You, Me and the Bookcase

The back seat of a car wasn’t ever
big enough. The boot had to be left open
to bring home our book case.


Fitting corners through doorways
allowed us to feel the grain, the scent
of polish rushing to our heads. Out of the rings

left by two glasses and what we surmised
a bottle of burgundy, we invented a story
about a couple like us, who at weekends scoured

shops for texts about the world. Atlases,
dictionaries, photo albums, and the collected works
of philosophers share the shelves.

We’ve devised an order of sorts,
and positioned spines so sometimes
we lie horizontal with the titles.

Although we haven’t filled all the gaps,
we’re learning it’s not just touch
and visual pleasure, but finding the words.

by Sally Flint

This Saturday 29 November at the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton, Hannah Lowe (Teaching Fellow in Creative Writing at Brookes) will be running a poetry workshop and taking part in a discussion with Mike Phillips in an event related to her fascinating recent publication, Ormonde. There are a few tickets left! Visit the Hercules Press website for more details.

Next Wednesday 3 December, Professor Maximilian de Gaynesford (University of Reading) will speak on ‘Why Poetry Matters’: 6pm (drinks and nibbles from 5.30) at the Ashmolean Museum’s Education Centre (nearest entrance from St. Giles). The event is free, but turn up early to secure a seat! More details can be found on the Ashmolean website.

‘You, Me and the Bookcase’ is copyright © Sally Flint, 2014. It is reprinted from Pieces of Us (Worple Press, 2014) by permission of Worple Press.

Notes from Worple Press:

Sally Flint grew up in the West Midlands and now lives in Exeter. Her poetry and prose have been widely published, anthologised and won awards. She teaches creative writing, facilitates community workshops and is co-founder/editor of Riptideshort story journal and Canto Poetry at the University of Exeter. She also works with Devon Drugs Service and Devon Community Foundation on a project called ‘Stories Connect’, based on the University of Massachusetts’ programme, ‘Changing Lives through Literature.’ Her research interests include healthcare in the arts, and the evolution of ekphrasis, especially the relationship between poetry, visual art and technology.

Worple Press was founded by Peter and Amanda Carpenter in 1997 and publishes 6-8 books a year by new and established poets: collections, pamphlets, works in translation, essays, interviews. Early authors included Iain Sinclair, Joseph Woods, Beverley Bie Brahic, Kevin Jackson and the acclaimed American nature poet Peter Kane Dufault. Recent collections (2014/2015) include Andy Brown’s Exurbia, Isabel Galleymore’s Dazzle Ship, Martyn Crucefix’s A Hatfield Mass, Julian Stannard’s The Street of Perfect Love, and Clive Wilmer’s UrbanPastorals. More information can be found at the publisher’s website, and on Facebook and Twitter.

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.

Cracked Walnut and Cup


The cracked walnut
beside the porcelain cup

is not a porcelain walnut
and a cracked cup


but as she who finds
her lover’s words in her mouth

and their friends who discover
their faces alike

the walnut shell seems
another drinking vessel

and the cup appears
ever more breakable.

by Isabel Galleymore

Tomorrow (Tuesday 11 November), the Emergency Poet visits Brookes! Between 11-3pm, the EP’s ambulance will be parked between the Media Centre and the John Henry Brookes Building on Headington Road. Come along for your free poetry prescription! This event is part of the Poetry Centre’s ongoing collaboration with the local mental health charity The Archway Foundation. Whether you’re from Brookes or not, all are welcome!

And tomorrow evening, the Next Generation Poets are in town. The Next Generation list, released every decade and organized by the Poetry Book Society, marks out the poets to watch from Britain and Ireland. At 7pm, Blackwell’s on Broad Street will host a reading featuring two of the twenty Next Generation 2014 poets, Jane Yeh and Luke Kennard, who will be reading alongside New Generation (1994) poet Susan Wicks, and local poet Rachel Piercey. More details about the event can be found on the Blackwell’s website, and more information about the Next Generation Poets 2014 from the promotion’s site.

‘Cracked Walnut and Cup’ is copyright © Isabel Galleymore, 2014. It is reprinted from Dazzle Ship (Worple Press, 2014) by permission of Worple Press.

