Friday Poem – ‘43. When I open my ribs’ by Kim Moore

To celebrate her collection All The Men I Never Married being shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection, this week’s Friday Poem is ‘43. When I open my ribs’ by Kim Moore.

This cover shows a collage image of the figure of a man made up of tiny pictures of nature. He is against a black background surrounded by butterflies. The text reads: All The Men I Never Married Kim Moore

Kim Moore’s eagerly awaited second collection All The Men I Never Married is pointedly feminist, challenging and keenly aware of the contradictions and complexities of desire. The 48 numbered poems take us through a gallery of exes and significant others where we encounter rage, pain, guilt, and love.

“All the Men I Never Married is a work of immense focus, intelligence and integrity.” – The Yorkshire Times

43.
When I open my ribs a dragon flies out
and when I open my mouth a sheep trots out
and when I open my eyes silverfish crawl out
and make for a place that’s not mine.
When I open my fists two skylarks soar out
and when I open my legs a horse gallops out
and when I open my heart a wolf slips out
and watches from beneath the trees.
When I open my arms a hare jumps out
and when I show you my wrists a shadow cries out
and when I fall to my knees
a tiger stalks out and will not answer to me.
Now that the beasts that lived in my chest
have turned tail and fled, now that I’m open
and the sky has come in and left me
with nothing but space, now that I’m ready
to lie like a cross and wait for the ghost
of him to float clear away, will my wild things
come back, will the horse of my legs
and the dragon of my ribs, and the gentle sheep
which lived in my throat and the silverfish
of my eyes and the skylarks of my hands
and the wolf of my heart, will they all come back
and live here again, now that he’s left,
now I’ve said the word whisper it rape,
now I’ve said the word whisper it shame,
will my true ones, my wild, my truth,
will my wild come back to me again?

All The Men I Never Married is available on the Seren website: £9.99

Create your free Seren account and enjoy 20% off every book you buy direct from us.

Catch Kim at the Seren Cardiff Poetry Festival on the 30th July! She’ll be taking part in a session on Poetry & Empowerment and discussing The Result is What You See Today, an anthology about running which she co-edited with Paul Deaton and Ben Wilkinson. See the full programme and buy tickets at cardiffpoetryfestival.com. All our in person events are also being streamed online.

Friday Poem – ‘21. When he tells me I’m not allowed’ by Kim Moore

This week’s Friday Poem is ‘21. When he tells me I’m not allowed’ by Kim Moore from All The Men I Never Married.

The cover of All The Men I Never Married shows a collage of a man made up of small images of nature - butterflies, flowers, leaves

Kim Moore’s eagerly awaited second collection All The Men I Never Married is pointedly feminist, challenging and keenly aware of the contradictions and complexities of desire. The 48 numbered poems take us through a gallery of exes and significant others where we encounter rage, pain, guilt, and love.

21.
When he tells me I’m not allowed to play with cars
because I’m a girl, I bring his arm up to my mouth
and bite. I’m sent to the Wendy House to pretend
to be good. Blank-faced dolls stare up at me.
Pretend oven filled with plastic fish-fingers.
Pretend windows with flowery curtains
sewn by someone else’s mother. Pretend hoover,
pretend washing machine. Pretend teapots
and tea-set. I watch through a gap in the wall
as my teacher sits in her chair, crossing her legs
in the way she told us only yesterday
we should copy. Be ladylike she said.
Stop showing your knickers. I’m burning in here
as she calls the class to order, waits for them
to cross their legs and settle. I long to sit
at her feet, listen to all the old stories
of sleeping women who wait to be rescued.
The book is a bird, its wings held tight in her hands.
She bends the cover back so the spine cracks,
balances it on one palm, turns to me and tells me
turn around, at once, face the wall.

All The Men I Never Married is available on the Seren website: £9.99

Create your free Seren account and enjoy 20% off every book you buy direct from us.

