Back they sputter

Back they sputter like the fires of love, the bees to their broken home
which they’re putting together again for dear life, knowing nothing
of the heart beating under their floorboards, besieged here, seeking
a life of its own. All day their brisk shadows zigzag and flicker

along a whitewashed gable, trafficking in and out of a hair-crack
under wooden eaves, where they make a life for themselves that knows
no let-up through hours of exploration and return, their thighs golden
with pollen, their multitudinous eyes stapled to a single purpose:

to make winter safe for their likes, stack-packing the queen’s chambers
with sweetness. Later, listen: one warm humming note, their night music.

by Eamon Grennan

This week’s publisher, Candlestick Press, will be launching its latest pamphlet, Ten Poems about Horses (featured in a Weekly Poem recently ), next Wednesday 19 June at Alison’s of Tewkesbury, with Alison Brackenbury and a line-up of guest poets. For more details, visit the Candlestick Press Facebook page . Sales support Bransby Horses, an equine welfare charity.

The Poetry Centre has recently launched its International Poetry Competition for 2019! This year we are delighted to say that our judge is the internationally-acclaimed writer Jackie Kay! There are two categories: Open and English as an Additional Language, and the winners in each category receive £1000. The competition is open until 2 September, and full details can be found here .

Finally, don’t forget about the final few events in our academic year: firstly, there’s our final reading in the current series on Wednesday 26 June at Waterstones in Oxford, which features Ilya Kaminsky and Shara Lessley. Ilya has been receiving extraordinary acclaim in the US and UK for his latest book, Deaf Republic, and Shara’s collection, The Explosive Expert’s Wife, has received enthusiastic reviews and award nominations. This is an event not to be missed! Register for a free place here . Then join us and an international group of poets and critics for ‘Our Poetry and Our Needs’, a symposium at the University of Reading on Tuesday 9 July. More details here . Finally, we’re launching three new ignitionpress pamphlets by Jennifer Lee Tsai, Joanna Ingham, and Sarah Shapiro on 22 and 23 July. More details here !

‘Back they sputter’ is copyright © Eamon Grennan, 2019. It is reprinted from Ten Poems about Bees, introduced by Brigit Strawbridge Howard (Candlestick Press, 2019) by permission of Candlestick. You can read more about the pamphlet here.

Eamon Grennan was born in 1941 and educated at University College Dublin where he studied English and Italian. He went on to complete a PhD in English at Harvard. He has published a number of poetry collections, as well as reviews and essays including Facing The Music: Irish Poetry in the 20th Century (Creighton University, 2000). His poetry books include Wildly for Days (Gallery Press, 1983), Out of Breath (Gallery, 2007) and There Now which won the 2016 Pigott Poetry Prize for Best Collection published in Ireland. Leopardi: Selected Poems won the 1997 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. Until recently he was Dexter M. Ferry Junior Professor of English at Vassar College. He now teaches on the graduate writing programmes at the Universities of New York and Columbia but spends as much time as he can in the west of Ireland. You can read more about his work here.

Candlestick 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 Cricket to Tea, Kindness, Home and Puddings. Candlestick Press titles are stocked by chain and independent bookshops, as well as by galleries, museums and garden centres. They can also be ordered online at  Candlestick’s website where you can find out more about the full range of titles. You can follow Candlestick on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. In 2018 Candlestick sold over 75,000 pamphlets.

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.