16 transit of venus. (2)

protean shape unshaping, my desire,
that turns in me like starlings whorling dusk,
or like high cloud that burns belated fire
as in the dark damp blooms release their musk,
go figure; press on leaves that suppler print
of yours than breath, write in declining sheets
of long grass trailing lines, and urge, and hint,
and ring the round that being rung, repeats;
but coil in shadows, love, and never touch
that finest of her hairs, the lightest drop
welled at her eye, whose globe is made too much
a world, for your discovery to stop;
hold; linger at her lip, and at her ear
by turns, returned, that make to disappear.

by Andrew Zurcher

from coming home by andrew zurcher (Landfill, 2006)
Copyright © Andrew Zurcher

Andrew Zurcher is a Fellow in English at Queens’ College, Cambridge and the author of Spenser’s Legal Language: Law and Poetry in Early Modern England (D.S. Brewer, 2007). His poems have previously appeared in Bad Press Serials.

coming home is a sequence of 56 mostly Shakespearean sonnets. Here, in the second of three poems titled ‘transit of venus’ – a rare astronomical event, when the planet passes between the Sun and the Earth – the poet considers the difference between desire as a force of nature (the ‘turns’ of the vivid opening) and love as an understanding of transience (the ‘turns’ of the enigmatic ending). Venus, we are reminded, was also the Roman goddess of love, eternal provoker of transitory desire.

Landfill Press was founded in Norwich in 2004 as a publisher of contemporary poetic sequences.


I am sure I shouldn’t hate myself for feeling guilty! what can I do! Let me say it was a struggle to give up punctuation but we all have to make sacrifices not everybody has such a lot of punctuation these days better not have any just to be quite fair but there are some things I can’t quite give up it’s wicked I know it’s the apostrophes that get me I could never resist a well-placed apostrophe dinky things when you come to think about it wriggling there like the fish and the hook all in one sometimes I wake up with such a craving for a semicolon they say those are the worst bring you to a halt sooner than anything else and abolish your vitals like a dissolving fire so I just remind myself you’ve got to talk to people at work today no punctuation at all till after six p.m. then you can put your feet up and snuggle on the sofa in an Argos fleece throw with a mug of hot chocolate and a dash or so as a little pressie to yourself and watch The Bill is it wrong to wish sometimes I wish I were back in Europe it was grand that summer over there I would get up with a real thirst hold off till about ten in the morning then sit in that café in the cool with a tall glass of fizzing vitamins and brilliant punctuation there were real people from Europe at that café and you know what they had been at it since breakfast as far as I could tell big dignified people happy as children with crystal and stoneware brackets and suspensions properly placed you could see how they liked it they thought the rules were fun though I am sure they must have had their sacrifices somewhere just like us yet the funny old things weren’t self-conscious at all go figure.


by Vahni Capildeo

from Person Animal Figure by Vahni Capildeo
Copyright © Vahni Capildeo

Person Animal Figure is a long poem in three voices, represented by three different kinds of prose poetry. Here, the voice which seems to represent ‘Person’ reflects upon her own unpunctuated thoughts as she sets them down, characteristically drifting off into memories of comfort and pleasure. The ‘Yes!’ that ends the paragraph is perhaps an acknowledgment of a literary ancestor for this shrewd vulgarian: Molly Bloom, whose stream-of-consciousness concludes James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Vahni Capildeo was born in 1973, in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. She came to England in 1991. Her first book, No Traveller Returns, was published by Salt in 2003.

Landfill Press was founded in Norwich in 2004 as a publisher of contemporary poetic sequences.


There are two kinds of flax – the first
has blue flowers.

I picked some this morning,

in a shimmering Lincolnshire field.

Simple clothing and sheets –
that keep temperatures low.

The other flax – a bluer blue
(my reference works don’t have enough pictures).

I picked some this morning,
treking back from that radiant Lincolnshire.

This flax endures, bluesy at the roadside.
It cheers a place up, kept to a small vase.

(Varnish – a layer
to seal this spoken
painting, your painting.)

by Richard Price

from Earliest Spring Yet by Richard Price (Landfill, 2006)
Copyright © Richard Price

Richard Price is Head of Modern British Collections at the British Library. His widely-acclaimed first collection, Lucky Day (2005), was nominated for the Whitbread and Forward poetry prizes. His new collection, Greenfields, was published by Carcanet earlier this year.

