Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 9 June 2014

  • Puddle

    Rain-junk.
    Sky-litter
    Some May mornings
    Atlantic storm-horses
    clatter this way,
    shedding their iron shoes
    in potholes and ruts,
    shoes that melt
    into steel-grey puddles
    then settle and set
    into cloudless mirrors
    by noon.

    The shy deer
    of the daytime moon
    comes to sip from the rim.
    But the sun
    likes the look of itself,
    stares all afternoon,
    its hard eye
    lifting the sheen
    from the glass,
    turning the glaze
    to rust.
    Then we don’t see things
    for dust.

    by Simon Armitage

    On Wednesday 18 June from 6-7pm at The Poetry Society, Betterton Street, London, Jenny Wong, PhD student at the Department of English and Modern Languages at Oxford Brookes, presents a reading by Chinese poets Jiang Tao and Ming Di. The event is free to attend. Visit thePoetry Society website for more details.

    The Dermot Healy Poetry Competition has just been launched by the Five Glens Arts Festival and is now open for submissions. The deadline for entries is 15th July 2014. The prize money is 1,000 euro, and shortlisted entrants will beinvited to read their work at the festival. To find out how to enter, visit the Five Glens website.


    'Puddle' is copyright © Simon Armitage, 2013, and reprinted from his book Stanza Stones (2013) by permission of Enitharmon Books.

    Notes from Enitharmon

    Simon Armitage lives in Yorkshire, has taught at universities in this country and the United States, and is currently Professor of Poetry at the University of Sheffield. He has published nine full-length collections of poetry, including Selected Poems and Seeing Stars, as well as notable translations of medieval verse such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. He has published two novels and three works of non-fiction; Walking Home – the prose account of his walk along the Pennine Way as a latter-day troubadour was a Sunday Times bestseller. Armitage also writes extensively for radio, television and film, is a regular broadcaster and presenter with the BBC, is the lyricist and singer with the band the Scaremongers, and has written several theatre pieces including dramatisations of both the Odyssey and the Iliad. He is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes, most recently the Keats-Shelley Prize and the Cholmondeley Award, and in 2010 was honoured with the CBE for services to poetry. You can read more about Armitage’s work on his website.

    The newly drawn Stanza Stones Trail runs through forty-seven miles of the Pennine region, some of the most strikingly varied landscape in the world. The terrain bears the deep scars of industrial exploitation, as well as those less obvious: the signs left by a hundred local generations are carved into the region’s abounding rocks. Simon Armitage was born and raised here, in the village of Marsden, and in 2012 he was commissioned through the Ilkley Literature Festival to write site-specific poetry. Armitage composed six new poems on his Pennine walks and, with the help of local expert Tom Lonsdale and letter-carver Pip Hall, found extraordinary, secluded sites and saw his words carved into stone. This book is a record of that journey, containing the poems and the accounts of Lonsdale and Hall. Read more about it on the Enitharmon website.

    The many layers of stone and sediment found beneath the surface of the rock reflect the drama of the landscape itself. Covered in decades of industrial soot and grime, the colours released by the carver's tools will likely never return to shades of black and grey, but become a small reminder of the changes that our natural environment undergoes, and the marks, small and large, of humankind. You can learn more about the Stanza Stones Project, and watch a short film about it, on the Ilkley Literature Festival website, and listen to Simon Armitage discussing the book with Guardian Books Editor Claire Armitstead on the Guardian’s website.

    'William Blake dreamed up the original Enitharmon as one of his inspiriting, good, female daemons, and his own spirit as a poet-­artist, printer-publisher still lives in the press which bears the name of his creation. Enitharmon is a rare and wonderful phenomenon, a press where books are shaped into artefacts of lovely handiwork as well as communicators of words and worlds. The writers and the artists published here over the last forty-­five years represent a truly historic gathering of individuals with an original vision and an original voice, but the energy is not retrospective: it is growing and new ideas enrich the list year by year. Like an ecologist who manages to restock the meadows with a nearly vanished species of wild flower or brings a rare pair of birds back to found a colony, this publisher has dedicatedly and brilliantly made a success of that sharply endangered species, the independent press.' (Marina Warner.)

    You can sign up to the mailing list on the Enitharmon site to receive a newsletter with special offers, details of readings & events and new titles and Enitharmon's Poem of the Month. You can also find Enitharmon on Facebook.

    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.