It was a great pleasure to read at Poetry International on Saturday with Ilya Kaminksy and Raymond Antrobus. The event was British Sign Language interpreted (BSL) and Speech-to-Text transcribed (STT), and everyone at the Southbank made us feel incredibly welcome. Particularly inspiring was meeting with d/Deaf people who had seen the event and afterwards came by to the book signing table to share their stories. One woman I met got in touch to let me know she has decided to build her own blog site and start writing about her deafness after growing up in a household where conversations about her hearing never took place. This is what it is all about – sharing experiences, learning from each other and finding inspiration to be proud of who we are, and make the changes in our lives that we need to make.
Thanks to The New European and poetry editor, Briony Bax for publishing ‘My Country was a Party’. Let’s hope we can get the party restarted soon!
Issue 1 of the excellent new online magazine bath magg launches with a great selection of poets, including four poems from Vona Groarke and an interview. Check it out here. Couldn’t be happier that editors Joe Carrick-Varty and Mariah Whelan chose ‘Darling,’ to be in such great company. Looking forward to issue 2 already…
Very grateful to poetry editor Robert Selby for publishing two poems from A Map Towards Fluency on Wild Court site – King’s College London’s poetry website.
Below are two poems from Lisa Kelly’s debut collecton A Map Towards Fluency, recently published by Carcanet.
Oysters shucked. Poor man’s beef discarded down guts and out again to sea. Shells salvaged. Here, concentrated behind wire mesh, hard stuffing for this upholstered seat placed for musing on the river Colne. Quantities shipped on circuitous routes to sate Elizabethan London. The centre sucking resources in greedy gulps. Local beds, and locals lay wasted in leaner times. What now? Lean back on shells, characteristically flat, the flesh enjoyed by Romans firm and salty, a wet dream of these parts. Orgiastic oysters, slipping down, coming up, their stockmarket fortunes, bivalve biology, always two sides to prize apart: rich & poor, insider & outsider. Pearly junkets or gritty chronicles? Filter feeders, take it all in and sift through for dignitaries at the annual Oyster Feast by invitation only since Saint Dennis held his fair. Left out in the cold, sit back, digest world wars and viruses, how oyster numbers could not atone: oistre, ostreum, ostreon. Osteon, so close to bone.
Let them Leave Language to their Lonely Betters
after W. H. Auden’s ‘Their Lonely Betters’
This is not a poem about a robin or a blackbird for although I love birdsong, I’ve never heard a song I can say for certain came from that bush having looked quick enough to identify a thrush. Their names are withheld from their songs which fly freely about an ear that no longer longs to sort out this chirrup from that trill so I can distinguish this beak from that bill. This muddle of medley is an anthem of all and no proper name can answer each call which remains unrecorded in its own shade, undetonated by a signifier’s semantic grenade. Let them leave language to this lonely better who has struggled too long with nomenclature; let me sing my own song, and hear what I can, it will sound how it is – of robin, or of man.