Friday Poem – ‘Spring’ by Paul Deaton

This week’s Friday Poem is ‘Spring’ by Paul Deaton. Paul’s debut collection A Watchful Astronomy (Seren, 2017) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.

A Watchful Astronomy is a thoughtful poetry collection by a well-regarded author who has published his work in national magazines like The SpectatorLondon Magazine and the PN Review. It has a distinctive flavour. The author is a realist and a formalist, preferring simple, accurate language and use of formal meter. This makes for unusually clear and accessible work. A powerful underlying current of emotion also drives these poems and is contained and restrained by the more austere formal qualities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 A Watchful Astronomy is available on the Seren website: £9.99

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Watch Paul reading his poem ‘That Bang’ from A Watchful Astronomy.

Friday Poem – ‘A Watchful Astronomy’ by Paul Deaton

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landings, this week’s Friday Poem is ‘A Watchful Astronomy’ by Paul Deaton from his collection of the same name, which was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.

A Watchful Astronomy by Paul Deaton is a thoughtful poetry collection by a well-regarded author who has published his work in national magazines like The Spectator, London Magazine and the PN Review. It has a distinctive flavour. The author is a realist and a formalist, preferring simple, accurate language and use of formal meter. This makes for unusually clear and accessible work. A powerful underlying current of emotion also drives these poems and is contained and restrained by the more austere formal qualities.

 

 

 

 

 A Watchful Astronomy is available on the Seren website: £9.99

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

 

Friday Poem – ‘Spring Tide’, Paul Deaton

The clocks jump forward this weekend, signalling the start of British Summer Time – but before that, we have Paul Deaton’s ‘Spring Tide’ as our Friday Poem this week.

Paul Deaton A Watchful AstronomyPaul Deaton’s debut, A Watchful Astronomy, is a book of beautifully clear and powerful poems. A PBS Recommendation, the collection is haunted by the ghost of the author’s father, a figure that appears throughout the collection as an overbearing, even threatening presence, embodied in glowering mountain ranges, in icy blasts of weather, in bits of bleak, monosyllabic dialogue. Cutting through this harsh imagery are poems of reflection and contemplation that celebrate the weather and the seasons. ‘Spring Tide’ is one such poem.

 

Friday Poem Spring Tide Paul Deaton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Watchful Astronomy is available from the Seren website: £9.99

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

 

 

Friday Poem – ‘December’, Paul Deaton

Friday Poem December Paul Deaton

Our Friday Poem this week, as we enter the final month of 2018, is ‘December’ by Paul Deaton.

Paul Deaton A Watchful Astronomy‘December’ is taken from Paul Deaton’s Poetry Book Society-recommended debut, A Watchful Astronomy. Deaton is a realist and a formalist, preferring simple, accurate language and use of formal meter. This makes for unusually clear and accessible work. A powerful underlying current of emotion also drives these poems and is contained and restrained by the more austere formal qualities.

‘Each poem in this collection is like a little torchlight … I felt like it totally wrapped me up as a reader, and I really couldn’t put it down.’ – Jen Campbell

 

 

Friday Poem December Paul Deaton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Watchful Astronomy is available from the Seren website: £9.99

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

 

 

 

Paul Deaton on Therapy, Honesty, and Exiting the ‘Poetry Closet’

Paul Deaton therapy poetry

This article was originally published in Therapy Today (April 2018) and we thank the editors for granting permission for its reproduction here.

‘Without her mirroring, maybe I’d have stayed in my poetry closet. Her affirmation was the turning point in my adult life. I felt I’d finally been given permission to have a voice’

Ten years ago, when I was 40, I saw an advert for a poetry course at Bristol University. It was an adult learning programme, which, sadly, is no longer offered. I had to submit six poems before being accepted. I’ve always written, and always used poetry as my mirror, to know and explore who I am. But I’ve always done so as a guilty pleasure, a closet hobby.
The course was run by a grounded, passionate and sometimes fearsome poet. It was challenging in the way that therapy is challenging; getting the poems to a level of truth and meaning, of genuine authenticity, isn’t easy. People often get the wrong idea of poetry; they think of it as something flaky. I was struck by how powerfully my teacher responded to my work. She was serious about it. She said it had value, more than I had chosen to give it. Tellingly, what she conveyed was that she believed in it.
Looking back, this was a huge moment. She opened a door that had been firmly shut. Without her mirroring, maybe I’d have stayed in my poetry closet. Her affirmation was the turning point in my adult life. I felt I’d finally been given permission to have a voice.
Up to that point I’d been working in publishing sales. I’d graduated in psychology as a mature student when I was 33. In my final year, I fell ill with Hodgkin’s disease. Even though I eventually came out with a top degree, when I graduated, rather than being full of confidence, I was broken. I had lost hope in my own future. I also felt I’d failed. The sales job was some bizarre gesture to my father; I was still trying to get his love, to prove to him I could be a man in a man’s world. It wasn’t me at all.
My relationship with him had been tense, difficult and baleful. I didn’t trust him, and that lack of trust fed into me. I wouldn’t trust myself or my own instincts. That poetry course opened the door to a side of my personality I had done my damnedest to shut away. Once open, there was no going back to the repressed darkness. I’d found a little light and began a process of reliving that opened out my 40s. I could no longer afford to not be myself. There wasn’t time.
I started to trust in my more nuanced skills – thoughtfulness and reflectiveness; to trust that I could be and offer something else. I entered therapy and was ‘blessed’ by a male therapist, week in and week out. It was a revelatory experience to trust a man. Like a new tide, I returned to my love of psychology, and finally had the confidence to start my counselling training. And, amid the study, my new job with the NHS, gardening work and marathon running, I followed on with a commitment to my poetry. I sent my poems into the world, and to my surprise, they were published.

Paul Deaton poetAbout Paul
Paul Deaton is a poet, writer and counsellor-in- training at BCPC Bath. Seren has just published his first full-length poetry collection, A Watchful Astronomy.

 

 

Paul Deaton A Watchful Astronomy

About A Watchful Astronomy:
A Watchful Astronomy is such an unclouded, moving and accessible collection it should be prescribed by the NHS for those who say they cannot stomach poetry because it’s too difficult or irrelevant.’
– Poetry School
Haunted by a father ‘like a wounded bear’, the poems in Paul Deaton’s debut collection, A Watchful Astronomy, are tense, exact and often beautifully formal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Poem – ‘Lear Father’, Paul Deaton

Our Friday Poem this week is ‘Lear Father’ from Paul Deaton’s recently published debut, A Watchful Astronomy.

Paul Deaton A Watchful AstronomyWelsh-raised and Bristol-based, Paul Deaton has produced a debut collection full of poems that are quietly precise, yet full of powerful emotion.
Deaton’s poems are finely attuned and alert to the tensions in relationships, partly attributable to a difficult father figure, ‘like a wounded bear’, who haunts much of this book – including our featured poem today, ‘Lear Father’. Nature is also a guiding presence in this collection, and is often embodied by a wintery landscape.
A Watchful Astronomy is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Winter 2017.

 

Friday Poem Lear Father Paul Deaton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Watchful Astronomy is available from the Seren website: £9.99

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