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The Lady and the Skull

Angela Carter

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

Why A Colored Girl Will Slice You If You Talk Wrong About Motown

Patricia Smith

‘Their newborn children grew / like streetlights. We grew like insurance payments. / We grew like resentment.’

Waterloo East

Lorraine Mariner

‘On one of those mornings / when I felt like resigning / from my life.’

A Meeting of Minds with Henry David Thoreau

Andrew Motion

‘What am I doing here more than looking – / which I would stop / only to help things through their vanishing’

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:

Face to Face

Tomas Tranströmer

ʻThe birds refused to fly and the soul / grated against the landscape.ʼ

Two Poems

Joe Wenderoth

‘At first you treat him as a nobility – / a miraculous figure(head) / with no real office. / Then he dies.’

Cooley High: 1991

Aracelis Girmay

‘Please stay with me as I / replay the last touch.’

Poem
(To A)

Harold Pinter

‘I shall miss you so much when I am dead’

Two Poems

Jack Gilbert

‘Loneliness is the mother’s milk of America. / The heart is a foreign country whose language none / of us is good at. ’

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.’

Silver Threads

Greg Alan Brownderville & Zach Savich

‘Time trapped me in this canyon, this dark jar — / jabbed holes in the sky to spare me light and air.’

Seen

Fanny Howe

‘Every cupboard is old, / every glass and cup / wiped clean.’

How Long is the Coast of Britain?

Jynne Martin

‘It is the hour for farewells. It is the hour.’

Beyond Sunset

Mary Ruefle

‘Red sadness never appears sad . . . it appears in flashes of passion, anger, fear, inspiration and courage, in dark unsellable visions; it is an upside down penny concealed beneath a tea cosy.’

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.’

Three Poems

Sakutarō Hagiwara

‘What I do not have is Everything: / how is it that I won’t bear this neediness?’

Undo it

Carl Phillips

‘I can almost see again: we’ll drown anyway’

PK 754

Yasmeen Hameed

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

Advice Column

Kazim Ali

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

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.’

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?’

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.’

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?’

On Jupiter Place

Nicholas Christopher

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

The Old Fuel

Emily Berry

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

The Burning of the Rocks

John Kinsella

‘What locked-away / state of unawareness, other life form, / brings desire to combust / out of rock exposed to flame’