Tag Archives: poetry pamphlets

David Morley’s The Night of the Day

David Morley

     
A former natural scientist, David Morley has published 18 books, including nine volumes of poetry, won 13 literary awards and gained two awards for his teaching, including a National Teaching Fellowship. He is Director of the Warwick Writing Programme at the University of Warwick, and also Director of The Warwick Prize for Writing. Recent publications include The Invisible Kings (Carcanet, 2007) and The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing. His forthcoming collection of poems from Carcanet will be titled Enchantment.
    
   
  
   
The Night of the Day (Nine Arches Press, 2009) is remarkable for the skill and grace with which it travels through the difficult territories that map a journey from darkness towards light. In this movement from out of the shadows, it engages with tricks of the light, vanishings, illusions, magic and bitter realities, whilst using the terrain of language that each necessitates.
  
From the brutally austere language that depicts a child’s experience of violence that opens this short collection, the poems move thematically into the natural world and the darting, shifting vocabularies of memory, friendship and loss. The Night of the Day keeps a solid and determined pace, which ultimately brings us under the canvas of the big top and into the lives of the travelling circus people, in their own words, their own voices, an undertow of threat and prejudice forever shadowing their footsteps on the road.
  
  
 
Three
David Morley

 
I am trying to behave but my father
has a fist crammed with kitchen knives
like a brilliant new hand, and the rest
of us in the house are suddenly not alive.
One of us is guilty of the crime of two biscuits.
One of us has taken biscuits without permission
so all are condemned and have earned his lesson
which is to cower in the bedroom’s corner
without cover while he slices our arteries open
in the air between us. His house is his abattoir.
His home is lit with hooks and steel hands.
We are not alive as he bars the bedroom door.
 
The morning is ordinary because I am three.
My brother unwinds a lace from his shoe.
He works its little rope across the hearth
until it makes a dripping strip of light and flame
that he slips slowly on the back of my hand.
I am trying to behave as though this never happened,
keeping my scorched hand below the tablecloth
while my father, sick with guilt, serves us soup.
My brother knows I can soak up his secrets.
My left fingers misbehave and my father
forces the hand. Sered sores. A veal of veins.
My brother at this time is being flung into a wall
and all I am thinking is that I do not like oxtail.
 
I do not like the blood thirst of what I can hear
through the floor of my bedroom as my father
flies off his handle again, but this is a real handle
that he’s handling as a weapon, and the sitting room
is being smashed and smashed and smashed to death.
Better the mirrors, I think, than my mother.
But he’s upstairs by now, kicking his way up
and dread is draining through that black wall
but the wall doesn’t shelter, not when there’s a door
to be hurled off its hinges like it was never there,
him yanking me by my cock to his yelling height
before dropping me down a well in that dark room.
His face swells to fill the door as he finds his range.
 
 
 
Published in The Night of the Day (Nine Arches Press, 2009) and previously published in Cake.
 
Order The Night of the Day here.
 
Read two poems from The Night of the Day – ‘Mayflies’ and ‘Alaskan Salmon’ – in Horizon Review’s third issue.
 
Visit David’s blog and website.

Myra Connell’s From the Boat

      
Myra Connell’s latest collection of poems is the pamphlet From the Boat (Nine Arches Press, March 2010). Her first collection of poems, A Still Dark Kind of Work, was published by Heaventree Press in 2008. Her poems have appeared in various magazines, and her short stories in two collections from Tindal Street Press, Her Majesty and Are You She? She lives in Birmingham and has two grown-up sons.
   

Myra Connell

    
These poems ‘From the Boat’ come from a time of waiting, of mourning, and of finding small consolations. They are, many of them, small poems, the opposite of heroic. Bare, spare in mood, and exploring a sense of dislocation and disorientation, they look coldly at what is left when almost everything is pared away.
  
And yet they rejoice in moments of revelation – the golden flash of carp in a pool, a red jacket on a woman in a cafe; and the words, the language, the poems themselves, never feel doubtful or uncertain in their own power.
  
Myra Connell’s poetry is measured yet generous; experimental and adventurous; sharp, often angry, and yet tender.
   
   
 
And yes, the house
Myra Connell
  
And yes, the house, the houses.
The wood, the ground, the thick brown leaves –
not that we lay on them, not that,
but standing, felt our bodies skin to skin.
I loved a stranger in a sycamore wood –
and always, now, the house.
  
It was a white one, on a bank or hill.
Behind the hedge a lawn, but curving;
and steps up to a path. Such blank clean windows.
(What was it that he said? The hope was stupid.)
Such an ugly house, so cold,
so stiff, immaculate, so dark at dusk.
So dead.
  
