My Brother as a Mezzotint

Eager to admire your scans’ monochrome tones
you lean forward in your wheelchair
study the luminous screen:
eclipsing your spinal cord, two dark moons;
the titanium caging your neck, pure black;
grey meat spills from your iliac’s white wing.
The locum’s chest is slim, boy-like,
his tired eyes rimmed by glasses
and concern, he answers our questions
with open hands. Not your own oncologist
he’s unsure why his prognosis seems new.
Returning down the corridor you say I’m glad
it was you who was with me
,  reach across
to flatter an old woman on her tiger-stripe throw
as we pass wheel to wheel, then you charm
from the receptionist, so young and so plump,
the secret of her hidden tattoo.

by Claire Cox

The Poetry Centre’s military veterans’ poetry workshop is being featured all this week on the British Forces Broadcasting Service’s radio station. Tune in online at 11.30 BST each weekday. You can also find out more about the workshop and the anthology that resulted from it on the BFBS website.

The Poetry Centre has launched its International Poetry Competition for 2020! We’re delighted to say that our judge this year is the Forward Prize-winning poet Fiona Benson. As always, we have two categories: Open and English as an Additional Language. The winners receive £1000, with £200 for the runners up. The deadline for entries is 14 September. For more details and to enter, visit our website

‘My Brother as a Mezzotint’ is copyright © Claire Cox, 2020. It is reprinted from Primers Volume Five (Nine Arches Press, 2020) by permission of Nine Arches Press. Read more about the book here, and join Nine Arches and the poets for the online book launch TONIGHT (Monday 3 August), which will be live-cast to the Nine Arches YouTube channel at 7.30pm.

Born in Hong Kong, Claire Cox has an MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University, where she was awarded the Blackwell’s Prize for best student. She is currently a funded part-time, practice-based research student at Royal Holloway, University of London, studying poetry and disaster. She is also co-founder and Associate Editor of ignitionpress. Her poems have appeared in Magma, Envoi, The Butcher’s Dog, Lighthouse and Ink, Sweat & Tears.

In 2019, Nine Arches Press launched their nationwide Primers scheme for a fifth time, in search of exciting new voices in poetry, with Jacqueline Saphra 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: Krystelle Bamford, Claire Cox, and Hannah Jane Walker.

Primers Volume Five now brings together a showcase from each of the three poets. At the core of these poems are the milestones and critical moments of our lives and, vitally, the ties that bind us to those we love: from childhood and daughterhood, through motherhood in all its array of emotions and experiences, and to beloved brothers and fathers. From the tides of grief to surfing the wave of birth, these often courageous and candid poems are distinctive in their engagement with fear, loss and self-discovery, and how they emerge afresh, bold and illuminating. An essential, insightful collection of new work from some of poetry’s most talented emerging voices. Read more about the book on the Nine Arches website, and join Nine Arches and the poets for the online book launch on Monday 3 August, which will be live-cast to the Nine Arches YouTube channel at 7.30pm.

Since its founding in 2008, Nine Arches Press has published poetry and short story collections (under the Hotwire imprint), as well as Under the Radar magazine. In 2010, two of our pamphlets were shortlisted for the Michael Marks Poetry Pamphlet prize and Mark Goodwin’s book Shod won the 2011 East Midlands Book Award. In 2017, All My Mad Mothers by Jacqueline Saphra was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize. Our titles have also been shortlisted for the Michael Murphy Prize, and in 2016 David Clarke’s debut poems, Arc, was longlisted for the Polari Prize. To date we have published over ninety poetry publications. Read more about the press here and follow Nine Arches on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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.