Friday Poem – ‘Swan’, Ross Cogan

Friday Poem Ross Cogan Swan

Our Friday Poem this week is ‘Swan’, from Ross Cogan’s new collection, Bragr.

Ross Cogan BragrWhether it’s myth intended to explain the constellations, the secret of eternal life, or the bloodthirsty tale of the mead of poetry, Ross Cogan’s collection Bragr (meaning ‘poetry’ in Old Norse) is a reimagining of Norse mythology for our times. The collection also focuses on environmental concerns: the earth’s incredible beauty seems all the more fragile in the face of habitat loss and global warming.
In ‘Swan’ the poet recalls an archaeological dig and the discovery of a child’s grave. The centuries-old tomb contains something extraordinary: ‘a single swan’s wing’.

 

Swan Ross Cogan Bragr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bragr is available from the Seren website: £9.99

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Friday Poem – ‘Dear Anne Monroe, Healthcare Assistant’, Bryony Littlefair

Friday Poem Bryony Littlefair Dear Anne Monroe NHS

July 2018 marks 70 years of the National Health Service Act and the NHS. In celebration, acclaimed poet Owen Sheers has produced a new ‘film-poem’ showing twenty-four hours in the NHS, ‘To Provide All People’ – now available to watch on BBC iPlayer. This week’s Friday Poem by Bryony Littlefair, ‘Dear Anne Monroe, Healthcare Assistant’, also gives us a glimpse inside our healthcare system.

Giraffe Bryony LittlefairAn apology opens this powerful poem, in which a healthcare assistant faces up to a patient’s pre-op fear and resistance: ‘I’m sorry that my sister will not let you take her blood/ for the operation that will save her life.’ Everyday struggles are presented in a stark light: the ‘gulped-down cheese and lettuce/ sandwich’, the intrusive questioning of ‘where it is you’re from originally’.
The politics in Littlefair’s poems are mostly implicit in the stories told, only occasionally bursting through like an urgent message. Giraffe, her Mslexia Prize-winning pamphlet, expertly merges the poet’s wit and wonderful humanity with novelistic qualities and a feminist kick: this is a beguiling, beautiful and entertaining debut.

Bryony Littlefair Dear Anne Monroe NHS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giraffe is available from the Seren website: £5.00

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Friday Poem – ‘Teaching the Trumpet’, Kim Moore

Friday poem Kim Moore

In advance of Kim Moore’s appearance on BBC Radio 3’s Private Passions this Sunday, our Friday Poem is ‘Teaching the Trumpet’, from Kim’s debut collection, The Art of Falling. 

The Art of Falling Kim MooreThe Art of Falling is Kim Moore’s first poetry collection and has already made big waves, with judges of the Geoffrey Faber memorial prize crowning it winner, and praising it as ‘thrilling language at its most irresistible and essential.’ ‘Teaching the Trumpet’ is one of many poems in this collection that confront the reader with startling realism. Alongside, we are offered portraits of John Lennon, Hartley Street, and a Tuesday at Wetherspoons, and the devastating central sequence, ‘How I Abandoned My Body To His Keeping’, which recounts an abusive relationship.
If you would like to hear about some of the inspiration behind ‘Teaching the Trumpet’, listen in to BBC radio 3’s Private Passions at 12pm on Sunday (or listen online, whenever you want) where Kim will be discussing her love of brass instruments.

 

Kim Moore Teaching the Trumpet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Art of Falling is available on the Seren website: £9.99

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Friday Poem – ‘The Pub at the End of the World’, Tamar Yoseloff

Friday Poem Pub Tamar Yoseloff

Our Friday Poem this week is ‘The Pub at the End of the World’ by Tamar Yoseloff from her recent New & Selected collection,A Formula for Night.

Tamar Yoseloff A Formula for NightA Formula for Night: New and Selected Poems encompasses selections from four published volumes: Sweetheart, Barnard’s Star, Fetch and The City with Horns, and poems from Yoseloff’s collaborations with artists: Formerly, Marks and Desire Paths. Her new poems are often artful explorations of paradox: death/birth, dark/light, clarity/mystery.
‘The Pub at the End of the World’ is an almost post-apocalyptic vision of a back-end bar with walls ‘darkened/ by nicotine’ and ‘pockmarked by countless failed bullseyes’. You may well know somewhere like it – somewhere you also feel ‘strangely at home’.

 

The Pub at the End of the World Judy Brown Friday Poem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tamar Yoseloff: A Formula for Night is available on the Seren website: £12.99

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Friday Poem- ‘The Madonna of Oxfam’, Judy Brown

Judy Brown Friday Poem Madonna of Oxfam

Our Friday Poem this week is ‘The Madonna of Oxfam’ by Judy Brown, from her latest collection,Crowd Sensations.

The Madonna of Oxfam Crowd Sensations Judy Brown‘The Madonna of Oxfam’ performs a surprisingly elaborate and intimate study of the act of charity shop browsing, as the poet’s thoughts turn to strangers’ lives and memories.
Like many of Judy Brown’s poems, the title and first lines draw you right in, and then surprise you with a narrative you hadn’t quite expected.
Judy has lived in London and Hong Kong and, having experienced both life in the city and countryside, she is able to portray an original and uncharacteristically unnerving portrayal of both landscapes. Crowd Sensations, much like its author, is an exploration of dazzling contrasts, of thoughtful paradox, intimate confidences and precise evocations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crowd Sensations is available on the Seren website: £9.99

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Friday Poem – ‘Young Summer’, Leslie Norris

Friday Poem Leslie Norris Young Summer

Our Friday Poem this week is ‘Young Summer’ by the prize-winning poet, Leslie Norris.