‘Flax’ is from the title sequence of Earliest Spring Yet. Its lyricism hovers between sleep and waking. Like the rest of the poems in the book, it is a love poem, but an oblique one. The speaker seems to be living two lives, symbolised by the poem’s two flowers: one in a lonely dream of fields, and one in the real world of roadsides. The ‘blues’ of both are presented in conclusion to a private addressee as a ‘spoken / painting’, a picture of the speaker’s heart.

Landfill Press was founded in Norwich in 2004 as a publisher of contemporary poetic sequences.


I am getting sick of trying to temper my tantrums. It’s true that it’s very frustrating when the tortilla doesn’t just slide out of the pan. I don’t care about the number of the beast it’s too predictable. Six – in six days work was complete and Larry Fagin invited us over for dinner. Who is the sky who is the universe who made the universe who wills the birds as the butterflies as the flowers which drop at the feet of the gods.  Six sheep rapt on shore. A covenant was made with the children of Israel. She wondered if he really loved her. My other wife is a Cadillac.  I came with my wife six times we loved it so much. Sheaf or sheep or sheer. They tried not to face the facts that they were being lied to by the men in power but after a while they realized they’d rather be fishing anyway. Votes count. Six days you shall labor. I lived in Mexico for six years and therefore compared to you I am exotic. Backstage at Radio City Music Hall past the Rockettes’ dressing rooms three camels six sheep two donkeys and a horse keep a woman awake each night. Desire tremble your rhyme this is my hand your hand we are kissing in time.

by Daniel Kane

from Seven by Daniel Kane (Landfill, 2004)

Copyright © Daniel Kane

Seven is a prose poem that mixes everyday emotions, jokes, memories and found language with an increasingly mystical vision of numbers in the universe. In the penultimate section, the Apocalyptic number of the beast (666) is impatiently dismissed, but recollection of the Biblical six-day Creation introduces a more lyrical mood, which breaks into rhyme with the final sentence. As Gertrude Stein said: ‘A sentence is not emotional a paragraph is.’

Daniel Kane is a Senior Lecturer in the School of American Studies at the University of Sussex. He is the author of All Poets Welcome: The Lower East Side Poetry Scene in the 1960s (University of California, 2003). His long prose poem ‘Ostentation of Peacock’ can also be read online here.

Landfill Press was founded in Norwich in 2004 as a publisher of contemporary poetic sequences

Let’s Think This Over

Only thing worse than dying once,
No doubt, is to get struck twice
By the mother of all muggers.
Once by bullet, once by ale;
Once by falling, once crushed.
On the other hand, you’ll get
Two funerals and two graves.
Side by side, perhaps. Here lies
Your name, who departed this life
On such an illegible date. And here lies
Your name, again, who split this life
On another illegible date. No more
Naked pigs feeding in a field for you,
No more cows merging in the mist.

by Linh Dinh

from I Haven’t Been Anywhere, Man by Linh Dinh (Landfill, 2007)
Copyright  © Linh Dinh

Linh Dinh was born in Vietnam and lives in Philadelphia. In 2005 he was David T.K. Wong Fellow at the University of East Anglia. His poetry has featured in the Best American Poetry anthology.

I Haven’t Been Anywhere, Man is a sequence of poems written largely during the author’s year in East Anglia. This poem reflects Dinh’s interest in English gravestones with a characteristic mix of folk wisdom, colloquial speech, and unexpected imagery.

Landfill Press was founded in Norwich in 2004 as a publisher of contemporary poetic sequences.

Joke Blood

The self-dyed tennis-shoes’ new burgundy
soaking my socks I made an expedition
to the office block where I knew you worked

past the castle mount   old marmalade factory
static canal   out of a toy-box

Part-time in polling seven pounds an hour
you surveyed on hoovers and microwaves

were you happy / very happy / not happy at all

Drunk since breakfast I had to sit down
cool air a bad knock ache a concussion

I wandered a clown big foot cartoon
squeezing and swelling in the mangle crowd
what could I pour out to you that was real

I started to run through the city like a slave

by Graeme Richardson

from Hang Time by Graeme Richardson (Landfill, 2006)
Copyright © Graeme Richardson

Hang Time is a sequence of free sonnets about youthful experiences. The unpunctuated verse of ‘Joke Blood’ gathers pace from the painful romantic comedy of its first eight lines (the octave) to the more urgent realisation of despair in the final six (the sestet). As in the classic English love sonnets of Sidney and Shakespeare, the poet goes from being love’s clown to love’s slave. Graeme Richardson is Chaplain of Brasenose College, Oxford. His poetry criticism has appeared in Areté magazine and his poetry in the magazine 14.

Landfill Press was founded in Norwich in 2004 as a publisher of contemporary poetic sequences.