Notes from Worple Press:

Isabel Galleymore was born in 1988. She held a Hawthornden Fellowship in 2012 and her poems have appeared in magazines such as Poetry ReviewPoetry London and The Rialto. She is currently writing her critical PhD thesis on metaphor and ecopoetics at the University of Exeter and co-edits The Clearing, an online magazine of nature and place-based writing. Find out more about her book from the Worple website.

Worple Press was founded by Peter and Amanda Carpenter in 1997 and publishes 6-8 books a year by new and established poets: collections, pamphlets, works in translation, essays, interviews. Early authors included Iain Sinclair, Joseph Woods, Beverley Bie Brahic, Kevin Jackson and the acclaimed American nature poet Peter Kane Dufault. Recent collections (2014/2015) include Andy Brown’s Exurbia, Isabel Galleymore’s Dazzle Ship, Martyn Crucefix’s A Hatfield Mass, Julian Stannard’s The Street of Perfect Love, and Clive Wilmer’s Urban Pastorals. More information can be found at the publisher’s website, and on Facebook and Twitter.

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.

F.G.

And on the plasma screen these words appear:
If I am asked to represent World’s End,
I want to make this absolutely clear,
my one priority will be to spend
more money on my home
… No, no, that’s wrong.
It’s true, but not what politicians say
in my time or in yours. Mine was a long
brown nosing into power, but I made my way
from Clerk of the Signet (you may well ask)
to Treasurer of the Navy, until – a piece of luck –
the Stuarts gave me Warwick Castle. Then Chancellor,
some time to write, and finally Lord Brooke.
The words, of course, that matter in the end
are Greville was Sir Philip Sidney’s friend.

by John Greening

The most recent episode of the Poetry Centre podcast is now available via the website and on iTunes. This release features a critical-creative dialogue between Terri Mullholland and Siân Thomas about issues raised by Siân’s poem ‘The Abandoned House’, a work inspired by a derelict building in The Weald, East Sussex.


‘F.G.’ is copyright © John Greening, 2013. It is reprinted from Knot (Worple Press, 2013) by permission of Worple Press.

Notes from Worple Press:

Born in Chiswick in 1954, John Greening has lived in Upper Egypt, New Jersey, Mannheim, Arbroath but chiefly in Huntingdonshire, where he teaches. He has published more than a dozen collections (including HuntsPoems 1979-2009) and several critical studies – of Yeats, Ted Hughes, Hardy, Edward Thomas, First World War Poets and the Elizabethans. His most recent book is a guide to the art: Poetry Masterclass. A regular reviewer with the TLS and a judge for the Eric Gregory Awards, Greening has received the Bridport Prize, the TLS Centenary Prize and a Cholmondeley Award for his poetry. Based on the design of a seventeenth-century knot garden, Knot makes consort music with the poets of Elizabethan England. Sonnets and verse letters are woven around a journal of life in a twenty-first century writers’ retreat (Hawthornden Castle) and a prose allegory of Ben Jonson’s famous walk from London to Scotland to visit William Drummond. The collection concludes with a witty modern masque.

Read more about Knot from Worple’s website, and more about John Greening’s poetry from his own site. You can also follow him on Twitter. John Greening will be reading at various events and festivals around the country in July and August, and you can see these listed on the Worple site.

Worple Press was founded by Peter and Amanda Carpenter in 1997. Since then they have published a wide range of authors, including Iain Sinclair, Joseph Woods, Elizabeth Cook, Beverley Bie Brahic, Clive Wilmer and Kevin Jackson. They published the selected poems of the acclaimed American nature poet Peter Kane Dufault for the first time in the UK (Looking in All Directions); this was followed in 2007 by Kane Dufault’s To be in the same world. Peter Robinson’s The Great Friend and Other Translated Poems was the Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation for Spring 2002. This impressive backlist was augmented in 2012 by three significant titles: Passio: Fourteen Poems by János Pilinszky from Clive Wilmer and George Gömöri; Riddance by Anthony Wilson; and the republication of William Hayward’s cult novel from 1964, It Never Gets Dark All Night. Over 2013 and 2014 new titles have included work from John Greening, Michael McKimm, Peter Robinson, Mary Woodward and Sally Flint. More information can be found on Worple Press’s websiteFacebook page, and Twitter feed, and you can sign up for Worple’s mailing list by e-mailing: theworpleco@aol.com.