Friday Poem – ‘6. That a man approached you in a nightclub’ by Kim Moore

This week’s Friday Poem is ‘6. That a man approached you in a nightclub’ by Kim Moore from her new collection All The Men I Never Married.

This cover shows a collage of small nature images to make up the pink body of a man again a black background.

All The Men I Never Married, Kim Moore’s eagerly awaited second collection, is pointedly feminist, challenging and keenly aware of the contradictions and complexities of desire. The 48 numbered poems take us through a gallery of exes and significant others where we encounter rage, pain, guilt, and love.

6.

That a man approached you in a nightclub.
That you were polite at first, then turned your back.
That he insisted on giving you his number.
That you put it in your pocket.
That you danced with your friend all night.
That he stood and watched.
That you were drinking tequila.
That you licked salt from the back of your hand.
That he was waiting outside.
That he grabbed your arm and spun you round.
That you snapped.
That you’ve always had a temper.
That you were not afraid.
That you swung your fist and clipped his jaw.
That he kicked you between the legs.
That he shouted I will end you.
That you fell to the pavement.
That he tried to kick you again.
That a bouncer came and held him back.
That he shouted I will end you, I will end you, I will end you. 
That the police were called.
That he vanished into the night.
That you were taken to the station.
That he turned up with his lawyer.
That he turned up with his father.
That you still hadn’t sobered up.
That he was smirking.
That it was fresher’s week.
That you were in pain.
That it was hard to explain about his number in your pocket. That now you were afraid.
That you were advised not to press charges.
That you hit him first.
That this all happened many years ago.
That you laugh about it now.
That you say well, I shouldn’t have hit him.
That I both agree and disagree with this statement.
That being our bodies in public is a dangerous thing.
That being in public is a dangerous thing.
That our bodies are dangerous things.

All The Men I Never Married is available on the Seren website: £9.99

Join us for the hybrid launch of All The Men I Never Married on Friday 15th October. The in person event at Castle Green Hotel in Kendal will be streamed live online. Register through Eventbrite here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/172062632967. Registration for in person tickets closes at 4pm today (8 Oct).

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Kim Moore Shares her Poetry Advice

This week’s poetry advice blog comes from Kim Moore. Her first collection The Art of Falling won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize in 2016 and was shortlisted for Lakeland Book of the Year.

The Art of Falling Kim MooreIn The Art of Falling, Kim Moore sets out her stall in the opening poems, firmly in the North amongst ‘My People’: “who swear without knowing they are swearing… scaffolders and plasterers and shoemakers and carers…”. The title poem riffs on the many sorts of falling “so close to failing or to falter or to fill”. The poet’s voice is direct, rhythmic, compelling. These are poems that confront the reader, steeped in realism, they are not designed to soothe or beguile. They are not designed with careful overlays of irony and although frequently clever, they are not pretentious but vigorously alive and often quite funny.

 

What first drew you to poetry?

I think like a lot of people, I came to poetry through reading it.  As a child, I had poetry anthologies which I read in the same way I read novels or stories. I have definite memories of reading Tennyson and not understanding it but enjoying the sound of the words – nobody ever told me I should understand it, or that poetry was ‘difficult’ so I think I approached it with quite an open mind, even as a child.

Where do you look to for inspiration?

I don’t like the word inspiration, but if I don’t have anything to write about, or I don’t feel like writing, I always read, and it often kick starts the desire to write again.

What does poetry mean to you?

This is a hard question! I’ve just had a baby, so my relationship with poetry has changed a little, in that it has been squashed into the edges of my life at the moment.  But I guess poetry is my way of making sense of the world, of finding out what I really think, a way of making connections and these are all things I couldn’t live without doing. Poetry to me is those solitary moments of writing, when there is nobody to see or care whether it is any good or not, but it is also those solitary moments of reading, when you read a poem and put the book down because the poem is so good, because it has articulated something you didn’t know you felt.

How do you balance writing poetry with working? If you write full time, what made you decide to do so?

