Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 15 May 2017

  • He’s

    just about the size of a goldfish
    and doesn’t even look like a child.
    When did he arrive? I don’t remember –
    the pain must have made me forget.
    Anyway, now I have a son
    that lives in my cupped-together hands
    in a small pool of water I think he needs.
    I spend my hours closely watching him,
    nervous he’ll slip between my fingers
    and vanish down some drain forever,
    or worse yet, he’ll try and swim away.

    Each day he gets a little bigger,
    till he no longer needs my hands.
    I carry him around like a baby,
    buy him PJs with yellow ducks,
    and little booties to keep his feet warm.
    He smells like the sweetness of a baby,
    and smiles at me; I cautiously smile back.
    Now he’s growing faster by the hour –
    and I can no longer handle the weight.
    My arms start to tire – I must tell him.
    I put his soft cheek on mine, and say
    he simply cannot grow any bigger,
    he must promise me to always stay small -
    so that I know I can love him.

    by Jodie Hollander


    We're delighted to say that our poet this week, Jodie Hollander, will be visiting Oxford Brookes from the US this Wednesday lunchtime to read from her new book My Dark Horses, which is just out from Pavilion Poetry (Liverpool University Press). Jodie will be reading alongside our colleague in the School of Education, Jane Spiro, whose most recent book is Playing for Time (2015). You can find more details here. Jodie will also be reading on Tuesday evening with Ben Parker and Harry Man at the Albion Beatnik Bookshop in Jericho.


    The Poetry Centre would be delighted to see you at ‘moments/that stretch horizons’: an international poetry symposium for practitioners, a collaboration between the Poetry Centre, the University of Reading, and theInternational Poetry Studies Institute (IPSI) at the University of Canberra. We will explore one theme current in contemporary writing, poetry about the environment, and two concerns of poetics: prose poetry and the lyric and poetry and publishing. Each panel set up to discuss these issues will be composed of a mixture of UK-based academics and writers and academics/poets from IPSI. The symposium will take place at Oxford Brookes University, and places will be limited. Tickets for the day (including refreshments and lunch) cost £10 (£7.50 for postgraduates). All poets, critics, and readers of poetry are welcome, and you can sign up here.

    The Poetry Centre recently launched the Oxford Brookes 2017 International Poetry Competition, which is judged this year by award-winning poet Helen Mort. Poems are welcomed from writers of 18 years or over in the following two categories: English as an Additional Language and Open category. First Prize in both categories is £1000, with £200 for Second. The competition is open for submissions until 11pm GMT on 28 August 2017. Visit our website for more details.

    ‘He’s’ is copyright © Jodie Hollander, 2017. It is reprinted from My Dark Horses (Liverpool University Press, 2017) by permission of Liverpool University Press.

    Notes from Pavilion Poetry:

    Jodie Hollander, originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was raised in a family of classical musicians. She studied poetry in England, and her poems have appeared in journals such as The Poetry ReviewPN ReviewThe Dark HorseThe New CriterionThe RialtoVerse DailyThe Best Australian Poems of 2011, and The Best Australian Poems of 2015. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship in South Africa, a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant in Italy, a Hawthornden Fellowship in Scotland, and attended the MacDowell Colony in February of 2015. Her debut publication, The Humane Society, was released with Tall-Lighthouse (London) in 2012, and her full-length collection, My Dark Horses, is published with Liverpool University Press (Pavilion Poetry). She currently lives in Avon, Colorado. Read more about Jodie’s new book on the Pavilion website, and find out more about her work on her own site.

    Pavilion Poetry is a 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.