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.

Next to Nothing


Through a watery light of after-rain
this bed, its personal history,
brought back by container ship from Japan
shows in ruffled covers
lines that say love spent the night here,
its indentations, your body’s traces.

This commonplace bed with everyday sheets,
its rumples and creases
caused by the nightmare disturbances,
forms a tableau of shadowy folds
where by contrast time
tries to recover us, in all senses.

Yet still this unmade double bed
while you are away
preserves outlines where your body lay,
reminding me what lovers
do in their proximity
although I’m next to nothing now.

by Peter Robinson

Are you a Brookes member of staff or student? Do you have a favourite poem? The Poetry Centre invites you to share your love of poetry with the community in our exciting new project for National Poetry Day. If chosen to participate, you will be filmed reading your favourite poem and sharing why it is memorable to you. Filming will take place in September 2014 and videos will be posted to the Poetry Centre website via the Oxford Brookes YouTube channel for National Poetry Day on 2 October. If you wish to participate, all you need to do is send an e-mail to favouritepoem@gmail.com including your name, your role at Brookes (student or member of staff), the title and author of your favourite poem, and a brief description of the poem’s significance to you, by this Friday 16 May, 2014. No original poems, please!

On Monday 26 May, join an impressive line-up of writers (Lydia Mcpherson, Ian House, Brookes PhD candidate Jennifer Wong, Alyson Hallett, Barbara Marsh, Victoria Field, Jackie Wills, and special guest Louis de Bernières) at a special Coffeehouse Poetry reading. The event, which takes place from 8-10 pm, is hosted by Anne-Marie Fyfe at the Troubadour Cafe, 263-267 Old Brompton Road, Earl’s Court, London SW5 9JA. Tickets are £8 (£7 concs). For more details, visit the Coffee House Poetry website.

‘Next to Nothing’ is copyright © Peter Robinson, 2013. It is reprinted from Like the Living End (Worple Press, 2013) by permission of Worple Press.




Notes from Worple Press:

Peter Robinson was born in Salford, Lancashire, in 1953, and grew up mainly in Liverpool. His many volumes of poetry include a Selected Poems (2003), Ghost Characters (2006), and The Look of Goodbye (2008). He was awarded the Cheltenham Prize for This Other Life (1988). Both The Great Friend and Other Translated Poems (2002) and The Returning Sky (2012) were recommendations of the Poetry Book Society. A translator of poetry, mainly from the Italian, The Selected Poetry and Prose of Vittorio Sereni (with Marcus Perryman) appeared in 2006 and paperback in 2013. He received the John Florio Prize for The Greener Meadow: Selected Poems of Luciano Erba (2007) in 2008. Other publications include his aphorisms, Spirits of the Stair (2009), four volumes of literary criticism, the most recent being Poetry & Translation: The Art of the Impossible (2010), various edited collections and anthologies, such as The Complete Poems, Translations & Selected Prose of Bernard Spencer (2011) and The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary British and Irish Poetry (2013). A collection of essays on his work, The Salt Companion to Peter Robinson, edited by Adam Piette and Katy Price, appeared in 2007. The poetry editor for Two Rivers Press, he is Professor of English and American Literature, and currently Head of Department, at the University of Reading. You can read more about the book on Worple’s dedicated page, and visit Peter Robinson’s own website.

