d/Deaf Republic: Poets on d/Deafness at Poetry International, Southbank Centre

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.

deafrepublic

Two Poems Published by the Wonderful Wild Court

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.

Two poems by Lisa Kelly

Ddeaf event

Below are two poems from Lisa Kelly’s debut collecton A Map Towards Fluency, recently published by Carcanet.


    Colchester Native

 

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.