When we gather we greet each otherby lifting tentatively one hand to one eye.We meet in darkened rooms, quietly;share no wine. Nobody speaksbut often our voices join to moanthe migraineurs psalm, low and holy.
The hours before fizz brilliantly, scentedwith burnt toast and oranges, petrol, sparkingfireworks, fireflies, stars. Everyonedons a halo, everyone’s soulshines out through their pores, whether unnaturallysmall or wrapped in a skin of water.
We sleep the night together, slip offone by one on waking froma dream we pass between us, in whichthe structure of the sky is revealed. We makeno dates, but palm to temple, salutein a migraineur’s kiss, our transcendence.
by Polly Atkin
There are two events to draw your attention to this week.
This week's poet, Polly Atkin, is one of a number of scholars
contributing to Shifting Territories, a conference on modern and contemporary poetics of place, which is taking place on Wednesday and Thursday this week at the Institute of English Studies
in London. As well as panels of papers responding to poetry and place,
the conference features readings by Jo Shapcott and David Morley, a
keynote paper by Eóin Flannery, a workshop by Steven Matthews, and an
evening event in association with the British Academy and the Royal
Society of Literature with Alice Oswald and Hugh Haughton. Find out more
about the conference here.
Tomorrow at 7pm in Headington Hill Hall, Oxford Brookes,
the Poetry Centre presents '"The Cheerful Companion": Poetry, Music
& Performance in Eighteenth-Century Poetic Miscellanies.' The event
will consist of a series of short talks, readings, and music, followed
by an interactive session in which participants will be able to
experience an authentic eighteenth-century sewing session hosted by
Nicole Pohl from Oxford Brookes. All are welcome and you can find more
information about the event here.
'The Glorious Fellowship of Migraineurs' is copyright © Polly Atkin, 2013. It is reprinted from Shadow Dispatches, published by Seren Books in 2013.
Notes from Seren:
Polly Atkin was born in Nottingham in 1980, lived in
London for a number of years before moving to Cumbria in 2006 to
research poems about place. Widely published in journals, various of her
poems have been placed first in the Troubadour, and Kent and Sussex
Competitions, been commended in the National Sonnet, McLellan, Basil
Bunting, Wigtown, and Troubadour Competitions, and shortlisted for the
Wasafiri New Writing Prize. Her pamphlet bone song (Clitheroe:
Aussteiger, 2008) was shortlisted for the 2009 Michael Marks Pamphlet
Award. She currently teaches English Literature and Creative Writing
part-time at Lancaster University. 'The Glorious Fellowship of
Migraineurs' comes from Polly Atkin's MsLexia prize-winning pamphlet, Shadow Dispatches.
Writing about her work, the poet Paul Farley has commented: 'Polly
Atkin's first short collection is shot through with wit and imaginative
invention and an attractive acuity. For the approaching reader: this
book is truly available.' You can read more about Shadow Dispatches at Seren's site here, and follow Polly Atkin on Twitter here.
Seren Books ('Seren' means 'star' in Welsh) is based
in Bridgend, South Wales. Originally conceived by Cary Archard and
Dannie Abse as an offshoot of Poetry Wales magazine in the
latter’s garage in Ogmore-by-Sea in the early 80s, under Managing Editor
Mick Felton the press has gone from strength to strength and has
published a wide range of titles including fiction (which under Editor
Penny Thomas has seen the Booker-nominated novel by Patrick McGuinness, The Last Hundred Days, and an acclaimed novella series based on the medieval Welsh tales from the Mabinogion) and non-fiction (including literary criticism such as the new John Redmond title Poetry and Privacy, as well as sumptuous art books like the collaboration between photographer David Hurn and poet John Fuller, Writing the Picture).
Seren's poetry list, edited by Amy Wack since the early 90s, has
produced T.S. Eliot Prize-nominated titles by Deryn Rees-Jones and
Pascale Petit, Costa winner John Haynes, and a large list of Forward
Prize winners and nominees, as well as continuing to publishing classic
Welsh writers. Most recently, Seren has also added Irish and American
writers to its list.
For more details about Seren, visit the publisher's website, where there is a blog about Seren's news and events. You can also find Seren on Facebook, on Twitter, and on YouTube, where there are videos of a number of poets reading from their work.
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