Worple Press was founded by Peter and Amanda Carpenter in 1997. Since then they have published a wide range of authors, including Iain Sinclair, Joseph Woods, Elizabeth Cook, Beverley Bie Brahic, Clive Wilmer and Kevin Jackson. They published the selected poems of the acclaimed American nature poet Peter Kane Dufault for the first time in the UK (Looking in All Directions); this was followed in 2007 by Kane Dufault’s To be in the same world. Peter Robinson’s The Great Friend and Other Translated Poems was the Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation for Spring 2002. This impressive backlist was augmented in 2012 by three significant titles: Passio: Fourteen Poems by Janos Pilinszky from Clive Wilmer and George Gomori; Riddance by Anthony Wilson; and the republication of William Hayward’s cult novel from 1964, It Never Gets Dark All Night. Over 2013 and 2014 new titles have included work from John Greening, Michael McKimm, Peter Robinson, Mary Woodward and Sally Flint. More information can be found on Worple Press’s websiteFacebook page, and Twitter feed, and you can sign up for Worple’s mailing list by e-mailing:  theworpleco@aol.com.

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.

The Bindon Landslide


When the earth began to move, cracks daggering
the chalk cliff path, they thought nothing of it,
went home to their beds, the landlord’s Christmas
whisky still hot on their breath, bellies happy
with sweetmeats and pickle. They slept with deep,
dark dreams of the day, of the horse buckling
in the limestone quarry and heavy hods cutting
their shoulders, then darker dreams of sulphur
and sinkholes, dank pools of bitumen, rivers
of leachate, pipelines, convoys, midnight tankers,
and the sea roaring, agitated, an intolerable
stench that woke them, their tenements rending
and sinking, the moon in the window entirely ajar,
fissures gaping, they’d say, like the mouth of hell.


by Michael McKimm

Tonight at 5.30pm at Regent’s Park College in Oxford, Cindy Aalders will be giving a talk entitled ‘The Life and Hymns of Anne Steele’, in which she will discuss one of the most prolific hymn writers and poetesses of the 18th century. Free tickets can be booked at The Angus Library and Archive website, where you can also find information about an exhibition concerned with non-conformist women which accompanies this series of talks.

This week’s publisher, Worple Press, will be appearing at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival from 5-6 April. Events include a showcase of new and established poets on Saturday 5 April, including Stephen Boyce, Sally Flint, John Freeman (whose work featured in a Weekly Poem in June 2013), John Greening, and the author of this week’s poem, Michael McKimm. You can find more details on the Worple website.


‘The Bindon Landslide’ is copyright © Michael McKimm, 2013. It is reprinted from Fossil Sunshine by Michael McKimm (Worple Press, 2013 by permission of Worple Press.

Notes from Worple Press:


Michael McKimm
 was born in Belfast in and grew up near the Giant’s Causeway. He now lives in London where he works for the Geological Society Library. The poems collected in Fossil Sunshine are the result of a year-long collaboration with earth scientists, in a project funded by Arts Council England. A graduate of the Warwick Writing Programme, Michael won an Eric Gregory Award in 2007 and was an International Writing Fellow at the University of Iowa in 2010. His debut collection is Still This Need (Heaventree Press, 2009) and he is published in the anthologies Best of Irish Poetry 2010 (Southword Editions, 2009), Best British Poetry 2012 (Salt, 2012) and Dear World & Everyone In It: new poetry in the UK (Bloodaxe, 2013). You can read more of his poems on his website and on his poetry and geology blog.


Worple Press was founded by Peter and Amanda Carpenter in 1997. Since then they have published a wide range of authors, including Iain Sinclair, Joseph Woods, Elizabeth Cook, Beverley Bie Brahic, Clive Wilmer and Kevin Jackson. They published the selected poems of the acclaimed American nature poet Peter Kane Dufault for the first time in the UK (Looking in All Directions); this was followed in 2007 by Kane Dufault’s To be in the same world. Peter Robinson’s The Great Friend and Other Translated Poems was the Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation for Spring 2002. This impressive backlist was augmented in 2012 by three significant titles: Passio: Fourteen Poems by Janos Pilinszky from Clive Wilmer and George Gomori; Riddance by Anthony Wilson; and the republication of William Hayward’s cult novel from 1964, It Never Gets Dark All Night. Over 2013 and 2014 new titles include work from John Greening, Michael McKimm, Peter Robinson, Mary Woodward and Sally Flint.  More information can be found on Worple Press’s website and Facebook page.


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. 

Water

Since you, images of water. Dream
of a tidal wave, poised to annul me
while I waited in creaming waters.

