Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 1 December 2014

  • Girl

    That girl’s the girl I mean. That one now, wearing
    no-animals-were-harmed-in-making-these-
    leopardskin leggings, ears posing the question

    of what are ears for, really,
    but bearing the weight of the biggest silver-
    coloured hoops on earth? In diamanté

    scarlet heels, six inch,
    when she walks, everything sparkles, everything
    limps. Her hair is piled up on her head,

    like the kind of coastal clifftop rampart
    cameras swoop in at from the sea,
    in historical action movies, featuring

    Mel Gibson. Up her sleeve
    is a tattoo, a Chinese symbol, and what it means
    is clear. Look, that’s her now, outside The Mermaid,

    going a little cross-eyed as she draws
    on a cigarette and shouts across the street,
    asks an acquaintance if she’d like

    some, would she? So how else
    can I put it? How much clearer can I be?
    That girl’s the girl. That girl’s the girl for me.


    by Jonathan Edwards

    Two news items. First, the deadline of the call for papers for the conference ‘New Generation to Next Generation 2014: Three Decades of British and Irish Poetry’ has been extended to 19 December. We welcome all abstracts that address one or more of the broad range of themes listed in the cfp, which can be found on the IES website.

    And on Wednesday, Professor Maximilian de Gaynesford (University of Reading) will speak on 'Why Poetry Matters': 6pm (drinks and nibbles from 5.30) at the Ashmolean Museum's Education Centre (nearest entrance from St. Giles). The event is free, but turn up early to secure a seat! More details can be found on the Ashmolean website.

    ‘Girl’ is copyright © Jonathan Edwards, 2014. It was published in My Family and Other Superheroes, and is reprinted here by permission of Seren Books.

    Notes from Seren:

    Jonathan Edwards was born and brought up in Crosskeys, south Wales. He has an MA in Writing from the University of Warwick, has written speeches for the Welsh Assembly Government and journalism for The Big Issue Cymru, and currently works as an English teacher. He won the Terry Hetherington Award in 2010, was awarded a Literature Wales new writer’s bursary in 2011, and in 2012 won prizes in the Cardiff International Poetry Competition and the Basil Bunting Award. His work has appeared in a wide range of magazines, including Poetry Review, The North, Poetry Wales andNew Welsh Review. My Family and Other Superheroes is his first collection, and has been shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Prize 2014 and the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize 2014. You can hear Jonathan discuss his book and read from it on the BBC website, and find out more about the book on the Seren website.

    Dave Morgan in Write Out Loud has commented that ‘[t]his collection, in parts nostalgic and emotional, reveals a poet preoccupied with heart and hearth. However, Jonathan Edwards’ characters and places stop short of being caricature, and his appeal to emotion does not trivialise the poignancy and pathos of his observations. Edwards is the poet as sociologist, as well as observer/participant; he makes the customs and culture of the hill tribes of south Wales as exotic as that of the Trobriand islanders.’

    Seren is based in Bridgend, South Wales and was originally conceived in the early 80's by then Head of English at Brynteg Comp, Cary Archard, on his kitchen table as an offshoot of Poetry Wales magazine. After moving briefly to poet Dannie Abse’s garage in Ogmore by Sea, the advent of Managing Editor Mick Felton has seen the press has go from strength to strength. We’ve published a wide range of titles including fiction (which under Editor Penny Thomas has seen the Booker-nominated novel by Patrick McGuinness, TheLast Hundred Days, and an acclaimed novella series based on the medieval Welsh tales from the Mabinogion) and non-fiction (including literary criticism such as John Redmond’s Poetry and Privacy, as well as sumptuous art books like the collaboration between the painter Shani Rhys James and a number of poets and writers: Florilingua). Seren’s poetry list, edited by Amy Wack since the early 90’s, has produced T.S. Eliot nominated titles by Deryn Rees-Jones and Pascale Petit, Costa winner John Haynes, and a large list of Forward prize winners and nominees. Cary Archard remains on our Board of Directors and is a lively and influential presence. We mourn the loss, this year, of the wonderful Dannie Abse, also a guiding spirit. Find out more about the publisher on its 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.