Friday Poem – ‘The Park in the Afternoon’ by Dai George

This week’s Friday Poem is ‘The Park in the Afternoon’ by Dai George from his collection Karaoke King.

The cover of Karaoke King shows a drawing of a teenage boy wearing a red and brown stripped vest and white shirt. His glasses are crooked and he is wearing a crumpled yellow crown.

Dai George’s confident second collection Karaoke King, addresses the contentious nature of the times. Always deeply thoughtful but also alternately ebullient, angry, curious, ashamed, the poet moves through urban and digital spaces feeling both uneasy and exhilarated. There is a feeling of history shifting, as a younger generation confronts its ethical obligations, its sense of complicity and disappointment. Ecological crisis hovers in the background. Karaoke King also contains numerous reflections on popular culture, culminating in ‘A History of Jamaican Music’, a sequence at the heart of the volume speaking to urgent contemporary questions of ownership and privilege, pain and celebration. 

The Park in the Afternoon
By the goats, a high-vis warden
tweezers litter with glacial care.
Men bear tins of Scrumpy Jack aloft
to salute Ol’ Blue Eyes as he spreads
the news from a battered tape machine.
Their conductor lies down in the grass
crafting languorous signals from a spliff.
On the lunchtime news, a minister
reviled my productivity:
sleepwalking into a crisis
is how he described the nation’s plight
when output fails to tack with growth.
Watching a duckling wobble afloat
as sun glints, useless, on the pond,
I see his point. Diverse and splendid
things have brought us here, we heathens
in the Christendom to come. The drunk,
the retired, the roistering lads
bunking off early with blazer sleeves
riding up their arms – each of us
truant, and gentle for an hour,
our output no more than
what we can make
of the angle of
hurried daylight before
a shower.

Karaoke King 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 Dai George reading from Karaoke King alongside Ilse Pedler, Sarona Abuaker & Jeremy Dixon at Seren Cardiff Poetry Festival on Friday 29th July in Published During the Pandemic. Tickets are on sale here www.cardiffpoetryfestival.com/tickets-22.

Earlier this year, Dai George put together a playlist of songs that tie in with poems from Karaoke King. Take a look here.

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 – ‘Why the Brazilian Butt Lift Won’t Save Us’ by Tishani Doshi

This week’s Friday Poem is ‘Why the Brazilian Butt Lift Won’t Save Us’ by Tishani Doshi from her forthcoming Bloodaxe collection A God at the Door.

Photo taken for Vogue India

Tishani is taking part in an event at the Seren Cardiff Poetry Festival this afternoon from 2pm! There’s still time to register to hear her reading alongside Joe Dunthorne. Register here.

A God at the Door is available to pre-order via Bloodaxe books

Register for Poetry Friends: Tishani Doshi and Joe Dunthorne at the Seren Cardiff Poetry Festival here

Friday Poem – ‘The Calling’ by Daljit Nagra

Our Friday Poem this week is ‘The Calling’ by Daljit Nagra from his collection British Museum (Faber & Faber). We are delighted to have Daljit joining us at the Seren Cardiff Poetry Festival in just two weeks time on Saturday 15 February at 1pm.

Daljit Nagra possesses one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary English poetry. British Museum is his third collection and marks a significant departure of style to something quieter, more contemplative and inquisitive, at times valedictory. His political edge has been honed in a series of meditations and reflections upon our heritage, our legacy, and the institutions that define them: the BBC, Hadrian’s Wall, the Sikh gurdwaras of our towns, the British Museum of the title poem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daljit Nagra has published four poetry collections with Faber & Faber. He has won the Forward Prize for Best Individual Poem and Best First Collection, the South Bank Show Decibel Award and the Cholmondeley Award. His books have been nominated for the Costa Prize and twice for the T. S. Eliot Prize, and he has been selected as a New Generation Poet by the Poetry Book Society. He is the inaugural Poet-in-Residence for Radio 4 & 4 Extra, and presents a weekly programme, Poetry Extra, on Radio 4 Extra. Book tickets to see him read from British Museum at the Seren Cardiff Poetry Festival here.