Nights by rivers, white noise
that roared us to sleep, filled us
with liquid currents, pooled splendours, till we
were every mountain stream, all snow-melt, joined
into one broad irresistible water
breaking in silver fire.

Water at your feet that laps and idles
like a tide still undetermined
where the main pull is.

Downpour all day. Rain is all the verbs,
all puissance, rushing in lines.

by Elizabeth Cook

Two news items! Be inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites: the Poetry Centre and the Ashmolean Museum have just launched the 2014 Pre-Raphaelite Poetry Competition. Open to Sixth Form students in Oxfordshire County Council schools, students are encouraged to write a poem based on their response to one of the six Pre-Raphaelite paintings in the collection of the Ashmolean Museum. You can find full details about how to enter the competition and reproductions of the paintings on the Ashmolean site. Entries will be judged by Brookes Pre-Raphaelite expert Dr Dinah Roe and celebrated writer Kate Clanchy. The deadline is Monday 17 March.

Worple Press, our publisher this week, is holding a reading on Thursday 6 February. It will feature Stephen Boyce, Sally Flint, and Mary Woodward reading from their new Worple collections at Senate House Library, London. This is a free event with wine and nibbles, and begins at 6.30pm, with readings starting at 7pm. For more details, visit the Facebook event page.


‘Water’ is copyright © Elizabeth Cook, 2006. It is reprinted from Bowl by Elizabeth Cook (published by Worple Press in 2006) by permission of Worple Press.

Notes from Worple Press:

This poem is from Bowl, Elizabeth Cook’s critically acclaimed 2006 collection which has recently been re-issued by Worple Press. Elizabeth Cook was born in Gibraltar in 1952, spent her childhood in Nigeria and Dorset, and now lives in East London and Suffolk. She is the editor of the Oxford Authors John Keats and author of Achilles (Methuen and Picador USA), a work of fiction with a performance life, acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic. Her poetry, short fiction and critical reviews have appeared in many journals including AgendaThe London Review of BooksPoetry LondonStandMoving Worlds and Tears in the Fence. She has been a Hawthornden Fellow and wrote the libretto for Francis Grier’s The Passion of Jesus of Nazareth, jointly commissioned by VocalEssence in Minneapolis and the BBC. She has since collaborated with him on a sequence of poems for a Vespers setting.

Worple Press was founded by Peter and Amanda Carpenter in 1997. Since then they have published a wide range of authors, including Iain Sinclair, Joseph Woods, Elizabeth Cook, Beverley Bie Brahic, Clive Wilmer and Kevin Jackson. They published the selected poems of the acclaimed American nature poet Peter Kane Dufault for the first time in the UK (Looking in All Directions); this was followed in 2007 by Kane Dufault’s To be in the same world. Peter Robinson’s The Great Friend and Other Translated Poems was the Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation for Spring 2002. This impressive backlist was augmented in 2012 by three significant titles: Passio: Fourteen Poems by Janos Pilinszky from Clive Wilmer and George Gomori; Riddance by Anthony Wilson; and the republication of William Hayward’s cult novel from 1964, It Never Gets Dark All Night. Over 2013 and 2014 new titles include work from John Greening, Michael McKimm, Peter Robinson, Mary Woodward and Sally Flint.  More information can be found on Worple Press’s website and Facebook page.

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. 

Redwings and Magnetism

How small is the god of those migrating bird-rivers:
redwings, fieldfares that fall from Norway to the Neva.

She will climb from her bed and airbrush their science.
The season is ice-mist, a scared short-range weather.

Redwings, fieldfares that fall from Norway to the Neva
smash as if thrown against the solid-state river.

The season is ice-mist, a scared short-range weather.
A small neck bows, the tiles of its wings

smash as if thrown against the solid-state river.
She makes herself dark coffee, taps in the data.

Her small neck bows; the tiles of those wings
are unfolded and healed by the heat of her argument.

