Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 10 February 2014

  • On the Fell

    Winds have
    so cut it it
    can give
    an edge
    to wind

    a sand
    stone
    boulder
    sandblasted

    to a blade         a breathless bone
    releasing these              sharp grains      of sand

     

    by John Birtwhistle

    Two reminders from the Poetry Centre: the Department of English and Modern Languages is offering one three year, full-time PhD studentship. For the successful candidate the home/EU fee will be paid by the Faculty and the student will receive an annual stipend of £7000 for three years beginning in 2014/15. The deadline for applications is Monday 10 March, and there are more details on the Department's website. Please spread the word!

    Don't forget too that the Poetry Centre and the Ashmolean Museum have launched 'Picture This!', their Pre-Raphaelite poetry competition, open to all Sixth Formers studying in Oxford. More details can be found on the Ashmolean's website.
     

    'On the Fell' is copyright © John Birtwhistle, 2013. It is reprinted by permission of Anvil Press from Eventualities (Anvil Press, 2013).

    Notes from Anvil Press:

    This is John Birtwhistle's first collection of poems since Our Worst Suspicions (1985), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. In the meantime much of his writing has gone into libretti, including The Plumber's Gift, performed by English National Opera. He has not, however, been neglecting poetry - as can be seen from the energetic variety of form and tone displayed here. Birtwhistle accepts from modernism the duties of visual clarity, concision, and originality of phrase; but he unites this with a romantic commitment to feeling and to organic form. His subject matter is wide-ranging as ever, but shows a new intensity about the life cycle. You can read further selections from Eventualities on the Anvil website.

    John Birtwhistle was a Writing Fellow at the University of Southampton before becoming a Lecturer in English at the University of York. He now lives in Sheffield with his wife, son, and daughter.

    Anvil Press, founded in 1968, is based in Greenwich, south-east London, in a building off Royal Hill that has been used at various points in its 150-year history as a dance-hall and a printing works. Anvil grew out of a poetry magazine which Peter Jay ran as a student in Oxford and retains its small company ethos. Visit Anvil's website here, where you can sign up to their mailing list to find out about new publications and events.

    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.