Salisbury, solitary, sings as if Isaiah in her –
All Along the Watchtower edge and ridge of plain they ride for Warminster.
Anger, broken in her, iron age, stone age, bone and barrow, is as if her
Father yet not father photographed before the war
Unfathomed by her –
Anger of another relatively new to her beside her now
Like coulter – plough-hard, harrow-hard –
Would break the clod of her
For what is yet unheard in her is hoard
It is for him to bare.
As if the solitary village in her, commandeered, were Imber
As if the word abide with me were loud and overlord in her.
by Gillian Allnutt
Imber, a village on Salisbury Plain taken over by the army in 1943, is still uninhabited today.
We are delighted to say that this week’s poet, Gillian Allnutt, will be reading in Oxford this evening (Monday) in an event organized jointly by the Poetry Centre and the Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture. Spaces for this event are limited, so please register here.
Looking forward, don’t forget to register for the exciting reading with Ilya Kaminsky and Shara Lessley on 26 June, the symposium ‘Our Poetry and Our Needs’ on 9 July, and the launches of our latest ignitionpress pamphlets on 22 and 23 July. There are more details about all of these events here.
Finally, if you’re keen on filmmaking and poetry, why not enter our filmpoem competition! Choose a poem by one of our ignitionpress poets, respond to it in a short film, and win prizes and screenings! The deadline is 7 June, and there are more details on our blog.
‘Nearing Warminster’ is copyright © Gillian Allnutt, 2018. It is reprinted from wake (Bloodaxe Books, 2018) by permission of Bloodaxe Books.
Gillian Allnutt was born in London but spent half her childhood in Newcastle upon Tyne. She is the author of nine poetry collections. Nantucket and the Angel and Lintel were both shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and poems from these collections are included in her Bloodaxe retrospective How the Bicycle Shone: New & Selected Poems (2007), which draws on six published books plus a new collection, Wolf Light, and was a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation. Her most recent collections, both from Bloodaxe, are indwelling (2013) and wake (2018). Since 1983 she has taught creative writing in a variety of contexts, mainly in adult education and as a writer in schools. In 2009/10 she held a writing residency with The Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture (now Freedom From Torture) in the North East, working with asylum seekers in Newcastle and Stockton. She lives in County Durham. Gillian Allnutt was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry 2016 in February 2017. You can find out more about Gillian’s work on the Bloodaxe website.
Bloodaxe Books was founded in Newcastle by Neil Astley in 1978 and has revolutionised poetry publishing in Britain over four decades. Internationally renowned for quality in literature and excellence in book design, our authors and books have won virtually every major literary award given to poetry, from the T.S. Eliot Prize and Pulitzer to the Nobel Prize. And books like the Staying Alive trilogy have broken new ground by opening up contemporary poetry to many thousands of new readers. Find out more about Bloodaxe on the publisher’s website.
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