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Position Paper

John Ashbery

‘This is my outfit. / Government spooks did the rest. Didn’t you know?’

Two Poems

Sean Borodale

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

The Woman in the Moon

Carol Ann Duffy

‘Darlings, I write to you from the moon’

Hang It Up

Anne Carson

‘hang up your blood cell phone mr white slaver’

Two Poems

Paula Bohince

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

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.’

Opening Invocation

Jean-Paul de Dadelsen

‘Or otherwise, leaving the shore of the intermediate sea, / has it been a while since they’ve gone ahead / into the interior of lands of the spirit?’

Self-Portrait as Amnesiac

John Burnside

‘Shoeboxes lined with eggs and empty / pomegranates drying in a bowl, / mousebones and wicker, chess pieces, muddled coats.’

The Mountain

Christopher DeWeese

‘When the oxygen thins, / the world gets less reciprocal.’

What the Doctor Said

Raymond Carver

‘He said are you a religious man do you kneel down / in forest groves and let yourself ask for help.’

A Numbered Graph That Shows How Each Part of the Body Would Fit Into A Chair

Mary Jo Bang

‘It’s a simple truth that one can occupy two / places at one time while sitting in a chair—the same way a / poseable doll can be divided from her dress.’

The Day Etta Died

John Burnside

‘I was marking a stack of essays / on Frank O’Hara / and each had a Wiki- / paragraph to say / who Genet was.’

Picnic

Emily Berry

‘Watching the sea is like watching something in pieces continually striving to be whole / Imagine trying to pick up a piece of the sea and show it to a person / I tried to do that.’

On Jupiter Place

Nicholas Christopher

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

The Lady and the Skull

Angela Carter

‘In just such an emblematic a fashion / The world takes on / Human form.’

Solitude

Huang Canran

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

The More We Think About It

Michael Earl Craig

‘Yeah, something has slapped us. / We have definitely seen something.’

Coronation

Gillian Allnutt

‘We waited quietly for the Queen who wasn’t there’

Two Poems

Niall Campbell

‘And so, last night, so cold, I listened to / the floorboards warp in the unwelcome heat.’

Demeter

Fiona Benson

‘I head down the path hoping she’ll come / but when I look back she’s gone and my own voice / snags at her name like barbed wire on skin.’

At Thirty

Paula Bohince

‘At thirty, I fled from my life / in a hailstorm and firestorm’

The Emotional Life of Plants

Rae Armantrout

An exciton consists / of the escaped negative / (electron) / and the positive hole / it left behind.

Blue Sky Thinking

Gillian Clarke

‘Let’s do this again, ground the planes for a while and leave the runways to the racing hare.’

Toboggan Run

Fiona Benson

‘What would I give / to be one of those swimmers in all this snow, / swallowed by the cold and the night’s strange radiance?’

Pay Attention

Sophie Cabot Black

‘I can only do what is here. But you / Have an entire congregation of choice’

The Making of the English Landscape

Simon Armitage

It’s too late now to start collecting football shirts,/bringing them back from trips abroad as souvenirs:

Two Poems

Kaddy Benyon

‘Sometimes I am so afraid my envy / will hack at your figs, strawberries, / or full-bellied beans, I dig my fists / into my pockets and nip myself.’

Advice Column

Kazim Ali

‘Me always untorn and enslaved / Weird notions of gender and ground / Nothing but you between me and god.’

Apparition

Mark Doty

‘an orange plastic basket of compost / down from the top of the garden – sweet dark, / fibrous rot, promising’

Postscript

John Burnside

'the trees / are slender in the way that things / are almost, though not quite / absent'

Rain at Three

Tishani Doshi

‘Rain at three splits the bed in half, / cracks at windows like horsemen blistering / through a century of hibernation.’

Midnight on Lake Michigan

Diego Báez

‘But really, your disappearance / has never been a question of whether.’

A Cloudless Sky

Michael Dickman

‘A cloudless sky and I’m back / an ice-cold sky-blue rag / for my eyes’

The Old Fuel

Emily Berry

‘And I'm / cranking out oodles of love the way an old spaghetti machine / cranks out spaghetti.’