Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 18 April 2016

  • Denominations

    You’ll paint me gross –
    gripping my shins,
    retching silver coins.

    Let me put you straight.
    All I’ve got’s loose change
    for late-night kofta stands

    outside the Lions’ Gate,
    where tote-bag tourists
    sip tart tamarind

    from paper cups.
    On Friday night I saw the city
    wane and wax to pixels

    on the screens of untold
    mobile phones. From unbuilt
    minarets, muezzins hoist

    the pale Passover moon
    above the gospel

    of the Separation Wall.


    by Damian Walford Davies


    Irish literature expert (and former Director of the Poetry Centre) Dr Eóin Flannery, and Dr Donal Lowry, who has published widely on Irish foreign policy, are leading a one-day short course on Saturday 14 May at Oxford Brookes: 'One Hundred Years On: 1916–2016. The Easter Rising: its History and Literature, Then and Now'. For more details, visit the Brookes website.

    Don't miss Modern Poetry in Translation's 50th anniversary study day in ‎Oxford on 14 May. A really spectacular programme is on offer with writers and translators like Patrick McGuinness, Karen Leeder, David Constantine, Jamie McKendrick and Sasha Dugdale. There will be another translation day in Cambridge on 30 April.

    ‘Denominations’ is copyright © Damian Walford Davies, 2015. It is reprinted from Judas (Seren, 2015) by permission of Seren Books

    Damian Walford Davies is Professor of English and Head of the School of English, Communication & Philosophy at Cardiff University. He has published two previous collections with Seren. A literary critic, theorist, and editor as well as a poet, he has published widely on Romantic-period literature and culture and on the two literatures of Wales.

    Writing about Damian Walford Davies’ book, Judas, Tiffany Atkinson comments: ‘An apocryphal tour de force, Damian Walford Davies’s Judas is a long-overdue mythobiography of the infamous Iscariot. With dazzling linguistic precision, mordant wit and unflinching humanity, these poems turn the familiar story inside out, exposing not just the many facets it has accrued from two thousand years’ telling, but how the veil between past and present, love and betrayal, magic and miracle is fine, and easily torn. Walk with this shadowy figure past the tombs, soldiers and late-night kofta stands of a shimmering, timeless Jerusalem, and be prepared to hear the other side.’ You can read more about Judas on the Seren website, and an interview with Damian Walford Davies here.

    Seren is an independent publisher based in Wales. Founded in 1981 to publish poetry discovered by the then-editor of Poetry Wales magazine, Cary Archard. Under Managing Editor Mick Felton the press now publishes a broad range of fiction, non-fiction, and criticism. Amy Wack has been Poetry Editor at Seren for over 20 years. During that time, poets published by Seren have won or been shortlisted for the Costa, Forward, T.S. Eliot and Aldeburgh Prizes. ‪You can find out more about Seren on the publisher’s 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.