Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 21 October 2013

  • Holes

    I pressed the button. No-one came. The police could not find me in
    the dark. They were also afraid of death… it might come for them
    instead. They waited behind a screen of trees, for the moon to
    uncover itself, silver the edges of their sirens, their dark cars. The
    pale pebbles in the driveway, left to imagine the river that used to
    wet them-they must tire of always staring up, sightless and at the
    mercy of everything. The police step on them. They creep only so
    close, but no closer. My son is dead on the ground. Someone close
    his eyes. But I am ignored in this as I have been with so many other
    things. His blood is cold now, blackening, drying up, stiffening the
    fabric of his jacket, soaking into the soil. There are holes in him I
    know nothing about, nothing to do with the boy I delivered to the
    world, my gift, small and pure. The dark is blue and cold. The trees
    conceal susurrations in their high skirts, branches uplifted like arms,
    wailing whispers… Black cars, old scars, my son's open mouth,
    empty shotgun shells whistling smoke white dancing up and out

    by Ivy Alvarez

    There is an exciting multi-poet reading taking place at the Jericho Tavern on Walton Street in Oxford tomorrow (Tuesday 22nd October). The evening will feature Fiona Sampson (former associate of the Poetry Centre), Patrick McGuinness, Jenny Lewis, and Claire Trévien, who featured in a recentPoetry Centre podcast. Tickets cost £5/£4 on the door, doors and bar open 6pm, and you are advised to arrive early! You can find more details about the event from thewebsite of Gareth Prior, who is the organizer of the reading.

    'Holes' is copyright © Ivy Alvarez, 2013. It is reprinted from Disturbance, published by Seren Books in 2013.

    Notes from Seren: 

    Ivy Alvarez is the author of Mortal (Red Morning Press, USA, 2006), her first poetry collection. Her poems appear in anthologies, journals and new media in many countries, including Poetry Wales, New Welsh Review, Roundyhouse and Red Poets, as well as Best Australian Poems (2009), A Face to Meet the Faces (University of Akron Press, 2012), The Guardian (online, 2012), Prairie Schooner (US, 2012) and Junctures (NZ, 2010), with individual poems translated into Russian, Spanish, Japanese and Korean. A MacDowell and Hawthornden Fellow thrice-shortlisted for Best Poem by fourW (Australia), both Literature Wales and the Australia Council for the Arts awarded grants towards the writing of her second collection, Disturbance, which was published this month. Born in the Philippines and raised in Australia, she became a British citizen in 2010 after living in Cardiff, Wales since 2004. Disturbance is a book-length long poem, in multiple voices, that relates the devastating consequences of a true-life case of domestic violence that leads to murder. Writing about her first collection, Denise Duhamel commented that 'Alvarez is an ambitious poet who challenges herself and her readers, while exploring the complexities of families through persona.' You can read further extracts from Disturbance on the Seren website, and follow her work via her website or on Twitter: @IvyAlvarez.

    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 Walesmagazine 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 publishers.