Lindsey Holland’s Particle Soup

 
 
  
Lindsey Holland grew up in Aughton, on the Lancashire border with Merseyside. She studied at the University of Warwick for several years, gaining an MA in Writing, a daughter and a sideline in photography before moving back to her hometown. She teaches poetry on the Creative Writing programme at Edge Hill University, where she is also working towards a Creative Writing PhD. Her poetry and reviews have appeared in various magazines and anthologies including Tears in the Fence, The New Writer, B O D Y, Ink Sweat & Tears, Sabotage Reviews, Penning Perfumes, and Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam. She is currently co-editing the anthology Sculpted: Poetry of the North West, and she is the leader and founder member of North West Poets, a collective of over a hundred published poets who live in, or have connections to, the English region. Her debut collection, Particle Soup, is available from The Knives Forks and Spoons Press and will be launched in Blackwell’s bookshop in Manchester at 19h30 on November 7th (where she will be reading with Angela Topping and JT Welsch). She tweets at @LindseyHolland.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
“This is a highly recommended volume by a strong new writer.”

– David Morley
 
 
 
“In this intelligently designed collection Holland plucks patterns from random debris, mapping meaning out of scattered experiences of eros, of the polis. Hers is a delightful poetic science, locating vibrant creatures among the ruins. Particle Soup is a discovery in more ways than one – in the smart poems themselves, and in the way it brings us to the recognition that Holland is among the best young poets now writing in the UK.”

– Todd Swift
 
 
 
“Lindsey Holland writes hauntingly beautiful poems of love and fear and the non-existent space in between. To read her is to be startled by sudden eye-contact from a passerby – a glance that contains a whole alternative reality. Her imagery and rhythms engage and delight and her form thrills in both its mastery and innovation. You feel like you’ve returned from a long journey to find your home transfigured in an eternal twilight – a sense of loss, but of essential gain.”

– Luke Kennard
 
 
 
“Lindsey Holland’s assured debut invites the reader on a mythic and mysterious journey in which past and present are explored. Reading this collection is a compelling adventure: discoveries are made and epiphanies relished. The poems are lush and tactile, inventive yet rooted, spare but with all the right detail.”

– Angela Topping
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
from In Biopoeisis
 
 
i
 
 
Meet the most castle of castles. A marrowbone
frame, all knuckles, cantilever sockets,
a buried skull. I am beetling small and scuttle up
the spirals of the inner ear. At the gatehouse
they sell books about the Count. Rumour says
he breathes through the walls. His purple skin
records footstep itches. He’s been seen
in the window of the Great Hall: an iris
or a smear of DNA. They inherit him here.
And I swallow both pills: the Brufen
dirt they sweep at sunrise
and the herbal fix, a recipe honed
by a line of dead hands. It’s warm
and makes me think of alchemy.
Rooks overhead enjoy the stones’ thermal
or circle the spot where a demon lives.
I pin myself here, pluck a hair and let it drop.
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
vii
 
 
I go to the countryside city
and walk through sandstone streets.

A woman in a blue dress chews her lip
and shop glass catches her

in hard liquid. She folds her arms across
her ribs, and I wonder if she knows

the kind of love that touches without asking,
I turn to see her pass the bus stop

where a network advert – young woman, bright mouth –
connects you everywhere. There are scratches

in the plastic, scuffs, indelible initials,
hearts. Hands have moved across here

and in a room above I note the curtain’s V,
a face pale in between. He sees me and slips

away to someone or something, a table
perhaps, a mug washed and rewashed,

a blonde head, laughter lines, I don’t know.
If I were him I’d do the same.
 
Some years ago they planted trees and now
parakeets have come like chameleons. 
 
I pull my hair into a new brown band and run.
I run. And this is everything.
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
from The Engaging
 
 
iv.  Voice in My Head
 
 
They completely misunderstood. I know
you recoiled at his whisper, the warm
uninvited breath. Maybe

it would have been better if you’d pushed away,
fixed that skirt, kept your eyes pressed
to the disco ball but really you shouldn’t

have to anticipate. On another night
no one would twitch
and sitting on a bar stool, legs uncrossed

would be less divergent
than a third and final beer. There are people
who do this, have to put

lemons on squeezers; you need
to give them the finger, think of how
you felt his words like sharks.
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
from Chronomentrophobia
 
 
i.
  The Mourning Before
 
 
He creeps through the Raval,
keeps to the edges, stops in a doorway,
flips the cap on and off a water bottle.

Four years and those jeans are a pinch,
his T-shirt’s scuffed with black
across the shoulder blades. It’d all be fine

but we’ve been here before and then
he chatted in the Boqueria, gave me
bath salts. They smell so good.

On humid nights, we’d get drunk on Leffe
until the cockroaches’ speed seemed ridiculous
but not enough to beat him.

I don’t ask what happened. Instead
I sip my filter coffee. The grounds
are ash on my tongue.
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
from The Warring
 
 
vi.
  Lie Back, Keep Moving
 
 
But realistically
you need
to map

new glass routes
and guide
yourself

through ghost reflections
of fleur
de lys

and the shadows you carry
inside
your chest.

You can lie by the fountain
in the new
old square

and hit the alarm
quite simply
with a howl.

The pigeons will scare
the patterns
away

while aeroplanes
keep on
stretching, or

you can tomb like a queen
with your palms
in a temple,

feel yourself doubling,
splitting,
quadrupling

and think about how
in black spaces
grow

countless bright
but similar
scenes.
 
 
 
from Particle Soup (The Knives Forks and Spoons Press, 2012).
 
Order Particle Soup.
 
 
 
*

2 thoughts on “Lindsey Holland’s Particle Soup

  1. E.E. Nobbs

    Oh I do so love that first poem of the collection – “Meet the most castle of castles…” I’ve been reading the whole poem out loud to myself. I can well imagine it being a means of (or a record of) biopoeisis. I have my own copy of the collection and I’m exploring. As Todd Swift says, it’s “intelligently designed”. I’m glad that I have the actual book in my hands. I love Lindsey’s use of words. I love learning what biopoesis means, and chronomentrophobia, and going – ah ha!

  2. Pingback: Spider Webs & Fog & Lindsey Holland’s Particle Soup « elly from earth

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