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Showing posts from October, 2011

Featured Poet: Alan Morrison

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I am delighted to be able to post two poems from Alan Morrison's latest book, Captive Dragons/ The Shadow Thorns - Poems from the Mill View Residency 2008-11 by Alan Morrison. This book incorporates an epic poem on the subject of mental illness and its perception throughout the ages, tackling thorny issues such as psychosis and suicide through a series of 35 Cantos exploring different periods, persons and approaches to the psychiatric and social treatment of mental illness. A Laingian sensibility drives towards some uncomfortable speculations as to 'mental illness' as, in part, a socio-political construct. The Shadow Thorns (from which these poems are taken) is a sequence of smaller poems, each a study of composites of various inpatients encountered by the author during his three year voluntary poetry workshop residency at Mill View psychiatric hospital in Hove.


Flo of the solitudes

Flo’s patron of the moment’s immersion,
Timelessly lit in a pool of her own
Out-pouring, her me…

Featured Poet: Martin Mooney

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A Question About Fog

Did it drive the cattle down from the hill in search of a visible world,
or did they use it for camouflage, for this infiltration

of our human terrain, these gardens and metalled roads on which they’ve appeared
by surprise this morning, sudden, unblinking, innocent, burly,

a sign of what’s kept on the outskirts, what’s never discussed,
silent apart from the hoof-falls, the muffled flop of their dung?


Martin Mooney was born in Belfast and has worked as a civil servant, creative writing teacher, arts administrator and publican. As well as poetry, he has published short fiction, reviews, critical articles and cultural commentary in Irish and British periodicals.

Mooney has collaborated with visual artists on a number of site-specific projects, and with composer Ian Wilson on Near the Western Necropolis for mezzo soprano and chamber orchestra. He has also adapted texts by Shakespeare, Sheridan and Ionescu for physical theatre companies in the north of Ireland.

Mooney is the au…

Featured Poet: Claire Trevien

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To help cope with the post-NPD comedown, I'm delighted to be able to post two poems by Claire Trevien.


Love from,

On my wall I pinned
the postcards you sent me from
Malta, Ibiza, Gomera, Greece . . . My fingers
jumped from pools of fluorescent water
to cats haunting

crusty archways. I used to pine
at your absence — an idea — as I fingered
those battered papers haunting
my wall. Each picture was your face watered
down by time, even the stamps smiling from

their contained box. My fingers
would trace the images from
the cards until they unpinned.
Once, you gave me Madrid, a water
fountain, but your words failed. My haunt

would always be wrong: you’d pinpoint
a boulevard rather than the street it was (or water
it down to a lane) and your signature varied from
“your father” to “Joel”. I sent its crumbs to haunt
the wind, but eventually my fingers

chased those scattered scraps pinned
inside bins, imprinted, or sailing watery
grass. I rescued my wronged address from
the pond and the litter man’s fingers,
though y…

Beholding Fanny

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I don't often have enough time to update my blog, and today is no different, but I can hardly claim to write a poetry blog and not post an update on National Poetry Day.

For some poets NPD is no more about poetry than any other day. I woke up in the early hours with an image on my mind but didn't want to lose any more sleep by getting up to write it down, and so it slipped back into the realm of dreams. It was a good one - they always are! - and I still feel satisfied by the way it had enough energy to carry on into a second line.

In the morning I deliberately avoided Radio 4 since I generally dislike listening to actors reading poetry. Even if a poem is being read by the poet, I'm usually not in the mood to stop what I'm doing and give it my full attention in the way I would if I had chosen a book and set aside time to read it. Actors can get in the way of a poem - they perform, and fail to realise the poem, if it's doing its job, will speak for itself. In the worst…