Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 27 May 2020

  • House, Kept


    The oil tank sputters out of time
    with the radio rumbling out its soft
    jazz provocations, out of sync
    with the slo-mo drip in the roof
    (which soaks ceiling tiles and
    makes them fragile as sandcastles).
    The house has been stripped
    and deloused like an inmate, but
    still the mice leave their turds in
    the cookware. It’s been gutted
    and prepped for sale, and again,
    but who wants to buy a shell,
    a mean ghost? Even full of couches
    from 1985, it’s empty. The lone
    kid who stayed turns the radio
    up full blast, smells old Avon
    tubes she finds, watches the spot
    on the kitchen ceiling as it spreads.


    by Sadie McCarney


    The Poetry Centre is delighted to announce the online publication of the e-anthology ‘My teeth don’t chew on shrapnel’: an anthology of poetry by military veterans. This anthology features exciting, moving, and provocative work by US and UK veterans who were participants in workshops held by the Poetry Centre in 2019-20. It also includes short essays about veterans in literature and life by Dr Jane Potter and Dr Rita Phillips, an introduction by Dr Niall Munro, and reflections on the workshop by the main facilitator, poet and researcher Susie Campbell. Susie has also provided some excellent writing prompts for anyone interested in working on their own poetry. The anthology is free to download from the Poetry Centre website and we would very much welcome your feedback! E-mail us or fill out the short form on the site.

    ‘House, Kept’ is copyright © Sadie McCarney, 2020. It is reprinted from Live Ones (tall-lighthouse, 2020) by permission of tall-lighthouse. You can read more about the book here.

    Live Ones reads like a tomboy with its pockets full of rhinestones, placing them lovingly on the graves of the dead. The poems in Live Ones are intensely honest, photographic in detail yet frequently surreal. This rewarding debut collection grapples with mourning, coming of age, and queer identity against the backdrop of small-town and rural Canada. According to poet Lily Blacksell, it is 'work scratched with wit, and warmth where you least expect it.’

    Find out more about the book and hear Sadie read her sequence ‘Steeltown Songs’ on the tall-lighthouse website.

    Sadie McCarney is a Canadian poet who grew up in Nova Scotia. She now lives on Prince Edward Island where she also writes fiction. Her work has been widely published in a variety of publications including Plenitude, Grain, Prairie Fire, The Malahat Review, The Puritan, Room and The Best of The Best Canadian Poetry in English among other places. Read more about her work here and follow Sadie on Twitter.

    tall-lighthouse has a strong reputation for publishing exciting new poetry, being the first to publish Sarah Howe, Helen Mort, Liz Berry, Jay Bernard, Ailbhe Darcy, Rhian Edwards, Vidyan Ravinthiran, Emily Berry and many others.

    Learn more about the press on the tall-lighthouse website and follow the press on Facebook and 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.