10th April 2020

Dad has mowed the lawn two days in a row.
It explains our lives now – the pushing along

of a machine, blades with nothing to cut –
acting our lives out just to be purposeful.

I got dressed up for a zoom conference
and cried at a kind letter which landed on the doormat.

I need two witnesses who aren’t beneficiaries
to finalise my will. My lawyer suggests

I ask my neighbours to watch through the window,
because even with expected deaths the Government

aren’t changing the rules. The GP rang this afternoon
trying to talk about a DNR order. I refused,

instead told him about starlings murmurating
and all the living I have left to do.

by Hannah Hodgson

News from the Poetry Centre: our latest podcast is now available! Tune in to hear Scottish Gaelic poet Niall O’Gallagher read and discuss three poems – in Gaelic & English – and talk about issues of translation, traditional forms, and the Gaelic community in Glasgow/Ghlaschu. You can find the podcast on our website and also on the usual podcast providers – just search for ‘Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre Podcast’ – and do let us know what you think! We’re on social media @brookespoetry and you can e-mail us via the website.

‘10th April 2020’ is copyright © Hannah Hodgson, 2021. It is reprinted from Where I’d Watch Plastic Trees Not Grow (Verve Poetry Press, 2021) by permission of Verve Poetry Press. You can read more about the pamphlet and order a copy on the Verve website. Verve is offering a special bundle of all four of its recent pamphlets at a reduced price (all of which have been featured as Weekly Poems in recent instalments), and you can find out more about that offer on the Verve site.

Notes from Verve Poetry Press:

Hannah has taken her regular hospitalisations due to serious illness and made it into astonishing poetry in her pamphlet Where I’d Watch Plastic Trees Not Grow. Her world of the hospital is sometimes like a zoo, sometimes like a gallery and sometimes a crowded town square. The wards contain tigers and crows, butterflies – doctors become poets, the dead turn into an art installation, while outside, the trees are plastic – as unchanging as Hannah’s shielding days that ‘drag like a foot.’ But between the pulled curtains of these words the details of real-life amongst the terminally ill are depicted in full colour. A daughter ‘cries neatly in a corner’ while her mourning father spins ‘his wedding band around his finger.’ Nurses fill ‘carrier bags marked ‘patient’s property’,’ while ‘the industrial plastic’ crinkles as a body is lifted from bed to trolley in its bag. The poet’s eye feels unblinking at times – unable but also unwilling to blink. How could it when it has so much to show? These poems are heavy with import, but they are light with the liveliness of art that is beautifully rendered. Read more about the pamphlet on the Verve website.

Hannah Hodgson is a poet living with life-limiting illness. Her work has been published by the Poetry SocietyTeen Vogue and Poetry Salzburg , amongst others. She is the recipient of a 2020 Northern Writers Award for Poetry. Her first poetry pamphlet Dear Body was published by Wayleave Press in 2018. You can read more about Hannah’s work on her website and follow her on Twitter.

Verve Poetry Press is a Birmingham-based publisher dedicated to promoting and showcasing Birmingham and Midlands poetic talent in colourful and exciting ways – as you would expect from a press that has grown out of the giddy and flamboyant, annual four days of poetry and spoken word that is Verve Poetry Festival, Birmingham. Added to this is a colourful and prize-winning pamphlet series featuring poets who have previously performed at our sister festival and a debut performance poetry series, which has seen us working with the brightest rising stars on the UK spoken word scene. We also assert our right to publish any poetry we feel needs and deserves to find print wherever we find it. Verve was awarded the Saboteur Award for Most Innovative Publisher in 2019 and the Michael Marks Publisher’s Award 2019. Find out more about Verve Poetry Press on the publisher’s website and follow the press on Twitter 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.