Monday 11 May 2015

Kim Moore's The Art of Falling (Seren, 2015)

Some favourite passages:

And the soul, if she is to know herself
must look into the soul and find
what kind of beast is hiding.

the opening stanza of "And the Soul"

I come from people who swear without realising they're swearing.

the opening line of "My People"

                                  ...and the lawn sits

in its shadows and dark and its falsehoods
and the ending begins with its terrible face,
its strange way of being, its short way of living....

from "I'm Thinking of My Father"

and if there was a moment
when I thought the body was a cage,
I knew it then....


Here is the loneliness of November
and its failure at an ending....

from "After Work"

Wouldn't any of us, if pushed, sit on the riverbank
and comb snakes from our hair, or think that in our grief
we could become a sea bird, our outstretched bodies

like a cross nailed to the wind?

from "Translation"

                                                     You ask
about birds, but all I can talk of is stones.

end of "How I Abandoned My Body to His Keeping"

                                                     Show me
how to recognise the glint in the eye of the dog,
the rabid dog. Remind me, O body, of the way
he moved when he drank, that dangerous silence.
Let me feel how I let my eyes drop, birds falling
from a sky, how my heart was a field, and there
was a dog, loose in the field, it was worrying
the sheep, they were running and then 
they were still. O body, let me remember
what it was to have a field in my chest....

from "Body, Remember"

...when I knew fear was just a thing
to be bargained with, inside my feathered heart
was another feathered thing, born white but slowly
turning black, the way the crow in all the stories
was turned black for speaking truth.

end of "When I Was a Thing with Feathers"

In winter, in the fog,
sheep lie on the road for warmth
until the car is close enough
to breathe on them
and then they straighten their legs
and clatter away like coat hangers.

from "The Dead Tree"

                                 ...his eyes two leaves
of slowly changing colour.

end of "Chet Baker"

I can put on the heavy garments of the soul.
I can tether myself to the earth if I choose.

from "Give Me a Childhood"

You can purchase The Art of Falling directly from the publisher here. If you join Seren's (free) book club, you can get 20% off all titles.

Friday 8 May 2015

The Ted Hughes Award Citation for Imagined Sons

"The poems in Carrie Etter’s poignant collection, Imagined Sons, coalesce around a haunting: though the poems are spoken by the birth-mother, it is the son who takes centre stage, his absence experienced as a real and pervasive presence throughout. The sequence is a montage of fictional fragments, each fragment representing one of an infinite number of possible versions of the mother/son relationship. We loved this book’s innovative arrangement: the ten regularly occurring ‘catechisms’ interleaved among thirty-eight prose poems, and contained within an over-arching circularity of structure – beginning, as it does, with the refrain How did you let him go? and ending with the unsettling When will you let him go? But above all, we were delighted by the variety of tone ­– from heart-breaking to funny to frightening – and by the mix of the fantastic and the mundane, of fairy tale and contemporary detail. This is a book to be read and reread."

Ted Hughes Award judges, 2015

Thursday 7 May 2015

Andrew McMillan's Physical (Cape, 2015)

Some favourite passages from this forthcoming collection:

grappling with the shifting question of each other's bodies
until the morning breaks across them and still their strength


taken allegorically          he is beating on himself
until the point at which the inner river of the word grace
runs past and everything lays down in calm

from "Jacob with the Angel"

they have got too close to the glass
and now they are laying
in the broken pools of their own faces

from "The Men Are Weeping in the Gym"

but the crowd goes mad and claps
of thunder thrum the valley where I sleep
and my lonelyhaircut cellist eyes the bar between us

from "If It Wasn't for the Nights"

rain      the morning's mundane idea forming
movingloopingringroad of a day


how much of fighting
is the need to touch another man?

from "Protest of the Physical"

you thought all men grieved like small Greek women
in black who say the bread still needs to be baked

from "How to Be a Man"

the night is not so much clouding as burying itself

last line and stanza of "Morn"

Andrew McMillan's first collection, Physical, is published by Jonathan Cape later this year.