Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 21 February 2017

  • The Snow Bunting

    A mason times his mallet
    to a lark’s twitter

                Basil Bunting Briggflatts

    Big Voice Ben sings the Monday Morning song to Susie.
    Finn Balor hits the coup de grace to pin Samoa Joe.
    Chloe Sevigny is 41 years of age. I know Timothy Hutton
    starred in The Falcon and the Snowman, which was directed
    by Snow Bunting.

    Two birds, one one legged, the other bipedal, sing.
    One’s song operatic, the other popular.
    I own no birds, and so feel terrible to find that worm
    in the road, inching towards cars near Harlesden.
    What waste, they need those nutrients in the Arctic.

    The Snow Bunting holds a sign that says Don’t Leap.
    It’s fire-born in a box, the enemy of salamanders
    and as it enter the galaxy, its main thing is stolen
    from the Black Library.

    One day you'll work for me says the Snow Bunting,
    on the way out. So the other bird pursues,
    and punches the Snow Bunting.
    Why couldn’t it just have kept its mouth shut?

    The Snow Bunting stars in movies with the most impossible
    combination of words, like Black Dawn, Half Past Dead,
    and Point Blank. It runs like a little girl covered in bees,
    but you can't say anything about that.

    What’s the best cartoon to watch when you’re smoking
    your home made cigarettes, Snow Bunting?
    The call is the distinctive rippling whistle
    of the monogamous snowflake, arctic specialist.
    It’s not your friend. You don’t know anything about it.

    by SJ Fowler

    This weekend, three of our students will take part in The University Camarade, curated by this week’s poet, SJ Fowler. Jennifer Wong, Abigail J. Villarroel, and Christina Murphy have been paired up with other students from different universities to produce collaborative poetry that they will perform this Saturday 25 February at Rich Mix in London from 7.30pm. This promises to be a very exciting event and it is free to attend! You can find more information about it on the Rich Mix website.

    ‘The Snow Bunting’ is copyright © SJ Fowler, 2016. It is reprinted from Birdbook IV: Saltwater and Shore (Sidekick Books, 2016) by permission of Sidekick Books

    SJ Fowler is a poet and artist. He has published five collections of poetry and been commissioned by Tate Modern, BBC Radio 3, The British Council, Tate Britain and Wellcome Collection. He is the poetry editor of 3am magazine, Lecturer at Kingston University, teaches at Tate Modern and is the curator of the Enemies project. He is a high functioning vegan bear, befriends birds and will protect their eggs with electric technologies. Currently he is writing an autobiography of the famous Hyde Park Mud Crow. Find out more about his work on his website.

    Notes from Sidekick Books:

    With this poem we continue our selection of poems from Sidekick Books’ four volumes of Birdbooks. In 2009, with two micro-compendiums under their belt, Kirsten Irving and Jon Stone, the editors at Sidekick, discussed the idea of a book of bird poetry – but one in which less well known species were on equal terms with the popular ones. There are dozens of poems about herons, eagles, ravens and nightingales, not so many about the whimbrel, the ruff, the widgeon or the hobby. Paper-cut artist Lois Cordelia was recruited to give the series its distinctive covers, and over 150 artists and illustrators were commissioned over six years to complete the series. The first volume is now in its second printing. Find out more about the Birdbook series on the Sidekick website.

    Sidekick Books is a cross-disciplinary, collaborative poetry press run by Kirsten Irving and Jon Stone. Started in 2009 by the ex-communicated alchemist Dr Fulminare, the press has produced themed anthologies and team-ups on birds, video games, Japanese monsters and everything in between. Sidekick Books titles are intended as charms, codestones and sentry jammers, to be dipped into in times of unease. You can follow Sidekick’s work on the press’s website and via Twitter.

    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.