. Find out more on the Seren website and via Twitter and 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.