Prof Tony Curtis spending a couple of hours with MA Creative Writing postgrads this week, followed by a lecture, My Life With Dylan Thomas.
One of our grads, Shirley Bell, has a poem in The North 52 AND she is a Poet of the Week on the Poetry Super Highway (Facebook group) – “online during the week of June 23-29… and then forever thereafter on the Past Featured Poets archive section.”!
More about Shirley at her blog.
New from redplantpress, Shirley’s latest collection of poems written during the time her husband was waiting for his triple heart bypass.
And while we’re at it – congratulations to Shirley on getting her MA in Creative Writing!
I take the Romany’s sprigged heather,
tuck its pink tight buds curled like
baby fists tight as a talisman,
blue with longing, into my bag.
I am pierced mid-flight
by a hint of traveller she sees
within – an Irish woman
on the grandmother side,
Ellen Glancy unschooled, catholic
in tastes and religion,
pawned her soul for potatoes
that lay rotting, bleeding
into darkened sod.
Her pilgrimage to England
and Alfred, then retracing steps
to Enniskillen for the wedding,
returning to peg washing
not in a whipped north-easterly
which cut the souls.
Back across grey waters
fretful and choppy, till her own
broke a tidal wave, her firstborn.
Homesick for emerald patches,
a mercurial sky tilting meniscus,
struggling for freedom.
Iron rain lashes my face,
her slashed smile a rent petticoat.
Merging the troubles one with another,
I take her hand in mine,
it lies still but warm, without
need for words.
I stride the battlements; crenelated Portland stone,
Sheer five hundred feet below grassy fields.
A twenty-mile fish-eye panorama of peaks;
Arkwright’s Sutton Hall, Bess’s glass Hardwick.
Beyond receding greens to softened hues, greys
Through anthracite, slate, to a sooty-blue meniscus
The wind moans the miles, traps whispers in
An ancient avenue of limes to the riding stables, keep.
I descend eroded limestone steps, scoured clean
By tides of serfs; stranded in landlocked Derbyshire.
by Susan Flower (alumna 2010-2011)
He wrote a poem in praise of limestone. He wrote a poem about Sigmund Freud. He wrote poems about cats and opera, about the minute organisms that live on human skin. He wrote an achingly beautiful love poem, a lullaby that stands among the gentlest and most forgiving poetry of the 20th century. Years after his death, when the World Trade Center towers were brought to the ground, traumatised New Yorkers faxed each other copies of a poem he had written for an earlier and greater crisis, “September 1, 1939”.
For decades, scholars have been describing Hill as the best living British poet, so it is strange how few people seem to know his work. The standard explanation for this is that he is difficult. Being difficult, his harshest critics go on to call him an elitist and hence, in an ugly leap that usually involves dragging in Ezra Pound, a bit of a fascist. Attacks of this sort have built a firewall between the poet and his potential readership…
Source: New Statesman.