Broken Waters

Most people drown
            without making
a noise or splashing. See me

here Baby, watch
            me lying
out plank, below the surface,

all that stillness, all that
            peace, see
how long I can breathe

down here alone. You must
            trust me,
I am your mother after all,

don’t think about the firefighter
            who lies
to the woman on the phone inside

the burning building, says he’s on his
            way up
to save her, then hands her brother

back the phone, tell her you
            love her,

knowing all his tears

won’t be enough to quiet the
            flames, I am
your mother after all, I am made

to do this. When the mother harp seal
            leaves its cub,
nobody calls it a mistake,

I have been at this much longer than
            twelve days –
just let me float here a while, Baby

you will still remember my face.
            It will be
the same one you wear every time

live cuts in such a way – the serration
            drags the exact
formation of ripples upon its shape.

by Amelia Loulli

We’re delighted to say that the Poetry Centre’s ignitionpress has just launched its three newest pamphlets by Joanna Ingham, Jennifer Lee Tsai, and Sarah Shapiro. You can read more about them and buy copies here.

Our International Poetry Competition is still open for entries until 2 September with two categories: Open and English as an Additional Language. Our judge is Jackie Kay, and you could win £1000! Find out more and enter here.

This week’s poet, Amelia Loulli, is one of the three poets to appear in the latest volume of Primers, a mentoring and publishing scheme which showcases the work of emerging poets (see more about the scheme below). This year’s scheme is open now until 10 September, and you can find out how to enter it on the Nine Arches website.

Amelia Loulli lives in Cumbria with her three children and an undisclosed, but significantly large, number of books. Her poetry was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in 2016 and 2017, and last year she was shortlisted for Primers Volume Three. You can follow her work on Twitter.

In 2018, The Poetry School and Nine Arches Press launched their nationwide Primers scheme for a fourth time, in search of exciting and emerging talent in contemporary poetry, with Kim Moore and Jane Commane as selecting editors. After reading through hundreds of anonymous entries, and narrowing down the choices from longlist to shortlist, three poets emerged as clear choices: Lewis Buxton, Amelia Loulli and Victoria Richards. Primers: Volume Three now collects together a showcase from each of the three poets. It is an irresistible invitation to step out of ourselves and our bodies and drop your expectations on the dancefloor, to take the plunge on the rollercoaster-ride of grief, motherhood and new life, and to meet desire in all its outrageous, dazzling and joyous forms. Secrets, disclosures, changed names and brilliant disguises make a vivid, adventurous and often deeply moving selection of new work from some of poetry’s most talented emerging voices.

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.