Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 05 October 2015

  • Razorshell Wreck on Barleycove Beach on the Eve of All Saints’ Day

    A small wreck is a large wreck when a species is in retreat,
    undertow and wave-sets soothe and stress between slate hills:
    the rise & fall, the artwork re-inscribed in sand which will
    gradually wash away, the full weight of the Atlantic.

    So attuned, so sensitive, so determined to pull themselves down –
    foot anchored hydraulic pull to start again down down down –
    razorshell feedertube sucking low tide sweet and sour
    into the glasses-case body, enrapture, huddling organs

    snug against a cutthroat world’s predators, the larger shifts
    making small changes massive, prescribe low-tide second-sight,
    test hope as St Jude’s day swell ripped the world apart, a mass
    of brethren exposed to make detritus of selves, the soup of origins and excrescence sharply in bands of shifting light,
    dozens scattered on this earthquake beach, this harbour wave jewel
    where corpses cut bare feet to bone or sinew, ghouls and gods
    make sense of spring water bottles and plastic ropes binding
    ‘best kept secrets’. So many starved here, and razorshells make
    discrete sub-fences that will briefly hold the residue of Lisbon’s collapse,
    a history divined in shell, its dead reflections, separations along
    vaguely perfect faultlines, what fate saw from below the sand.
    by John Kinsella and Alan Jenkins
    News! On Friday 23 October, poets Sarah Corbett and Eleanor Rees will be visiting Oxford to read from their exciting new books in an event organized by the Poetry Centre. It will take place at the Albion Beatnik Bookshop in Jericho, and all are very welcome! More details can be found via Facebook.

    The Adam Phillips seminars at Keble College continue. Seminars focus primarily on American poetry of the twentieth century, and at the meeting Phillips will introduce the material and lead the discussion. For more details about the series, and forthe link to the reading material, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/nbgwdwb The next seminar will be on Robert Hass's 'On Teaching Poetry', and will take place at 4.30pm on Wednesday 21 October in the Pusey Room, Keble College. All are welcome.

    ‘Razorshell Wreck…’ is copyright © John Kinsella and Alan Jenkins, 2015. It is reprinted from Marine (Enitharmon Press, 2015) by permission of Enitharmon Press

    Notes from Enitharmon Press:

    John Kinsella’s recent works of poetry include Armour (Picador, 2011) and Jam Tree Gully (W.W. Norton, 2012). Picador published Sack in November, 2014. He is editor and the author of anthologies, works of criticism, fiction and poetry. He is an Extraordinary Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University.

    Alan Jenkins’s volumes of poetry include Harm, which won the Forward Prize for Best Collection in 1994, A Shorter Life (2005), Drunken Boats (2008), and Revenants (2013). He is Deputy Editor and Poetry Editor of the TimesLiterary Supplement. He is a Fellow of the RSL. You can read more about his collaboration with John Kinsella on the Enitharmon website.

    ‘William Blake dreamed up the original Enitharmon as one of his inspiriting, good, female daemons, and his own spirit as a poet-artist, printer-publisher still lives in the press which bears the name of his creation. Enitharmon is a rare and wonderful phenomenon, a press where books are shaped into artefacts of lovely handiwork as well as communicators of words and worlds. The writers and the artists published here over the last forty-five years represent a truly historic gathering of individuals with an original vision and an original voice, but the energy is not retrospective: it is growing and new ideas enrich the list year by year. Like an ecologist who manages to restock the meadows with a nearly vanished species of wild flower or brings a rare pair of birds back to found a colony, this publisher has dedicatedly and brilliantly made a success of that sharply endangered species, the independent press.’ (Marina Warner.)  

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