She makes herself dark coffee, taps in the data.
How those ten thousand birds fleer in her thought,

unfolded and healed by the heat of her argument.
Warm the cold lives by her limpid knowledge:

those ten thousand birds that fleer in her thought.
She has climbed from her bed, airbrushed their science,

warmed the cold lives by a limpid knowledge:
how small is the god of those migrating bird-rivers.

by David Morley

This week’s poet, David Morley, will be speaking at John Clare in Space: Poetry, Nature and Contemporary Culture, a conference at Oxford Brookes from 30-31 May 2014. Other confirmed speakers include: Jonathan Bate, Josie Long, Richard Mabey, and Iain Sinclair. All are welcome to attend, and details about registration can be found on the Oxford Brookes website.

‘Redwings and Magnetism’ is copyright © David Morley, 2001. It is reprinted from Of Science, edited by David Morley & Andy Brown (published by Worple Press in 2001) by permission of Worple Press.

Notes from Worple Press:

Of Science is a sample of poems by contemporary poets who are also trained as scientists. The writers of this selection are drawn from the fields of freshwater ecology, mathematics, marine biology, neural physiology, ethnology, computing, phenomenology and biochemistry. The mode of selection is modelled on the 1802 Lyrical Ballads, in the spirit of Miroslav Holub’s notion of ‘serious play’, with the shared belief of Wordsworth and Coleridge that ‘poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge; it is the impassioned expression which is the countenance of all science.’ Read more about the book on Worple’s site.

David Morley read Zoology at Bristol University, gained a fellowship from the Freshwater Biological Association and pursued research on acid rain. He co-founded the Writing Programme at the University of Warwick, of which he is now director, and develops and teaches new practices in scientific and creative writing. He co-edited The New Poetry for Bloodaxe and authored The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing. He has published eleven collections of poetry. The Invisible Kings (Carcanet, 2008) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, as was his most recent book, The Gypsy and the Poet (Carcanet, 2013). You can read more from David about his new book on his blog at the University of Warwick, read an illuminating interview with him by Simon Kövesi in the latest John Clare Society Journal, and follow his work via his website and Twitter.

Worple Press was founded by Peter and Amanda Carpenter in 1997. Since then they have published a wide range of authors, including Iain Sinclair, Joseph Woods, Elizabeth Cook, Beverley Bie Brahic, Clive Wilmer and Kevin Jackson. They published the selected poems of the acclaimed American nature poet Peter Kane Dufault for the first time in the UK (Looking in All Directions); this was followed in 2007 by Kane Dufault’s To be in the same world. Peter Robinson’s The Great Friend and Other Translated Poems was the Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation for Spring 2002. This impressive backlist was augmented in 2012 by three significant titles: Passio: Fourteen Poems by Janos Pilinszky from Clive Wilmer and George Gomori; Riddance by Anthony Wilson; and the republication of William Hayward’s cult novel from 1964, It Never Gets Dark All Night. Over 2013 and 2014 new titles include work from John Greening, Michael McKimm, Peter Robinson, Mary Woodward and Sally Flint. More information can be found on Worple Press’s new website and Facebook page.

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.

Slippage

A dark blue hourglass on the bookshelf fills
with evening light. I turn it over, watch
the sand slip through its waist, narrow as a wasp’s
& count the time it takes the sand to fall…

Outside, the Western Ocean cracks its whips
against the stacks of rock at Castle Point,
those hulking blocks of granite that once slipped
onto the sea, now ground to sand & quartz.

Inside, the Irish Theological
informs us there are two types of slipped disc –
‘hard’ & ‘soft’. The first hits suddenly,
the other’s slow, like the changes of our love.

Kept indoors by the rain our daughter laughs.
She points out to the bay & voices ‘blue’
& I can’t help but feel that we’re the halves
the sand of her young life now trickles through.

by Andy Brown

‘Slippage’ is copyright © Andy Brown, 2001. It is reprinted from Of Science, edited by David Morley & Andy Brown (published by Worple Press in 2001) by permission of Worple Press.

Notes from Worple Press:

Of Science is a sample of poems by contemporary poets who are also trained as scientists. The writers of this selection are drawn from the fields of freshwater ecology, mathematics, marine biology, neural physiology, ethnology, computing, phenomenology and biochemistry. The mode of selection is modelled on the 1802 Lyrical Ballads, in the spirit of Miroslav Holub’s notion of ‘serious play’, with the shared belief of Wordsworth and Coleridge that ‘poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge; it is the impassioned expression which is the countenance of all science.’ Read more about the book on Worple’s site.

