Adele Fraser – Two Poems

Poems to make you think

The Stare's Nest

A Half Full Begging Bowl
Welfare recipients are not supposed to make the best of things.
Being, in the eyes of society, a lesser species,
we are not permitted to smile through adversity, and
should we ever display the temerity to keep our chins up,
the media would immediately sock us in them.
Imagine Pollyanna today, unemployed and playing the glad game
on benefits, cheerful as they come to disconnect her electric:
‘It will give us more chance to really talk without the distraction
of television, and the dark can be deliciously romantic!’
Hell, they’d wipe the smile off her feckless face, make no mistake.
Us lot make a mockery of the whole system.
We lack moral fibre; that’s our problem.
For tears are owed to the taxpayers to season their pound of flesh.
And, should it prove necessary, productive society shan’t shrink from
using threats…

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The Three Ms: Mammoth, Minerva, and Merkin

gairnet provides: press of blll

Mark Doty, Deep Lane (Cape); Frances Leviston, Disinformation (Picador); Christopher Reid, The Curiosities (Faber).
(Three collections reviewed for the June issue of Literary Review, here with – slightly – critical notes restored.)
Mark Doty’s ninth collection displays his customary gifts of empathic observation, collapsing the distance between poet and subject to establish an observance of both secular and sexual mysteries. This is accomplished by an intensity of sensual imagery, and through an ecstatic syntax, as in this passage about Jackson Pollock: ‘Forget supplication,

beseechment, praise. Look down

into it, the smash-up swirl, oil and pigment and tree-shatter:

tumult in equilibrium.

His focus on the redemptive act of gardening, in the titular series of poems called ‘Deep Lane’, and the fit between this and the animalistic, exemplified by masterful descriptions of, among other creatures, his dog, a fish, a mole, a mammoth, and a goat, is driven by a Yeatsian…

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John Foggin- stocktaking

Roy Marshall

Tonight I am excited and honoured to share some thoughts and words from the poet John Foggin, who I regard as of Britain’s finest poets of landscape, a poet whose muscular and musical work has delighted, transported and educated and entranced me since I first his poem ‘Achnacloich’ in The North  some  years ago and thought ‘Who is this guy?’

It is a fantastic poem, the best I’d read for some time, and I wondered why I hadn’t seen anything else by this writer and why this poem wasn’t in that year’s Forward collection. A few years later and John’s work is unsurprisingly featured in the Forward Book of Poetry.

John has kindly agreed to showcase a few poems here, and in response to my request for him to talk about his writing we have the added bonus of his wonderful ‘stocktake’ .

I am deeply honoured that he has chosen to let me publish his previously unpublished poem

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Reponse to Guardian Article of 2nd October

Great article do read

Angela Topping

The original article seems to perceive a division between contemporary poetry (free verse) and older poetry(rhythm and rhyme) that just doesn’t exist. There is no poet I know who does not have their favourites from the past. I myself would not want to live without Emily Dickinson, John Donne, John Clare, Keats, Blake and Edna St Vincent Millais. Performance poetry relies on rhythm and rhyme for some of its impact. Page poets see themselves as writing out of a tradition too, but taking it new places, as we have to. Shakespeare and his contemporaries experimented in their time, as we do in ours, as poetry, like all art forms, does not stand still. I wrote both formal verse and free verse depending on what the poem tells me when it starts to arrive. The gap between page poets and performance poets is diminshing too, as page poets can now actually…

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