Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

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The Self-Illuminated

Don Paterson

‘One, perhaps his psalter, / the other, a manuscript, or a portable altar.’

from Long Talking Bad Conditions Blues

Ronald Sukenick

‘She was visibly ageing you could tell / that soon it was going to be a long / desperate race between cellulite and silicone’.

The Easel

Sharon Olds

‘When I build a fire, I feel purposeful.’

In the Village

Derek Walcott

‘I came up out of the subway and there were / people standing on the steps as if they knew / something I didn’t.’

Two Poems

Sean Borodale

‘To be honest, this is dark stuff; mud, tang / of bitter battery-tasting honey. The woods are in it.’

High Table

Craig Raine

‘The inescapable smoke of her gown’

Three Poems

Katha Pollitt

‘Nobody wanted to hear / about the rain or its father / or leviathan slicing the deeps / at the black edge of the world / under the cold blue light of the Pleiades.’

Observations on the Ground

Mary Ruefle

‘Those flowers belong to the dead.’

The Swing

Don Paterson

‘the honest fulcrum of the hour / that engineers our ghost’

Two Poems

Eric Anderson

‘Wanting to get it all in, like / Xerxes tipping his army’s arrows / with saltpeter / so to ignite the Grecian sky.’

End of the Pier Show

Michael Hofmann

‘They were fascinated / by what they seemed to have contained.’

Cyan

Paul Farley

‘I’m holding out. / I’m blue in the face.’

Handkerchief

Ghassan Zaqtan

‘Nothing’s left to say between us / everything went / into the train that hid its whistle.’

Hang It Up

Anne Carson

‘hang up your blood cell phone mr white slaver’

Après

Jamie McKendrick

‘greener / for an alien crop of hogweed higher / than us’

The Woman in the Moon

Carol Ann Duffy

‘Darlings, I write to you from the moon’

Abingdon Square Park

Rowan Ricardo Phillips

‘I once had had a thought / About a thought I once had had.’

The Wife

David Katz

‘Ever notice the change that comes over / your gentle wife the minute she sets / foot in a grocery store?’

Two Poems

Paula Bohince

‘What sparrows come, / come briefly, briefly displacing / the nothingness.’

Fortunate It Is If Her Skirts Do Not Catch Fire

Amy Gerstler

‘I must remember god is not my private / secretary.’

The Joy of Difficulty

Lavinia Greenlaw

‘did you breathe differently / as if equipped with an aqualung’

Dark Night

Ben Okri

‘On a night when my soul was damp / I found in the street a dark lamp. / The moon was cold and green, / The sky had a sinister sheen’

Passing Place

Helen Mort

‘Stall here and let the world / go past, the way / the world well might / on heather-coloured days like this,’

Flying Towards a Country of Rain

Wang Yin

‘Paper phantoms sit beside me / watching a two-hour movie.’

Dilation

Ben Lerner

‘We need to harness the vaguely erotic disappointment that attends the realization you aren’t being followed.’

PK 754

Yasmeen Hameed

‘Tell me, what is this cry of pain in the air?’

Somewhere the Wave

Derek Mahon

‘a voice, not quite a voice, in the sea distance / listening to its own thin cetaceous whistle’

Fabric

Richard Meier

‘At midnight on our third and final date / I stepped inside her Edwardian conversion / to find a stripped-pine, bookless space.’

Ange Mlinko | First Sentence

Ange Mlinko

‘I rediscovered the efficacy of meter (or the ‘contrast between fixity and flux’) when I was stuck in a shark tunnel with my kids and was afraid I was coming down with a panic attack.’

Sampati

Vikram Seth

‘Why do you cry?’

Coming Night

James Schuyler

‘what did you think of, / how long did you wait’

Solitude

Huang Canran

‘Two friends, who hadn’t met in a year / sat chatting in a house.’

Trick

Sam Willetts

‘The unexceptional mystery takes place: / around eleven, love turns to matter’

On Jupiter Place

Nicholas Christopher

‘I didn’t know who she was anymore / maybe I never did or could –’