Beech Wood

Stopped on the track mid echo of screams −
mewls of hawks, clipping the tree tops −
not for that, but for gaps in what’s read as a wood
(could be roe deer, muntjac or the loaded
breath of the dead and rotted-down
held to itself, weighing down),
we hear quiet restored to leaves drifting,
bloating one creak, a snap; that instant relief
from gold bars twinkling.

by Kate Behrens

News from the Poetry Centre! We have a number of exciting events coming up over the next few months and hope you’ll be able to join us for some or all of them! Please book spaces via the links below.

On Tuesday 19 March from 7-9pm we’re helping to host an open mic evening for LGBTQ+ History Month and the Oxford Human Rights Festival. Then on Monday 25 March, join us, TORCH, and Paris Lit Up for a discussion about cultural diversity in literature, featuring authors Elleke Boehmer, Karin Amatmoekrim, and Malik Ameer Crumpler. A showcase from Paris Lit Up and an open mic will follow. And finally (for now!), on 20 May we are collaborating with the Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture to bring the acclaimed poet Gillian Allnutt to Oxford– don’t miss her!

Find out more about these and other upcoming events on our events page, and remember that in addition to this Weekly Poem e-mail, you can also follow our work on  Facebook Twitter, and  Instagram. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Notes from Two Rivers Press: 

‘Beech Wood’ is copyright © Kate Behrens 2019. It is reprinted from Penumbra and published by permission of Two Rivers Press.

In Penumbra, Kate Behrensʼ third collection, the poems are linked by themes of dislocation and heredity. If the dead are ever-present here, so is love: the absence of, rewards and longing for it, the endurance and effort of it. We are led from the poetʼs bohemian childhood to the complex grief, in middle age, that followed the death of her painter father, and on to individual animals, people, and even trees that are differently uprooted or burdened. Everything is haunted here, but the boundaries of death and love are permeable, nature full of revelation. Read more about Kate’s book on the Two Rivers website.

Kate Behrensʼ two earlier collections, The Beholder and Man with Bombe Alaska were published respectively in 2012 and 2016 by Two Rivers Press. Other poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies including Blackbox ManifoldMslexia,The Arts of Peace, an Anthology of PoetryPoetry SalzburgThe High Window and Stand.

Two Rivers Press has been publishing in and about Reading since 1994. The brainchild of Peter Hay (1951-2003), one of the town’s most creative champions, the press grew out of his delight in this under-loved town and its recessed spaces. Nearly two decades of publishing and over 70 titles since its inception, Two Rivers Press has been described as ‘one of the most characterful small presses in the country.’ The Press is strongly rooted in the local community and has close links with Reading University, Poets’ Café, RISC, MERL and other local groups. Its contribution to Reading’s culture won for it a Pride of Reading award in 2008. Read more about the press on its website, or follow it on 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.