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A binge of books

July 11, 2021

I recently won a small amount of money in a poetry competition. Poem here. I have spent the prize money, many times over, on books.
I’d like to show you some of them. First up is Untravelling, an achingly beautiful new book by Mary Frances from Penteract Press. On each page a found landscape is paired with a few lines of cutup text. Every page is a meditation. It will mean something different each time it is read. It would be the perfect companion to take on a long journey, actual or metaphorical.

Mary Frances, from Untravelling

Next, two collections from Shearsman by Em Strang: Bird-Woman and Horse-Man. In these grounded and uncompromising poems the wild and the domestic run side by side, with all that implies: unease, strangeness, violence, mystery.

I recently read four of Erin Murphy‘s demi-sonnets in the online magazine Alba. I wanted to see more. I found one of her collections available in UK second-hand. Every poem in this book is a demi-sonnet (her own invention.) In tone, they range from heartbreak to wry humour. Below is one that caught my eye and my heart. I love the internal rhymes and the subtly implied, absent rhymes (eg nipples/ripples; need/seaweed; neck/wreck; take/break) and of course the subject. I like this poem just as much for what it leaves out as for what it says.

These poems pack many layers of meaning into their seven lines. They are worth reading again and again. I am so glad to have discovered this hugely talented American poet. You can find a wide variety of her poems on her website.

My recent long run of rejections has been interrupted by a few acceptances, for which I am grateful. I have two silly poems online here and here, and a more sensible one here. The poem below appears in the anthology Horses of a Different Colour from Dempsey & Windle.

On Monday we travelled to Surrey for the memorial service of a much-loved cousin who died over a year ago. This sonnet, written in a moment of grief and rage, was published in the anthology Locked Down from Poetry Space.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 12, 2021 8:18 am

    Thank you Ama, a lovely dose of poetry on a very wet Monday morning!

  2. Beau Beausoleil permalink
    August 15, 2021 7:37 pm

    Dear Ama,

                         Loved both of your poems here and can see why the first won an award. I’ve always loved the way you encourage the poem to “see” as you move from place to place, and Lament will stay with me for some time.

    All best, Beau

  3. August 29, 2021 10:18 am

    Thank you Beau.

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