Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 06 October 2016

  • Reader, listener,

    come in. I’m opening my door to you – the trap
    door of a modern barn conversion with lots of little rooms,
    vast paintings on the bare brick walls, a daring colour scheme,
    sofas and awkward plastic chairs for interrogating guests

    in that looking way. There’s soup. Bread in the oven to warm.
    Take off your shoes. Take some spare socks – I know your own feet
    offend you. I know your deepest thread, like a baked-in hair.
    You wish someone would think of you, spontaneously

    in the middle of the night; call you out of the dark like a comet
    landing on your duvet. Come in, make yourself at home.
    The walls here don’t have eyes. They’re dumb surfaces
    onto which shadows of stags are cast like stalking giants.

    by Ruby Robinson


    Happy National Poetry Day! We hope that wherever you are you’ll have time to enjoy some poetry today, starting with this poem! The Poetry Centre will be handing out free poetry postcards in the John Henry Brookes Building at Oxford Brookes today for you to mail to friends and family who need poetry. You might also be interested to know that we have just announced the winners of our International Poetry Competition, and you can find more details on our website. There will be a special awards ceremony on 25 November, and all are welcome to attend.

    And next Friday sees the first of our lunchtime readings at Brookes for the semester, featuring Seán Street and Jennifer Wong. All are welcome!

    Finally, there are just a few places left on the workshop led by Tamar Yoseloff entitled 'The Space of the Poem' on Saturday 22 October. Inspired by the exhibition by Pan Gongkai running at Brookes’ Glass Tank, we will look at examples of Chinese painting, concrete poetry and text-based sculpture as a way of generating new poems – participants will be encouraged to share their first drafts during the session. You can read more about the workshop on the Brookes website, where you can also book your place. There is a reduced price for Brookes students and staff.

    ‘Reader, listener,’ is copyright © Ruby Robinson, 2016. It is reprinted from Every Little Sound (Liverpool University Press, 2016) by permission of Liverpool University Press.

    Notes from Pavilion Poetry:

    Drawing from neuroscience on the idea of 'internal gain', an internal volume control which helps us amplify and focus on quiet sounds in times of threat, danger or intense concentration, Ruby Robinson's brilliant debut, Every Little Sound, introduces a poet whose work is governed by a scrupulous attention to the detail of the contemporary world. Moving and original, her poems invite us to listen carefully and use ideas of hearing and listening to explore the legacies of trauma. The book celebrates the separateness and connectedness of human experience in relationships and our capacity to harm and love. You can read more about the collection on the Pavilion Poetry webpages.

    Ruby Robinson was born in Manchester in 1985 and lives in Sheffield. She studied English Literature at the University of East Anglia and has an MA from Sheffield Hallam University where she also won the Ictus Prize for poetry. Her poems have appeared in The Poetry Review, Poetry (Chicago) and elsewhere. You can follow Ruby on Twitter.

    Pavilion Poetry is a new contemporary poetry series from Liverpool University Press, edited by Deryn Rees-Jones, which seeks to publish the very best in contemporary poetry. Always international in its reach, Pavilion Poetry is poetry that takes a risk. Whether by new or established and award-winning writers, this is poetry sure to challenge and delight. Launched in 2015, Pavilion has already enjoyed considerable success, with Mona Arshi’s book, Small Hands, winning the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection at the 2015 Forward Prizes, and Ruby Robinson’s Every Little Sound being shortlisted for the same prize in 2016. You can read more about the series on the Liverpool University Press website.

    Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.