  
 
From the valley
Myra Connell
 
From the valley, trees seemed frosted.
Up close, each twig a ghost, a shadow made of ice,
each twig, all along the ridge
and pushing in to sparse bare woods.
 
And did I say? About the pool?
He took my hand, said, Here.
This way, and led me round the back,
behind the crumbling wall –
  
an awkward turn, a stepping stone –
(the smell of frying eggs, stale smoke)
and there, a deep black pool.
Carp moved goldly,
  
muscled. Go today. See carp.
Go anywhere with walls, deep pools,
and gold (but don’t say gold)
leaves floating
  
cold.
  
 
  
Published in From the Boat (Nine Arches Press, 2010).
 
Order From the Boat.
  
Matt Merritt mentions Myra Connell and From the Boat in this
Polyolbion post.
  
Visit Nine Arches Press’s website.

Katy Evans-Bush’s Oscar & Henry

Oscar & Henry (Rack Press, 2010)

   
 “For Henry, having two countries meant staged risk, and privacy. For Oscar, having the world meant everything bet on the one toss. In a 20’s Modernist trope, this sequence hints at big unanalysed scandals by almost making them cockney rhyming slang. Evans-Bush shows us Two Great Late Victorians through the prism of the 1920s, even while she looks back 90 years at the Modernists, in a double manoeuvre.
  
In literary judgment we think about sex, but in our own lives we think about love. An equal attention to Henry James and Oscar Wilde at once can illuminate both. Henry remains, at this stage, Evans-Bush’s object of quiet love: touchstone to a vision of love that is the secret, and the secret joy of these poems.”
 
– Ira Lightman
 
 
1882: An Anti-Social Call in Washington
Katy Evans-Bush

The inadvisable kiss of Walt Whitman
still on the lips
of Oscar Wilde, the Atlantic
yawns, then closes its trap more close than ever.
The Master takes it upon himself to call
on Oscar, who celebrates himself, who sings himself.
He finds him at home, with a yellow handkerchief
and green knee-breeches. Alike, except for this, in stature
and – well – stature, the two writers
from a shared height take one another’s measure;
then with the small talk: nostalgia on the one hand
for London. The other: really? You care for places?
Dublin-made-Oxford drawls: The world is my home.
 
Oh, Henry. You who have so little home –
only your exquisitely understated
overcoat, your books, a thousand flimsy
cards for dinner, and a cabin ticket to Portsmouth –
not even a wife to offer as sop to the ladies –
ignore it, ignore it. He has no idea
what he’s just said. In a few years he will need you,
yes, you, to be human, and you will afford it
with the pronouncement: finally he has become interesting.
Next week, in next week’s kerchief, he’ll be regaling
next week’s ladies with news of your importance,
deceptively open as the Atlantic, with her little liners.
    
    
Katy’s limited edition pamphlet, Oscar & Henry, is now available from Rack Press: The Rack, Kinnerton, Presteigne, Powys LD8 2PF. All pamphlets are £4, postage free. Make cheques payable to “Rack Press”.
  
Order Oscar & Henry directly from Katy. She’ll send you a PayPal request. £5 covers postage (within the UK) and gets you a signed copy.
  
Order Oscar & Henry from Amazon.co.uk.
 
Or get your signed copy from Katy in person at a reading at the Lemon Monkey Café in London N16 on 13 February and at the Poetry Society in Betterton St WC2 on 20 February. Details of the Lemon Monkey Café reading below.
  
*
  
You are invited to Oscar Wilde night, a festival of modern-day Bunburying
  

A night of Gay Nineties debauchery in Stoke Newington! In poetry, drama, the green fairy and the green carnations, we bring you the spirit of Oscar Wilde and the fin de siècle ebullience that made him great. With a few damned modernists thrown in.
  
Featuring sets from John McCullough, Katy Evans-Bush and Tim Turnbull; poems by Oscar Wilde and Ernest Dowson; and a scene from David Secombe’s play, I Have Been Faithful to Thee, Ernest! In My Fashion, starring Tim Turnbull as Oscar Wilde. Also featuring Jack Tarlton and Chris Brand (possibly as Virginia Woolf.)
   
Saturday, 13 February 2010 at 18h30
Lemon Monkey Café
180 Stoke Newington High St
London, United Kingdom
   
Admission: free, but we ask for £3 in a hat.
By train: from Liverpool St (15 mins)
Two mins walk from Stoke Newington Station
By bus: 106, 276, 149, 67, 76, 243, 73, 476, 393
  
Follow Katy’s blog, Baroque in Hackney.