Andy Brown is Director of the Exeter University Writing Programme, and was formerly an Arvon Foundation Centre Director. He collaborated with David Morley on the Worple Press poetry collection Of Science. His most recent book of poems is The Fool and the Physician (Salt Publishing). Other recent books are Goose Music (with John Burnside), Fall of the Rebel Angels (both Salt) and The Storm Berm. A selection of his poems appears in the Bloodaxe anthology Identity Parade. He edited two collections of correspondences with authors, Binary Myths 1&2, and is editing a book of essays on Kelvin Corocoran (Shearsman). He is also co-editing A Body of Work: Poetry and Medicine 1750-present with Corinna Wagner, for Bloomsbury/Continuum. Find out more about Andy Brown’s work from his blog.

Worple Press was founded by Peter and Amanda Carpenter in 1997. Since then they have published a wide range of authors, including Iain Sinclair, Joseph Woods, Elizabeth Cook, Beverley Bie Brahic, Clive Wilmer and Kevin Jackson. They published the selected poems of the acclaimed American nature poet Peter Kane Dufault for the first time in the UK (Looking in All Directions); this was followed in 2007 by Kane Dufault’s To be in the same world. Peter Robinson’s The Great Friend and Other Translated Poems was the Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation for Spring 2002. This impressive backlist was augmented in 2012 by three significant titles: Passio: Fourteen Poems by Janos Pilinszky from Clive Wilmer and George Gomori; Riddance by Anthony Wilson; and the republication of William Hayward’s cult novel from 1964, It Never Gets Dark All Night. Over 2013 and 2014 new titles include work from John Greening, Michael McKimm, Peter Robinson, Mary Woodward and Sally Flint. More information can be found on Worple Press’s new website and Facebook page.

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.

Orpheus, Just Checking

I shouldn’t look back. I seem to come
perpetually out of the underworld,
and by feeling my way in the near
total darkness I have won back my
easily frightened away frequently dead
Muse, who follows me silently.
I’m never sure she’s there. The pupils
of my eyes dilated to catch
every glimmer of light, I inch my way
up the winding path, if it’s a path at all,
but upwards anyway to the world of life.
It’s as if I’m always at the same point
though always moving. How far have I come?
I look back. Where I had walked
alone, uncertainly, I see her,
silent still and other and dignified,
filling my eyes with light. But she stops.
I face forwards again, blinded, nonplussed.
Behind me she melts back to the dark halls.

by John Freeman

A reminder that the inaugural Reading Poetry Festival runs this week from 5-9 June. The impressive line-up of speakers includes Iain Sinclair, Bernard O’Donoghue, Leontia Flynn, Kei Miller, Zoe Skoulding, Peter Robinson, and Steven Matthews. There are also two exhibitions curated by Peter Robinson and Natalie Pollard. Many events are free but require you to book. Click here for the full programme and details about how you can book tickets.

‘Orpheus, Just Checking’ is copyright © John Freeman, 2007. It is reprinted from A Suite for Summer by permission of Worple Press.

Notes from Worple Press:

John Freeman was born in Essex, grew up in South London and studied English at Cambridge. He lived in Yorkshire before moving to Wales where he teaches at Cardiff University. A Suite For Summer is John Freeman’s ninth collection of poems. Other collections include The Light Is Of Love, I Think: New and Selected Poems (Stride), and Landscape With Portraits (Redbeck)Stride also published a book of essays, The Less Received: Neglected Modern Poets. The essay ‘We Must Talk Now’ appeared in Cusp: recollections of poetry in transition, edited by Geraldine Monk (Shearsman, 2012). In 2013 John Freeman won third prize in the National Poetry Competition. Of his work, Jim Burns has written: ‘The movement of John Freeman’s poems is always easy to follow. The ease and the warmth make for an attractiveness that is central to the poems. And because they never lapse into the merely anecdotal they retain their quality and stand repeated reading. There is a consistency in the writing that is impressive. The voice in the poems is constant and true.’ You can read more about the collection at Worple’s site here.

