Friday Poem – ‘For a Foot’, Kathryn Gray

Friday Poem For a Foot Kathryn Gray

This week our Friday poem is ‘For a Foot’ by Kathryn Gray, taken from her 2004 debut collection, The Never-Never

Kathryn Gray The Never-NeverPropelling us from the rain-lashed back-streets and housing estates of Wales, to London, California and beyond, the poems of The Never-Never offer us unique tales of friendship, love and loss, of exile and the distant promise of home. Gray’s accessible style in which she combines playful and serious, allusive and direct with an intellectual wit, makes for an extremely readable collection.
In ‘For a Foot’, the speaker reminisces about a one-legged figure, fierce and ferocious, and the prosthesis that hid their lost limb, obscuring ‘What happens at the bare knuckle/ of life’.

 

For a Foot Kathryn Gray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Never-Never is available from the Seren website: £7.99.

Join our free Book Club for 20% off every book you buy from us.

 

Friday Poem — ‘Self-Portrait with Monkey’, Pascale Petit

This week our Friday Poem is ‘Self-Portrait with Monkey’ by Pascale Petit, taken from her 2010 poetry collection, What the Water Gave Me: Poems After Frida Kahlo.

What the Water Gave Me Frida Kahlo Pascale PetitThe poems of What the Water Gave Me are narrated through the voice of the twentieth-century Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo. The collection features a diverse range of biographical verse poems: some are interpretations of Kahlo’s work; others are inspired by the painter but also draw on aspects of Petit’s own experience as a visual artist, where she can be seen to create art with words. Through her vivid style, which evokes a closeness to nature and an understanding of pain and redemption, Petit offers us a valuable insight into Kahlo’s life.
‘Self-Portrait with Monkey’ is inspired by Kahlo’s 1938 oil painting of the same name: the iconic Mexican artist sits with a monkey draped around her shoulder and ribbons in her hair, framed by a background of leaves.

 

Frida Kahlo poem Pascale Petit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What the Water Gave Me: Poems After Frida Kahlo is available from the Seren website: £8.99

Join our free Book Club for 20% off every book you buy from us.

 

 

Save

Friday Poem – ‘Crisscross’, Lynne Hjelmgaard

Friday Poem Crisscross Lynne Hjelmgaard

This week our Friday Poem is ‘Crisscross’ by Lynne Hjelmgaard, taken from her most recent poetry collection, A Boat Called Annalise.

A Boat Called AnnaliseThe poems of A Boat Called Annalise recall a journey this much-travelled author took on a sailboat to the Caribbean and back to Europe with her husband. First we experience the tentative first months at sea, the author finding her ‘sea-legs’. As the book moves on, we find the author navigating not only the turbulent seascape, but also grief, healing, and nostalgia for the halcyon days of her marriage.
In ‘Crisscross’ we are post-voyage, and the mood is one of reflection. The author and her husband seem in stark contrast: one having gratefully retreated from the sea, and the other at a loss without its strangely comforting wildness.

 

Crisscross Lynne Hjelmgaard A Boat Called Annalise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Boat Called Annalise is available from the Seren website: £9.99

Join our free Book Club for 20% off every book you buy from us

 

 

Save

Friday Poem – ‘The Lovely Disciplines’, Martyn Crucefix

Friday Poem The Lovely Disciplines Martyn Crucefix

This week our Friday Poem is the title poem from Martyn Crucefix’s brand new collection, The Lovely Disciplines, which came out just yesterday.

Martyn Crucefix The Lovely DisciplinesDisplaying his characteristic flair, craft and intelligence, Crucefix’s new poems often begin with the visible, the tangible, the ordinary, yet through each act of attentiveness and the delicate fluidity of the language they re-discover the extraordinary in the everyday.
The book is split into three sections, and ‘The Lovely Disciplines’ appears in section two, which is not just the centre but the emotional heart of this new collection. It features a number of tender poems that recollect moments with ageing parents: a father, losing his memory, gets lost driving a familiar route, with such loss prefiguring wider and deeper losses to come; a childhood home is suddenly shorn of its reassuring familiarity. Here, aged figures in a hospital ward lean away from the lives they once knew, whilst loved ones ‘rest useless hands’ and wait, for a release.

