Tuesday 16 November 2010

Matt Bryden's Night Porter, first selection

Winner in the 2010 Templar Poetry Pamphlet Competition, Night Porter is the first collection by one of my dearest friends, Matt Bryden. Here's the blurb for the pamphlet (which, I admit, I wrote): "Stemming from the poet's experience working in a Yorkshire hotel, Night Porter portrays life in the small hours among guests and staff, a life that steadily becomes more about witnessing the lives of others than the speaker's own. With each new glimpse into the interrelationships at the hotel, the mood deepens with new emotional tensions and an overriding sense of alienation. In this remarkable debut, Matt Bryden creates a compellingly layered portrait of ordinary lives." To purchase the pamphlet, please visit its page on Templar Poetry.

Here's the first poem I'd like to share:


I shake the box in my lap:
gold and black as, es, is, os, us
and consonants, in sections.
Over time, the ss have cross-pollinated the ws,
the 1s mixed into the Is, 0s interbred with the os,
the Cs, or rather the splintered Os,
jaggedly pressed into the felt of the Arrivals board.

In the hotel supplies catalogue,
alongside lecterns and whiteboards,
shower caps and reception bells,
a small box of numbers and letters: £85.

‘Not at those prices,’ says Anne.

Matt Bryden
Night Porter
Templar, 2010

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