Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 26 March 2020

  • July 24th

    Eighty-six years ago today
    the Serpentine opened to women
    to swim without fear of arrest 

    I’m lost on the Heath searching
    for these ponds, it’s thirty-degrees
    in Hampstead, what’s with all the beards? 

    Two girls in front are talking
    about their exes, how they’re okay
    now they’re with new men 

    Don’t tell me fullness is found
    from a man, I’ll shoot myself
    or dehydrate, a more feasible option 

    There’s a lot of holding of hands
    and leads, my palms are empty
    if my mother were here she’d say 

    Find a good book, easy
    for her with a husband and a spaniel
    now I’m in the water I relish 

    The freedom, no one knows I’m here
    I could just bob under (not
    to get all Virginia Woolf about it) 

    At lunchtime today we spoke
    on the phone, big literary things
    are happening for you, how apt 

    I was sat in Bloomsbury Square
    remember Southease, cider
    along the Ouse, Monk House 

    All our Sussex hours? If love
    was just lunchtimes of erudite chat
    we would have worked completely

    But I have this need to swim
    with ducks and reeds, you said
    it was sweet. It was wild

    by Roxy Dunn

    ‘July 24th’ is copyright © Roxy Dunn, 2020. It is reprinted from Big Sexy Lunch (Verve Poetry Press, 2020) by permission of Verve Poetry Press. You can read more about the pamphlet here.

    Roxy Dunn’s debut pamphlet Clowning, published by Eyewear in 2016, is their highest-selling pamphlet to date and was described by PN Review as ‘quick-fire, appealing, lit by humorous warmth.’ Her poetry has appeared in The RialtoOrbis and Ofi Press, and a selection of her poems are also printed in the anthology Podium Poets #2, published by Nasty Little Press. She lives in North London and works as an actor and writer. Follow Roxy on Twitter

    Big Sexy Lunch is an irreverent, entertaining account of millennial philosophy and relationships. Roxy Dunn’s observational wit and reflective self-doubt muse on sex, singledom, and falling in and out of love. There’s a directness and an honesty to these poems which humorously scrutinises the conflicts and contradictions of being attached to someone and our ongoing appetite for fulfilment. Read more about the pamphlet and get hold of a copy here

    Verve Poetry Press is a fairly new and already award-winning press focussing hard on meeting a need in Birmingham – a need for the vibrant poetry scene here in Brum to find a way to present itself to the poetry world via publication. Co-founded by Stuart Bartholomew and Amerah Saleh, it is publishing poets from all corners of the city - poets that represent the city’s varied and energetic qualities and will communicate its many poetic stories.

    Added to this is a colourful pamphlet series featuring poets who have previously performed at our sister festival - and a poetry show series which captures the magic of longer poetry performance pieces by poets such as Polarbear and Matt Abbott. Like the festival, we will strive to think about poetry in inclusive ways and embrace the multiplicity of approaches towards this glorious art. Find out more here.

    In 2019 the press was voted Most Innovative Publisher at the Saboteur Awards and won the Publisher’s Award for Poetry Pamphlets at the Michael Marks Awards.

    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.