Why do some people take care not to step on the cracks in the paving while others take no notice whatever of the cracks? One says ‘cracks’ but of course they are not cracks; they are the edges where, apparently, one square of paving ends and another begins. That one calls them cracks is significant; it betokens a recognition of a surface that might be broken through, a surface that keeps separate the overness from an underness in which move creatures of the other in ways not to be understood by us. Who has not at one time or another sensed in that dark otherness, sometimes quaint and solemn, sometimes mad and strangely echoing, the footplacer? Yes, yes, the footplacer: in the concrete underfoot it lives and walks, not in hollow spaces but molecularly in the solid concrete; particularly it is to be found in the concrete station-platforms of the underground; it is upside-down to us and we are upside-down to it as it places its feet softly one by one against our pacing feet. Perhaps it thinks of us as being the reflection or the shadow of its own walking; perhaps footplacers talking amongst themselves call us footplacers, think of us as strange beings who walk upside-down aboveground softly placing our feet one by one against theirs. The footplacer is a cumulative creature; as it places its feet against our feet all the footsteps of our lives are added up and gathered into it. Where did we go and when? What did we do there? All those footsteps have been gathered up into the footplacer, all those goings that are gone.
2023 Forward Prizes
‘I alone know a running stream
that is recovery partly and dim sweat
of a day-fever’
A poem by Rowan Evans.
‘Humour is a thread we hang onto. It punctures through the fog of guilt.’
Momtaza Mehri in conversation with Warsan Shire.
‘Something shifted in me that night. A small voice in my head said, maybe you can make a way for yourself as a poet here, too.’
Mary Jean Chan in conversation with Andrew McMillan.
Joy and Insecurity in Port-au-Prince
‘There was to be an exhibition. There were lots of pictures like his, apparently – of waiters, pastry cooks, valets, bellboys.’
An essay by Jason Allen-Paisant from Granta 159: What Do You See?
‘I have started to see that nothing is itself’
A poem by Jason Allen-Paisant from Granta 154: I’ve Been Away for a While.