 

The Lovely Disciplines Friday Poem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lovely Disciplines is available from the Seren website: £9.99

Join our free Book Club for 20% off every book you buy from us

 

Friday Poem – ‘The 2nd Razumovsky Quartet and the Reductionists’, Vuyelwa Carlin

Friday Poem Vuyelwa Carlin

Our Friday Poem this week is ‘The 2nd Razumovsky Quartet and the Reductionists’, from Vuyelwa Carlin’s fourth collection, The Solitary.

Vuyelwa Carlin The SolitaryKnown for her distinctive style that owes something to Emily Dickinson’s brevity, Carlin is a surprising and unusual voice in modern poetry. This fourth collection features four distinct sections: the first includes a series of poems dedicated to two young grandchildren and to an autistic son. The second concerns itself with music, art, ageing and dementia. The third section has poems that recall the landcscape and people of Africa; there are also vivid pieces about wartime Poland, the Third Reich and the Holocaust. The final, title section, ‘The Solitary’, is a long sonnet sequence inspired by the lives of religious solitaires.

The Solitary is half price (£3.99) on the Seren website until midnight, Sunday 23 July, as part of our summer sale.

 

The 2nd Razumovsky Quartet and the Reductionists

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Solitary is available from the Seren website: RRP £7.99 £3.99 (until midnight, Sunday 23 July)

Join our free Book Club for 20% off every book you buy from us

 

 

Friday Poem – ‘Brown Furniture’, Ellie Evans

Friday Poem Brown Furniture Ellie Evans

This week our Friday Poem is ‘Brown Furniture’ from The Ivy Hides the Fig-ripe Duchess by Ellie Evans.

Ellie Evans The Ivy Hides the Fig-ripe DuchessEllie Evans’ first and only collection, The Ivy Hides the Fig-ripe Duchess, was published in 2011, a year before Evans sadly passed away. In this exhilirating book, the author uses a surrealist palette of imagery and a tightly focused idiom, taking us on strange journeys: to the post-apocalyptic world of the title poem, or into a skewed 18th century Venice in ‘The Zograscope’. There is also a palpable delight in technique: you will find a sonnet, a villanelle, triolets and a concise free verse where she employs rhyme, half-rhyme, and subtle alliteration.
‘Brown Furniture’ doesn’t take us to strange worlds or uncanny places, but the personification of an old oak cupboard evokes the oddity of aging, its painful straining: ‘I dent the carpet … you shove and shove/ and your eyes pop.’ The surface simplicity of the poem veils deep wells of meaning.

 

 

Friday Poem Ellie Evans Brown Furniture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ivy Hides the Fig-ripe Duchess is availabe from the Seren website: £8.99

Join our free Book Club for 20% off every book you buy from us

Friday Poem – ‘To a Comrade in Arms’, Alun Lewis

Alun Lewis To a Comrade in Arms Friday Poem

Our Friday Poem this week is ‘To a Comrade in Arms’, by our featured Legendary Author of the month, Alun Lewis.

Alun Lewis Collected Poems‘To a Comrade in Arms’ was originally published in Lewis’ first collection Raiders’ Dawn, which appeared during his period of service in Burma during World War Two. Raiders’ Dawn featured fourty-seven poems, and effectively answered the critics’ questions about the absence of war poets in that conflict. Alun Lewis is often seen as a poetic mouthpiece for the reality of the Second World War, his poetry faithfully communicating the mundane and sombre details he experienced.
In 2015, to celebrate the centenary of Lewis’ birth, we published Alun Lewis: Collected Poems, which contains this and other poems from Raiders’ Dawn, plus a selection from Ha! Ha! Among the Trumpets (1945), and uncollected poems. A body of work which has endured and which transcends the label ‘war poetry’, Collected Poems is complete in itself, and full of promise of greater things.

