Category

Poems

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The Geography of Desire – A review of Siren by Kateri Lanthier

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If you wanted to find a daughter abducted by a powerful man, you might need to cover a lot of territory. The earth mother Demeter gave wings to young women singers willing to search, but when they failed to find the man, she left them stuck on the rocks, singing to men who would be seduced. Kateri Lanthier’s second collection of poems, Siren, also covers a lot of territory, and although, like...

“The whole art of everything is about forgetting yourself” – A Conversation with Alice Oswald

Alice Oswald’s collections include Dart, which won the 2002 T.S. Eliot Prize, Woods etc. (Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize), A Sleepwalk on the Severn (Hawthornden Prize), Weeds and Wildflowers (Ted Hughes Award) and, more recently, Memorial, which won the 2013 Warwick Prize for Writing. “Dunt,” included in this collection, was awarded the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. Her latest book, Falling...

“Rosily I Will Squander Myself”: A Review of 3 Summers by Lisa Robertson

Bear with me while I tell you, briefly, about Epicureanism: a philosophy about a world without divine judgment, where nothing you are or do in your lifetime is anything more than what it is. This is a world without sin but also without transcendent meaning. There are definitely gods, as befitting an idea forged in ancient Greece, but there is no grand, God-given plan. Amanda Jo Goldstein calls...

Self-Love

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I do not know if I was given James Herriot books to read as a child because I wanted to be a veterinarian or if I wanted to be a veterinarian because I was given James Herriot books to read as a child but at one point in the books or maybe all the time in all the books— I have no memory of any other events that happened in the books only that they were abundant and I read them and James Herriot a...

The Night Prayer’s Lord, a Poem

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The poem “The Night Prayer’s Lord” like most of the poems in my most recent collection, Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects (Wolsak & Wynn), pays homage to the late Irish poet Dorothy Molloy who, in 2004, died ten days before her first collection was published by Faber and Faber. Though I lived in Northern Ireland during the 1990’s I never met Molloy. And yet she became my spirit...

Two New Poems by George Elliott Clarke

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The poems happened completely by chance. This “chanciness” is deliberate. I begin to write something that’s vaguely about African slavery, and then a direction or impulse or voice imposes itself on the writing. These poems – Solomon 2 and Experience 1 – are based on my interpretation of how unlettered black (ex) slaves understood The Holy Bible – as a concrete work, as being about...

XVII, from The Minutes

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Let’s begin: Come man know your span sing wilde curcles with no circumference where even the birds cannot pass an emptiness that contracts to a point no count is sure, there is no point to the act if you already know what will come to pass passes, bird- brained song man you know too well accounted for contracts the self. Odi et amo— Carolina Jessamine & honeysuckle— lanceolate feelings— itchy...

Poem: My Life Aboard the Last Sailing Ship Carrying Cumberland Coal

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    You give your firstborn daughter A central-Asian name Meaning blue or water. Years later two bluebirds alight on either arm And an artist’s quick needlework Stitches birds to skin So even In your obsequies your fetlocks Wing away, appear then disappear. Of course Now you are a horse   With pale blue withers on a high Afghan plain. What does it mean to be Such a thing? Behind...

Poem: Three Studies of Fruit

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  Have I painted these scenes? Or merely collected them? I will try to display them in pure colours, simplest form. i.   First: the orange of an orange1 in the dining room, Caroline is cutting the fruit for me and I am sitting on her lap when a cow rushes past the window startling me so I startle the knife and it bites2 my thumb between the knuckles.   I do not remember the cut...

Choice Poems: Zach Wells and Naomi Guttman

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The TRB team is pleased to announce Choice Poems, a semi-regular series of poems on Chirograph curated by the TRB’s Poetry Editor, Moez Surani. For this, the first Choice Poems post, we’re climbing under the covers and into a lover’s heart with a pairing of poems on love and temptation. Zach Wells shows how a lover struggles to match the image that the beloved craves. Naomi...