Worple Press was founded by Peter and Amanda Carpenter in 1997. Since then they have published a wide range of authors, including Iain Sinclair, Joseph Woods, Elizabeth Cook, Beverley Bie Brahic, Clive Wilmer and Kevin Jackson. They published the selected poems of the acclaimed American nature poet Peter Kane Dufault for the first time in the UK (Looking in All Directions); this was followed in 2007 by Kane Dufault’s To be in the same world. Peter Robinson’s The Great Friend and Other Translated Poems was the Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation for Spring 2002. This impressive backlist was augmented in 2012 by three significant titles: Passio: Fourteen Poems by Janos Pilinszky from Clive Wilmer and George Gomori; Riddance by Anthony Wilson; and the republication of William Hayward’s cult novel from 1964, It Never Gets Dark All Night. Over 2013 and 2014 new titles include work from John Greening, Michael McKimm, Peter Robinson, Mary Woodward and Sally Flint.  More information can be found on Worple Press’s new website and Facebook page.

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.

On a Forbidden Star

I was born on a forbidden star. From there
driven ashore, I trudge along the sand.
The surf of celestial nothingness takes me up,
and plays with me, then casts me on the land.

Why I repent I do not even know.
It is a puzzle buzzing in my ear.
If any of you should find me on this beach,
this sunken beach, don’t run away, stay here.

And don’t be scared. Don’t run away. Just try
to mitigate the suffering in my life.
Shut your eyes and press me to yourself.
Press me boldly, as you would a knife.

Be reckless too: look on me as the dead
look on the night, seeing it as their own,
your shoulder there to aid my weaker one.
I can no longer bear to be alone.

I never wanted to be born. It was nothingness
who bore and suckled me; with her I started.
so love me darkly. Love me cruelly. Love me
like the one left behind by the departed.

by János Pilinszky

‘On a Forbidden Star’ is copyright © János Pilinszky. It is reprinted by permission of Worple Press from Passio (2012), translated by Clive Wilmer and George Gömöri.

Notes from Worple Press:

János Pilinszky (1921-81) is one of the great European poets of an extraordinary generation: that of Paul Celan, Zbigniew Herbert and Yves Bonnefoy. Like them he grew up to a world physically and morally devastated by the Second World War and the Holocaust. Ted Hughes described his achievements and stature thus: His “greatness” […] is not a greatness of imaginative and linguistic abundance. It has more to do with some form of spiritual distinction. The weight and unusual temper of his imagination and language derive from this.’ In Passio, Clive Wilmer translates from Hungarian in collaboration with George Gömöri, whom he first met in 1971. A Hungarian poet himself, George Gömöri belongs to the generation that felt Pilinszky’s influence. Over the past forty years Gömöri and Wilmer have translated work by more than twenty poets, and introduced many British readers to the poems of Miklós Radnóti and György Petri. Many of the poems here are taken from Pilinszky’s second book, Harmadnapon, published in 1959. Find out more about Passio by visiting Worple Press’s page here.

Worple Press was founded by Peter and Amanda Carpenter in 1997. Since then they have published a wide range of authors, including Iain Sinclair, Joseph Woods, Elizabeth Cook, Beverley Bie Brahic, Clive Wilmer and Kevin Jackson. They published the selected poems of the acclaimed American nature poet Peter Kane Dufault for the first time in the UK (Looking in All Directions); this was followed in 2007 by Kane Dufault’s To be in the same world. Peter Robinson’s The Great Friend and Other Translated Poems was the Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation for Spring 2002. This impressive backlist was augmented in 2012 by three significant titles: Passio: Fourteen Poems by Janos Pilinszky from Clive Wilmer and George Gomori; Riddance by Anthony Wilson; and the republication of William Hayward’s cult novel from 1964, It Never Gets Dark All Night. Over 2013 and 2014 new titles include work from John Greening, Michael McKimm, Peter Robinson, Mary Woodward and Sally Flint.  More information can be found on Worple Press’s new website and Facebook page.

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.