I’m currently on maternity leave from a full time creative-writing PhD, so prior to my maternity leave I had the luxury of writing full time. Now the baby is here, I have two hour slots to write whilst my husband takes care of the baby. It has to be two hours roughly because I’m breastfeeding and she is very hungry all the time!

Do you have a writing routine? What is it?

I’ve never had a routine.  Before I started my PhD, I worked as a trumpet teacher and writing always fitted around the edges of my job.  Now I work as a freelance writer and do a lot of travelling, so I write quite a lot on the train. I’ve learnt to trust that the poem will emerge when it is ready. My days are never the same, so it’s impossible to have a routine.

How do you prepare yourself before sitting down to write?

I don’t really prepare myself. When I’m writing a first draft or an idea in a notebook, I do this anywhere – trains, cafes, in the car.  Typing it up from the notebook to the laptop I like to be at home, in my office with the door shut.

What advice would you give to poets looking to get their work published?

Read, read and read! Read the magazines that you want to be published in (how will they survive without readers?) Read the books that are published by the presses you want to be published by.

Is it important to build a reputation by submitting to competitions, magazines and journals?

I think most publishers want a track record of publications in these places so I guess it’s important in that sense, if you want to go on and publish a full length collection. I personally think competitions are a bit like a lottery ticket with slightly better odds, and it’s great if you win some money, but I prefer publishing poems in magazines.  I think magazine/journal publication feels more like being part of a conversation.

 Do you have any tips for submitting poems to publishers or magazines?

Create a system – i.e a spreadsheet to keep track and to give you something to do when the poems come back rejected! Instead of feeling depressed about the rejection, you can fill your spreadsheet in and send them out again.   

What methods do you use to overcome feeling disheartened or to keep positive?

I use a spreadsheet to keep track of my submissions which cheers me up as I have a complicated system of colours which takes my mind off rejections. But my main method of keeping positive is reading other great poets, which reminds me of why I like poetry in the first place, which actually has nothing to do with being published or not. 

Do you have any other advice for fellow poets?

Read and if you find some poetry you like, and the poet is still alive, write and tell them! It doesn’t cost anything apart from your time and you’ll make someone’s day.

 

Kim’s collection The Art of Falling is available on the Seren website: £9.99

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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

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

 

 

 

Friday Poem – ‘Followed’, Kim Moore

Friday Poem by Kim Moore - Followed

We are still taking in the news that Kim Moore has won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for The Art of Falling – so we couldn’t help but feature one of Kim’s poems on the blog today. ‘Followed’ is one of the deeply personal central poems which explore an experience of domestic violence.

The Art of Falling Kim MooreKim Moore, in the opening poems of her lively debut poetry collection, sets herself firmly in the North amongst ‘My People’: ‘who swear without knowing they are swearing… scaffolders and plasterers and shoemakers and carers’. The poet’s voice is direct, rhythmic, compelling. The lives of others also feature throughout, and revolve around a quietly devastating central sequence, ‘How I abandoned My Body To His Keeping’: the story of a woman embroiled in a relationship marked by coercion and violence. ‘Followed’ is taken from this darkly personal sequence, and shows a snapshot, a glimpse, of a figure – ‘everything black/ about him’ – who weighs heavy on the speaker, drawing her into shadowy places.
The judges for the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, poets Gillian Clarke and Katharine Towers, and the New Statesman’s Tom Gatti, said that Moore’s poems “accrue force and vigour as they speak to each other across the pages, delivering a thrilling encounter with language at its most irresistible and essential”.

 

 

Kim Moore 'Followed' The Art of Falling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

National Poetry Day 2017: Recommended Reads

Recommended Reads National Poetry Day

This year National Poetry Day is taking place this Thursday, 28 September, and the theme is “Freedom”.

National Poetry Day is all about enjoying, discovering and sharing poems. With the support of publishers, the Forward Arts Foundation have curated four strong and varied lists of recommended poetry reading, comprising 40 books: anthologies, poetry for children, books for reading groups and current collections.

