Sunday 31 October 2010

From a new anthology of contemporary Turkish women poets, first selection

This is my first selection from the new anthology, From This Bridge: Contemporary Turkish Women Poets, edited and translated by George Messo. Thanks to the publisher for bringing this book to my attention and allowing me to reprint poems here.

The New Bremen Harmonica Players

Why does the streetlamp lighting wet asphalt
Bring to mind a far off city
Gothic cities
Weighed down by winter and foreignness
And hotel rooms
Growing narrower in the middle of the night

A language that cracks like a whip
A thousand assorted things
And festive lights that estrange you

--Am I so far away from my home
If I fall will someone pick me up
Or will they first ask my identity--
Cold droplets on your brow
And the calling card getting wet in your hand

You seek a familiar word in the hoardings
Walk on keep your strangeness unsensed
Your residence papers will do you no good
You’re in the city of your birth

Sennur Sezer
Trans. George Messo
Conversation Paperpress, 2010

Friday 29 October 2010

Saxtead Green Windmill, Suffolk, 25 October 2010

Click on an image to enlarge it. For some of the history of Saxtead Green Windmill, here's the Wikipedia entry.

Thursday 28 October 2010

Current Issues

I've a quirky dramatic monologue, "The Apprentice," in the new issue of The Rialto, and an altogether different poem, touching on the erotic, in the new Tears in the Fence, "Two, Post-Pastoral." Poems are also forthcoming in two new UK magazines, New Walk and Tellus, in addition to Court Green (US) and Poetry Ireland Review.

Wednesday 27 October 2010

Framlingham Castle, Suffolk, 25 October 2010

Click on any image to see it enlarged. To learn about its history, read the Wikipedia entry here.

within the walls

from the outside

the view from the castle

Wednesday 20 October 2010

"Something Moved" by Ruth Larbey

I was captivated by this poem in a new Nine Arches pamphlet and thought (having gained permission from the publisher and the author) to share it here.

Something Moved

He smiled from inside the metal door.
I’ll see you at home he said, and
didn’t kiss me.

Listening carefully one day
something moved
and I felt hot with the first surge of what
it felt like to live branchlessly.

Now, whenever the day brightens
suddenly, like a tin-foil-flash,

I know the world is dark elsewhere.

Ruth Larbey

Thursday 14 October 2010

Tony Williams' The Corner of Arundel Lane and Charles Street (Salt, 2009)

I've enjoyed and appreciated this first collection by Tony Williams--so much precision and vigor! It's just been shortlisted for the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize.

There are more grains of sand than there are
windows in the offices of hell.

from "Sand"

my county town, my botched Eden

from "The Matlock Elegies"

Over the river, up on the hill,
up past the circular house of the witch,
through the thin street to the top of the road,
where the track runs down, and the old house is.

first stanza of "Gawain and the Green Shade"

the dusty hope
that all large buildings squash and cherish

from "The Town of K., in the Province of M."

chandeliers in the halls of Hades

from "Pressure"

Their sparse dramas flee the rain and sicken
for lack of motile air amid the cooking smells and easy chairs,
surrounded by miles
and miles of friendless arable.

Everyone ends up on their own, prowling the concrete town
in their shapeless sweaters, rehearsing reasons for failure and for
Liberal but desperate, they pair off
with their reduced ambitions.

from "A Lowland Palsy"

The dark hides
in its own shadow, shoots its mouth, the dad
of a young family, breeds, and will not be told.

last sentence of "Reproductive Behaviour of the Dark"

Angel's-wing or fly's-head orchid; name
and name and name. But still the sense of doom.

from "Variations on a Form
by Gottfriend Benn and Babette Deutsch"

dreamscape hovering in a mind
of wet streets familiar but unwalkable.

from "The Triumph of Orthodoxy"

The water pools, deepens, and clears its dulcet throat.

from "Izaak Walton's Flight"

The green and rose casts of the glass,
the house and the singing flowers--
their songs, grandparents and their gloom
muddled among the folk you bring in, your lot,
and other, half-familiar powers--they sing to you
of age and agelessness, and dare you to repeat their song.
It will die in your throat.

from "The Flowers Singing"

Buy The Corner of Arundel Lane and Charles Street direct from Salt Publishing.

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Best American Poetry blog

Today Todd Swift mentions me as one of three "unexpected figures" in British poetry in his post on the Best American Poetry blog.

Monday 11 October 2010

Richard Caddel's Magpie Words: Selected Poems 1970-2000 (West House Books, 2002), second selection

As noted before, Blogger cannot replicate the original spacing of these poems, so for such detail please see the book itself.

