Bodies strained upright in upright straight-backed chairs; struggle to stay still, clawing hands grappling arm rests to brace; their skin-shrunk rounded skulls concentrated by some inexpressive thought,
the foreseeable that has happened to them; the eyes in the struck faces of the painter’s sitters
glint of light.
‘Looking At Late Rembrandts After Leaving Dad At The Nursing Home' is copyright © Steven Matthews, 2012. It was published by Waterloo Press in Skying in 2012, and is reprinted here by permission.
Notes from Waterloo Press:
Steven Matthews's first book of poetry, Skying, emerges from an engagement with the landscape and seascape of North Essex and the Suffolk border, where Steven Matthews was brought up, and which he has always been drawn back to. It combines moments of illumination with voices remaking family and local stories, and so tunes into oral histories of place. The book’s often local voices associate themselves with, but also diverge amazingly from, national versions of trauma and threat. There are also poems here about childhood, being a father, and about grief and loss. But the collection also sets those particular voices within and against the history of poetry and art which has been similarly engaged. A sequence, ‘Places of Writing’, and related work, explore the relation of a gallery of writers to their locale. As the title of the collection, which uses a word coined by the artist indicates, the painter John Constable stands as presiding spirit behind Skying’s related concerns.
Steven Matthews was born and brought up in Colchester, Essex. Various of his poems have been published in magazines and journals including Stand, Versus, Kunapipi, Oxford Magazine, Poetry and Audience, and Moving Worlds. He has been a regular reviewer for Poetry Review, and Poetry Editor for Dublin Quarterly Magazine. The former Director of the Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre, Steven Matthews is now Professor in English Literature (Modernism) at the University of Reading.
Waterloo Press offers readers an eclectic list of the most stimulating poetry from the UK and abroad. We promote what's good of its kind, finding a commonality amongst the poets we publish. Our beautifully designed books range from lost modernist classics, translations and vibrant collections by the best British poets around. Our translation list is growing to 25% of our output. Waterloo Press brings radical and marginalised voices to the fore, mirroring their aesthetics in outstanding book design, including dust jackets; large font; and original artwork. With its growing list, Waterloo Press promotes at last a permeable membrane between contemporary schools, quite apart from archiving a few sacred vessels for good. WP fosters a poetics based on innovation with respect for craft, bloody-mindedness and as founder Sonja Ctvrtecka put it: ‘An elegant unstuffiness - a seagull perched on a Porsche.’ Now the major poetry publisher of the south-east, we also believe strongly in a community of like-minded independent presses. We’ve become a land.
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