Seren are proud to announce that not one but two of our authors feature amongst this list of 40: Caroline Smith and Kim Moore. Find out more about their books, and how they tie into this year’s theme, below.

The Immigration Handbook Caroline SmithCaroline Smith’s The Immigration Handbook transforms stories heard every day by the author in her work as an Immigration Officer. Within this collection are heartbreaking scenes of anguish and frustration, contrasts between first and third worlds that prick the conscience, and also occasional moments of humour, of joy: the e-mail address changed to reflect a success, the comical mis-spellings of those learning English, the friendships that arise due to shared difficulties. Above all, The Immigration Handbook offers empathy and hope, with refugees and immigrants who step vividly off the page, emploring the reader to listen to their stories.

The Art of Falling Kim MooreThe quietly devastating central sequence in Kim Moore’s The Art of Falling, entitled ‘How I Abandoned My Body To His Keeping’, is the story of a woman embroiled in a relationship marked by coercion and violence. These are close-to-the-bone pieces, harrowing and exact, where in place of love there is posession, and the memory of violence is a haunting presence: ‘when I’m afraid,/ it’s only then I think of him, or remember his name.’ The poetry itself, though, is a means of catharsis, and throughout the collection pulls us like a current towards lighter, brighter things: an imagining of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s childhood mischief; a tattoo inspired by Virginia Woolf; beautifully imagined character portraits of John Lennon, Wallace Hartley and Chet Baker.

Find both amazing books in a bookshop near you!

 

Take a look at the Library of Freedom Poems on the National Poetry Day website, where you’ll find a great selection of themed poems to read.

Join in on National Poetry Day: find out what’s happening near you on the events map. You can also join in the conversation by using the hashtag #NationalPoetryDay on Twitter.

 

 

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Three Poems for World Poetry Day

In celebration of World Poetry Day, we are featuring three poems by Seren poets, which you can read below.

Coinciding with the start of Spring, World Poetry Day is the perfect opportunity for us to brighten up your week with some of our favourite poems. It has been dreadfully difficult to narrow it down, but we hope you enjoy our selections: poems from Kim Moore, Paul Henry, and Rhian Edwards.

 

 

The Art of Falling Kim MooreKim Moore: ‘And the Soul’
Taken from Kim Moore’s outstanding debut, The Art of Falling – which was shortlisted for the Cumbria/Lakeland Book of the Year – ‘And the Soul’ considers the animalistic nature of the soul, be it domestic (‘And if it be a cat, find some people/ to ignore’) or primal.

 

And the Soul
And the soul, if she is to know
herself, must look into the soul…
– Plato

And the soul, if she is to know herself
must look into the soul and find
what kind of beast is hiding.

And if it be a horse, open up the gate
and let it run. And if it be a rabbit
give it sand dunes to disappear in.

And if it be a swan, create a mirror image,
give it water. And if it be a badger
grow a sloping woodland in your heart.

And if it be a tick, let the blood flow
until it’s sated. And if it be a fish
there must be a river and a mountain.

And if it be a cat, find some people
to ignore, but if it be a wolf,
you’ll know from its restless way

of moving, if it be a wolf,
throw back your head
and let it howl.

 

 

Boy Running, Paul Henry

Paul Henry: ‘Moving In’
This poem is taken from Boy Running, Paul Henry’s latest collection, which reached the shortlist for the Wales Book of the Year Poetry Award (2016). Paul is currently touring with Stornoway singer-songwriter Brian Briggs as they perform their collaborative work, The Glass Aisle – a haunting piece which crosses the borders between poem and song lyric. Find the full list of events here.

 

Moving In
I cannot see the flowers at my feet…
Keats – ‘Ode to a Nightingale.’