What of memory, a
film not
wound on properly, cold

first stanza of "From Wreay Churchyard"

cursd critics . rubbed the stone clean .
weeds are dressing murmur .
absent in movement

from "Rigmarole: A Struck Bell"

A speech
at odds with itself, as

likely to
soak you as save you.

from "Rigmarole: Uncertain Time"

in its silence.

Light gone
from the dales
and stars
lock in.

from "Sweet Cicely"

The night is
calm, still--
the song of the moon

to the feet

from "Two Movements Which Begin
at the Head and End at the Feet"

blocked morning--I bite
my day and swing out
over sound, over

the past


buy your stars anyway

here gripping the stone of winter


And glibly on common way
over stubble the scarf the
waymark unstill

over sleepingsickness
over turf of the law hear
heartsong down morning


the blood root aloft there
in wind light--iridescent earth
warm and lime washed


an apple house in song
mother or summer or clear

blue edged with blood all
softened in winter wood mind

wandering each day of
esoteric signs--sound
gesture into the dirt lands.


salt caked robed in its rime
the paint the plaster the ship
the hope ever silent


light in showers foundered
our sound singing in
fruitless ache. Memory


all sound starmantles
all the half might
all that wasn't lost falling

from "Underwriter"

Young girls laugh in the lane, a word
like that giggle doesn't exist.
Out of a lexicon of reedy days
release this pavement of colour.


Here's a flower
we'd all forgotten, from a pot
marked nightmare. When we're

finally tired, we sleep like children. So
breathing it reaches at last
to an argued form of blessedness, a
silvered road deep to stars.


Then we wash down
those strange stars, and gardens
everywhere lose their quiet.


By starlight on a clear night
insects sing, a music apart
on margins we thrill to.

from "Writing in the Dark"

You can purchase Richard Caddel's Magpie Words directly from publisher West House Books.

Saturday 9 October 2010

Richard Caddel's Magpie Words: Selected Poems 1970-2000 (West House Books, 2002), first selection

I'm afraid Blogger can't replicate the spacing of many of these passages, so I hope those who enjoy them will take a look at the book itself to see how the words are enhanced by their arrangement on the page.

...not the thing itself but the sense
of other and contrary things is real.

from "Against Numerology"

amber! amber and charred
sticks on that shore
whose seas have lost their clarity
for ever

final and second stanza of
"Baltic Coast Coda: Children Dancing"

Living out on contrary margins
you tell them everything, a
boundary of your resistance, a
song, like an old charm
simply a pattern on air


their great


completely to hills and water
out of a grace I counter

from "Counter"

moving (lunchtime)
out of the realm of
false, muddled argument
into that contact
with the world in which
(for which)
I live--
to point towards--
because there is no 'away'
to sling things to
and to live here
is not to escape


it is raining very hard
it is warm
the birds are (plainly)
loving it

whatever it is


dealing with a cow blink pushing up the darkened room a car moist
trying to grow the birds lifting the tarmac as the clouds in islamic
patterns hearing my anger scud across the stars the flowers the
century roosted late a friend defoliated in the cool evening in the
darkened room hearing the earth blink the grass still moist from
hate dealing with a friends cow a car anger blink in the moist
evening trying to help the flowers in the darkened room


to recall
those who are expert on apple trees
the trick being
to love

(a bonfire, a bird's tail
in flight)
to start with

a point
to correlate with
it's important
to make mistakes

in a way, once

in a way


reaching for the measure
the song wavered recalling
smell of parsley

thinned in late may after rain

over and over

air shifting over ground
violin, skylarks wilder
reaching out

by the stone house
trees bent under wind
standing out

years above a river
of years (memory)
in which there is no rest
song lapping

its banks at night
when the owls call
drift down like clouds

like rock
and we to each other calling
our wary friendship

from "Fantasia in the English Choral Tradition"

fleet on
worked gold
shall not be
friend was
in what land

part 2 of "For the Fallen:
A Reading of Y Gododdin"

You can purchase Richard Caddel's Magpie Words directly from publisher West House Books.

Friday 1 October 2010

i.m. Katelyn Etter, 1998-

My niece Katelyn Etter is being adopted, and those adopting her have cut off all contact with her family but written letters--a most unnatural form of communication for her as she saw her grandparents, aunts, brothers, and cousins all the time. We're that sort of nourishing family, and I wish Katie's potential parents could see that.

I miss her so much.