I lie awake at night thinking of all the times I was told
to stay quiet. All the times I should have said nothing.
Listen, I am only a mangy fox among the recycling bins,
screeching to no one, chewing on my own tail. I know
I’m supposed to be checking over my shoulder
for something, but what? I keep expecting
the yellow window light of other people’s houses
to bust open like a yolk and let me in. I keep waiting
to be picked up and held until I stop shaking
but I’m difficult to touch. Even the stars
are absenting themselves to the orange dark.
I sit at home, I lick my wounds. I chose
all of this, my job, this city, I pulled it close,
over and over with my grubby little hands.
by Phoebe Stuckes
‘Foxes’ is copyright © Phoebe Stuckes, 2021. It is reprinted from The One Girl Gremlin (Verve Poetry Press, 2021) by permission of Verve. You can read more about the pamphlet on the Verve website.
Her first pamphlet since her debut full collection Platinum Blonde sees Phoebe Stuckes’ trademark poems of high humour and hubris take on a dreamier, more abstract, quality. Perhaps the ‘wise-cracking party girl’ of her earlier work is sensing that, for a while at least, the party is postponed. There isn’t much worth staying up late for any more in these poems. Instead, our character lies awake in bed long into the night or wakes up into a pre-dawn world they barely recognise. And the strange new rural setting they wake to is inviting and also threatening and therefore not to be trusted. Read more about the pamphlet and buy a copy on the Verve website.
Phoebe Stuckes is a writer from West Somerset now living in London. She has been a winner of the Foyle Young Poets award four times and is a former Barbican Young Poet. Her writing has appeared in Poetry Review, The Rialto, The North and Ambit among others. Her debut pamphlet, Gin & Tonic was shortlisted for The Michael Marks Award 2017. She has been awarded an Eric Gregory Award and The Geoffrey Dearmer Prize. Her first full length collection, Platinum Blonde, was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2020. You can find out more about Phoebe on her website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram (and if you’d like to keep pace with her baking exploits, you can find those here).
Winner of both the Saboteur Award for Most Innovative Publisher and the Michael Marks Publisher’s Award, Verve Poetry Press is a Birmingham-based publisher. It is dedicated to promoting and showcasing Birmingham and UK 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 pamphlet series featuring poets who have previously performed at our sister festival and a debut performance poetry series which sees 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. Like the festival, we will strive to think about poetry in inclusive ways and embrace the multiplicity of approaches towards this glorious art.
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.