 

Friday Poem To a Comrade in Arms Alun Lewis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alun Lewis: Collected Poems is available from the Seren website: £9.99

Join our free Book Club for 20% off every book you buy from us

Friday Poem – ‘Waking in Picardy’, Graham Mort

Friday Poem Graham Mort Waking in Picardy

This week we welcomed the publication of Graham Mort’s masterly tenth collection, Black Shiver Moss, and so today as Friday Poem we feature ‘Waking in Picardy’, the opening poem from this brand new collection.

New places are made familiar by the vivid descriptions and evocations in Black Shiver Moss. In ‘Waking in Picardy’ we see the intimacies of nature: ‘damselflies glisten, sex to sex/ promiscuously winged.’ Elsewhere in this startling collection, Mort moves us beyond the visible, towards spiritual and philosophical concerns. What really impresses is how Mort manages to create and sustain a darkly magnificent tone, reminiscent of Beethoven’s late quartets, of Shakespeare’s tragedies, of classical landscape painting, a tone suffused with seriousness and mortality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Shiver Moss is available from the Seren website: £9.99

Join our free Book Club for 20% off every book you buy from us

Friday Poem – ‘Kinetic Melodies’, Nerys Williams

Kinetic Melodies Nerys Williams Friday Poem

This week our Friday Poem is Nerys Williams’ ‘Kinetic Melodies’, from her award-winning debut collection, Sound Archive.

Nerys Williams Sound ArchiveWinner of the DLR Strong Award and shortlisted for both the Forward Prize and the Michael Murphey Prize, Nerys Williams’ Sound Archive is a strikingly original and critically acclaimed first collection of poems. Using formal strategies similar to modernist painting: abstraction, dislocation, surrealist juxtaposition, Williams conjures a complex music, intriguing narratives, and poems full of atmosphere that query identity, gender, and the dream of art as a vehicle for emotion and meaning.
Look out for Nerys Williams’ new collection, Cabaret, out soon from New Dublin Press.

 

 

Kinetic Melodies

It is easy to speak of language as ownership,
your purring phonemes are not my right
nor any dialogic imagination.

It is like the time I mixed metaphors
and found myself nude, addressing a crowd
with no immediate

parallel or paradox to flail at.
An empty lectern, a thousand eyes.

Small inconsistencies alert us:
a time to find a colour of saying,
how dialect forms the melody of tall tales.

After storm fields have disappeared
sulphur fills the air where the tree stands.

Here it says I am branch
root and hollow, rub my charcal into clean hands,
serenade me with your speech,
curse the carrion crow below.

 

Sound Archive is available from the Seren website: £8.99

Join our free Book Club for 20% off every book you buy from us

 

Friday Poem – ‘Blackbird’, Pascale Petit

Friday Poem Pascale Petit Blackbird

Our Friday Poem this week is ‘Blackbird’ by Pascale Petit, from her collection Fauverie.

Pascale Petit, FauverieWeaving together hardship and beauty, ‘Blackbird’ invokes the image of a bird’s feathers as an abstract comfort in the face of confinement: ‘each number / became a blackbird’s feather.’
This volume has childhood trauma and a dying father at its heart, and the poems skillfully transform painful experiences into expressions of grief. Fauverie redeems the darker forces of human nature while celebrating the ferocity and grace of endangered species: at its heart is the title’s name-sake: the big-cat house in the Jardin des Plantes zoo. Paris, too, takes centre stage – a city savage as the Amazon, haunted by Aramis the black jaguar and a menagerie of wild animals.

 

 

Blackbird

When they locked me
in the cellar

and told me to count
slowly to a hundred,

each number
became a blackbird’s feather

and all the darkness
sang

through the keyhole
of my yellow beak.

 

 

Fauverie is available from the Seren website: £9.99

Join our free Book Club for 20% off every book you buy from us

 

 

 

Save