The Friday Poem on 02/06/23
We chose ‘Collateral’ by Helen Evans to be our Friday Poem this week for its clarity – of both thought and language – and for the message of hope it carries. We love the way that each stanza contains exactly and only what it needs, while still leading into the next – it’s like jumping lightly from one stepping stone to another. Evans creates a journey in words that takes us to a good place; the poem is a template for finding peace in the moment.
And if you let go, for a while,
of whatever is damaging you,
and head for a good place
like this woodland, whose heart
was ripped out by bombs
dropped in the last war,
and if you rest in the cupped hand
of a coppiced sweet chestnut,
and breathe in the bluebells’ scent,
and wait until the sunset
bursts through bright May foliage
into craters blue with flowers,
you’ll see bent heads transformed
by a shift in light that outlines
each frail curl-edged bell
along one shaft of sunlight,
which, you’ll slowly realise,
illuminates you, as well.
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In The Frip now
“Art is far too often insular and exclusive, and I want to promote the working-class motto of it’s not about rising above your peers, it’s about rising with them.” — We talk to Aaron Kent, poet, editor, and publisher of Broken Sleep Books. “So many people see a little bit of themselves in the weary-but-wise image of Edgar Allan Poe.” — Scott Peeples on how Edgar Allan Poe became the darling of the maligned and misunderstood. “This poem was utterly necessary to me that week in 2020.” — Polly Atkin on Leila Chatti’s poem ‘Tea’. And Bruno Cooke profiles Vanessa Kisuule.
“The Big Calls is an interesting experiment that, for me, is only partially successful.” — Helena Nelson reviews The Big Calls by Glyn Maxwell. “A rhetorical roller-coaster, with genuine surprises of language and imagery on almost every page.” — Victoria Moul reviews Heritage Aesthetics by Anthony Anaxagorou. “This book is a painstaking and thorough ethnographic-like exploration.” — Rachael Matthews reviews The Illustrated Woman by Helen Mort. And “Sledmere’s cascades are innovative and always stimulating.” — Tim Murphy reviews VISIONS & FEED by Maria Sledmere.
On our two year anniversary, and to celebrate another year of voicing opinion, our new regular reviewers say what they think about poetry and reviewing. Stephen Payne, Clare Best and Jeremy Wikeley choose funny-serious poems by Geoffrey Brock, Mark Doty and W.H. Auden. “Both pamphlets are preoccupied with transformation and in particular the transformative nature of loss.” — Isabelle Thompson reviews I Hate to Be the One to Tell You This by Zoë Walkington and Past Tense Future Imperfect by Jon Miller. And “There is a great deal of word play and allusion, and the trickery seems central to the poems’ designs.” — Stephen Payne reviews The Nature Thief by Henry Walters.
Recent Friday Poems
by Serena Alagappan — Holy those colors in rain / after drought, a puddled vow, / iris damp and aching. // Holy the indigo aura / that casts doubt on a landscape’s / verity.
Giving my ex-boss a hand job for £20 (mates rates)
by Jane Ayres — His request took me by surprise / since I’d only invited him round for coffee // making it clear there was to be no more sex
Trial and Error
by Josh Geffin — Sitting cross-legged in a small room / opposite a Zen Master – no shit – / I say I’m not sure what I should be doing, / I don’t know what my calling is. // Smiling