Leslie Norris Complete Poems‘Young Summer’ is one of the many vivid and captivating poems to be brought together in the landmark Leslie Norris: The Complete Poems, and offers a vision of the poet poised between youth and manhood: ‘Forward is the only way to go’, he reluctantly admits.
The Complete Poems contains 300 of Norris’ poems in total, some previously unpublished, and reflects the sixty plus year publishing life of the late Leslie Norris, who died in 2007, aged 86. Norris was best known as a nature poet and elegist of passion and rare expression. Lyrical and individual, to his closely observed poems, each word weighted and in its correct place, Norris introduces a strong metaphysical element which makes the poems, as Edward Lucie-Smith noted, “much larger than the sum of their parts”.

 

Leslie Norris Friday Poem Young Summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leslie Norris: The Complete Poems is available on the Seren website: £25.00

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Friday Poem – ‘How to make a good crisp sandwich’, Katherine Stansfield

Friday Poem How to make a good crisp sandwich

Did you know it’s British Sandwich Week, 20-26 May? Yes – there really is a day (or week) for everything. And in celebration, our Friday Poem is Katherine Stansfield’s ‘How to make a good crisp sandwich’.

playing house katherine stansfieldThis is a poem that really does what it says on the tin: ‘crisps don’t work alone’, the poet warns, then proceeds to carefully list the potential permutations of this most British of sandwiches. ‘Who does this sandwich want to be?’ You may not have asked yourself this question before – so grab the bread, open a pack of crisps, and ponder.
Katherine Stansfield’s poetic debut, Playing House is marked by a concise wit, a distinct voice and an unsettling view of the domestic.
‘Striking imagery, strange leaps of thought, wit and menace aside, the unmistakeable thrill of Katherine Stansfield’s poetry is in the voice. It addresses the world directly, takes it personally, and comes at the reader from constantly unexpected angles, a tangible, physical thing.’ Philip Gross

 

Friday Poem Katherine Stansfield How to make a good crisp sandwich

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playing House is available from the Seren website: £9.99

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Friday Poem – ‘Hues’, Elizabeth Parker

Friday Poem Hues Elizabeth Parker

Our Friday poem this week is ‘Hues’ by Elizabeth Parker, from her recently released debut collection, In Her Shambles.

‘Hues’ is a shimmering, lyrical account of a river journey that highlights Parker’s artful skill with language and surrealist imagery.
In Her Shambles is a ‘radiantly-written’ collection from a ‘rising star of British poetry’ (David Morley), filled with poems that are emotionally rich, vibrant and original. From the alternative reimagining of Lavinia from ‘Titus Andronicus’ through to the collection’s opening, ‘Crockery’, where a potential lover is fragmented into reflections, In Her Shambles offers a fascinating, observational account of things seen aslant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Her Shambles is available from the Seren website: £9.99

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Friday Poem – ‘Penguin Love’, Nerys Williams

On Wednesday the world celebrated its cutest holiday, World Penguin Day, so in continued praise of these adorable birds our Friday Poem this week is ‘Penguin Love’ by Nerys Williams.

Nerys Williams Sound ArchiveTaken from Nerys’ 2011 collection Sound Archive, ‘Penguin Love’ is a vibrant and evocative portrait of black, white and yellow – of curiously wistful creatives who stand ‘angled at constellations’ and ache for the gift of a perfect smooth stone – the symbol of budding penguin romance.
Sound Archive was shortlisted for both the Forward Best First Collection Prize and the Michael Murphy Prize, and won the Poetry Now / Mountains to Sea DLR Strong Award. This is a strikingly original debut in which the poet 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.

 

 

World Penguin Day poem Penguin Love Nerys Williams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sound Archive is available from the Seren website: £8.99

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Friday Poem — ‘Laika’, Claire Williamson

Tomorrow marks sixty years since the conclusion of the Sputnik 2 spacecraft mission that carried Laika, the first dog and living creature to orbit Earth, into space. In commemoration of the historic dog, who tragically did not survive the mission, our Friday poem this week is ‘Laika’ by Claire Williamson. 

Minotaur cover.pngThe tender, unexpectedly hopeful poem comes from Williamson’s upcoming collection Visiting the Minotaur, which will be published on April 30th but is available for pre-order on the Seren website. In the inventive and intensely felt collection, the poet must enter a labyrinth of her own complicated family history, a history beset with secrets and lies, in order to come to terms with her own identity.  Williamson borrows from myths, histories, careful observations of nature, of city life, in order to fashion her artful meditations on experience and mortality.

As Michel Faber writes of the work, ‘Claire Williamson’s poems are beguiling hybrids – self-assured yet emotionally raw, mysterious yet not precious, meditations of wonder and exorcisms of grief.’

LaikaPoem

Visiting the Minotaur is available for pre-order on the Seren website: £9.99

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