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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’

Eel Tail

Alice Oswald

‘untranslatable hissed interruptions / unspeakable wide chapped lips’

Nature Study: Spots

Kay Ryan

‘Like something / that might also / happen in the head,’

Sunday Drive Home

David Masello

‘On the drive down the Taconic, / you sleep, your head sinks then snaps / up when it reaches some reflex angle.’

What we Lost

Michael Ondaatje

‘The pattern of teeth marks on skin’

Two-Part Inventions

Anne Winters

‘The same way Bach’s motive splays out to the right, / swoons flatly, swans it, footnotes, follows up, / talks to itself, purls, mutters, dawdles, resumes. . .’

Oak

Jamie McKendrick

‘When my father saw an advert in the Echo / for a big house at a peppercorn rent / he rang.’

Blueberries

James Lasdun

‘I’m talking to you old man. / Listen to me as you step inside this garden’

Coronation

Gillian Allnutt

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

Saturday Night

Lavinia Greenlaw

‘Do they dance for those creatures / whose unmade selves / come unbuttoning out of the dark?’

Meeting the psychiatrist’s wife

Lorraine Mariner

‘The psychiatrist’s wife / has a dress the colour / of that bottle of claret / you shouldn’t have drunk / last night.’

Bird of Fire

Rowan Ricardo Phillips

‘No more, no longer the sweet difference / Between real and dream I knew.’

The Mountain

Christopher DeWeese

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

Crusoe

Salman Rushdie

‘Let me tell you, boyo, bach: I love this place, where green hills shelter me from fear.’

Midnight on Lake Michigan

Diego Báez

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

Dog Days

James Lasdun

‘Blizzard died. I’m remembering / his limitless affection.’

The Lady and the Skull

Angela Carter

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

Inheritance

Sadaf Halai

‘It made the sound of / a small balloon dropping.’

Two Poems

Ivan Landzhev

‘My chess teacher / used to tell me: / ‘Play your own game.’’

A Description of the Architectural Impact of My Home, Age 7

Saïd Sayrafiezadeh

‘my apartment is neither over / nor under the sidewalk, / but both at once’

From the Flood Plain

Jamie McKendrick

‘No flood as parched as this’

Eternities

Charles Simic

‘Could they be the same person?’

We’ll always have Paris

Richard Meier

‘I’d gone there with my girlfriend of three years, / then left her three days after meeting you.’

6 March 1989

Salman Rushdie

‘Damn, brother. You saw what they did to my face? / Poked out my eyes. Knocked teeth out of place’.

Remembered Summer

Troy Jollimore

‘Our conversations faltered, the celestial musicians / took a break between sets, and all the little engines / we had so painstakingly gathered and constructed / lapsed into stillness for a few brief moments.’

Two Poems

Niall Campbell

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

Black Against the Sky, the Giant Mothers

Selima Hill

‘Black against the sky the giant mothers / are whispering together in the moonlight’

Requiem

Jill Osier

‘I watch her help, / gathering the leaves to her like love, / hiding herself.’

String Theory

Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch

‘On tenterhooks / you think how string constricts, how / it connects, how you followed it back / to Rawtenstall.’

The Sun in a Box

Caleb Klaces

‘When I was younger I drafted a memory. / I drew a rectangle on a piece of card / and called it a computer.’

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.’

All the Good Help

Togara Muzanenhamo

‘He will not understand her fascination / for rain, these summer months of water / that somehow keep the money coming in.’

Blue Sky Thinking

Gillian Clarke

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