Roy Woolley

Roy Woolley has had poems published in The Wolf, The Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review, Poetry News and the anthology Saturday Night Desperate from Ragged Raven Press. He also compiled a pamphlet celebrating ten years of the Gay London Writers’. He recently graduated with distinction from the Mst in Creative Writing at Oxford University.
from The Pasiphaë Treatment
Roy Woolley
Scene 1. An open field. A white bull grazing.
Haunches muscular and clean.
Pasiphaë is helped from the carriage by a servant.
Close-up. Her face as she studies the bull.
The rope in her hands. Fade-out. Country sounds.
Scene 2. Flashback to the cord she wears at her wedding.
Brassy light. Crowds in the forecourt. The tinnitus
of instruments being tuned. Soft snowfall
of flowers at her feet. Her husband’s backward glance
as a bridesmaid leans over the balcony.
Scene 4. The present. Her room in the palace. Night.
Her face in the mirror. The stars above Crete.
Close-up to the costume Daedulus made –
a white sheet to cushion her body.
The horns for her temples. The cool felt mask.
Scene 9. She’s in the mirror again, facing herself
sideways, tracing the shape of her belly
with the palms of her hands. Night songs.
The city shutting down. The sound of the sea.
She feels her child move when she looks at the stars.
Scene 15. Fade to the balcony spyglass. A room
draped in black. Mirrors facing the wall.
The scars on her hands. Her bandaged breasts.
Her deep set eyes. The camera pans across the city.
Construction sounds grow louder. Our first sight of the maze.

7 thoughts on “Roy Woolley

  1. Michelle Post author

    Roy’s really talented, Monique. This poem has fascinated me since I heard him read it at The Hurst. The myth of Pasiphaë and the bull was new to me.

    Thank you for the anniversary wishes!

  2. Pascale

    Thanks for posting this poem Michelle, so vivid and powerful and love the filmic technique. I had the pleasure of tutoring a few Oxford workshops with Roy’s poems, glad to hear of the much deserved distinction. Pascalex

  3. Julie

    Happy Birthday, peony moon! What a beautiful site you have. I can’t say enough how happy I am to have met you here, Michelle.

    The poem is fantastic. I love the structure and the story.

  4. carolee

    this is a wonderful poem! it’s one of my favorite myths, and it’s so hard to capture it. somehow — b/c it’s in a strange place between “too familiar” and “too foreign”, if that makes any sense. but this poem does it! it’s an inspiration.

    i love poems based on mythology, but good ones are hard to write. woolley’s done it! (you’re a great reader, michelle. you find really wonderful work to share with us!)

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