They look and wonder what they’re doing here,
those who’ve moved with me across the years –
Dylan Thomas, Picasso, Nightingale Ann,
Goble, David Trevorrow, young Fanny Brawne…
all strewn about this flat where I hide.
(Did I dream, last night, of a tide
laying its artefacts on sand?) They stare
but do not judge, or change, or care.

Dylan’s just opened Manhattan’s cigar box.
‘Try one,’ he says, ‘before you die. Fuck books.’
Pablo’s still pushing against his pane.
He listens for a nightingale in vain.
Goble tilts back in his top hat.
He and Trevorrow could not have shared a flat
but I loved them both, and Fanny Brawne.
There are crows on my roof. The light has gone.

 

 

Rhian Edwards: ‘The Universal Doodle’
Taken from Rhian Edwards’ new poetry pamphlet, Brood, ‘The Universal Doodle’ carries on the pamphlet’s ever-present theme of birds by musing on the appearance of a murmuration cloud of starlings. Keep an eye on our website, as numerous launch events are on the horizon – and we would love for you to celebrate with us.

 

The Universal Doodle

A scattering corralled, lassoed
into the universal doodle of birds.
A mutable speech bubble

of pondering ‘m’s. This is the bombast
of starlings as they corkscrew the sky.
Each twist and fold is summarised

to a simile like iron filings,
flocked and flung across the sky
by the metaphorical whims of a magnet.

Can you hear the pathetic fallacy?
The siren song of a metal’s hum
crooning behind clouds, a bit like a God.

 

 

We hope you enjoyed our World Poetry Day selection. If it has inspired you to expand your poetry collection, then you can find our full list of Seren poetry books here.

 

Friday Poem – A Psalm for the Scaffolders

A Psalm for the Scaffolders Kim Moore The Art of Falling

This week’s Friday Poem – published on Father’s Day weekend – is from Kim Moore’s lively debut poetry collection, The Art of Falling.

Kim sets out her stall firmly in the North amongst ‘My People’: “who swear without knowing they are swearing… scaffolders and plasterers and shoemakers and carers…”. ‘A Psalm for the Scaffolders’ is a hymn for her father’s profession.

 

A Psalm for the Scaffolders
who balanced like tightrope walkers,
who could run up the bracing
faster than you or I could climb
a ladder, who wore red shorts
and worked bare-chested,
who cut their safety vests in half,
a psalm for the scaffolders
and their vans, their steel
toe-capped boots, their coffee mugs,
a psalm for those who learnt
to put up a scaffold standing
on just one board, a psalm
for the scaffolder who could put
a six-inch nail in a piece of wood
with just his palm, a psalm
for those who don’t like rules
or things taking too long, who now
mustn’t go to work uncovered,
who mustn’t cut their safety vests
or climb without ladders, who must
use three boards at all times,
a psalm for the scaffolders
who fall with a harness on,
who have ten minutes to be rescued,
a psalm for the scaffolder who fell
in a clear area, a tube giving way,
that long slow fall, a psalm for him,
who fell thirty feet and survived,
a psalm for the scaffolder
who saw him fall, a psalm for those
at the top of buildings, the wind whistling
in their ears, the sky in their voices,
for those who lift and carry
and shout and swear, for those
who can recite the lengths of boards
and tubes like a song, a psalm for them,
the ones who don’t like heights
but spent their whole life hiding it,
a psalm for those who work too long,
a psalm for my father, a psalm for him.

 

Buy your copy of The Art of Falling from our website. Sign up to be a Seren Book Club member to claim 20% off.

 

St Ives Residential Course 2017

Kim Moore David Tait poetry course 2017

Kim Moore: St Ives Residential Poetry Course 2017

“After a sell-out course in 2016 in St Ives, I’m really pleased to announce that I’ll be co-tutoring another residential poetry course at Treloyhan Manor Hotel in St Ives, from the 20th-26th February 2017.  I’m very excited to announce that my co-tutor this year will be the fabulous poet David Tait.…”

Find out more about the St Ives poetry course on Kim Moore’s blog.

 

Source: St Ives Residential Course 2017