This is the sixth in our Oxford Poets podcast series, which features interviews and discussions with local writers. The next episode will feature a special recording made of a reading by Jo Shapcott, winner of the Costa Book of the Year Award in 2011 for her collection Of Mutability.
The theme music for the podcast, entitled Leaving for the North, was composed by Aneurin Rees, and played by Aneurin Rees (guitar) and Rosalie Tribe (violin).
Claire Trévien was born in 1985 in Brittany. She is a poet and critic, who completed a PhD on French Revolutionary prints in 2012. Her début collection The Shipwrecked House (Penned in the Margins, 2013) was longlisted for a Guardian First Book Award. Her writing has been published in a wide variety of literary magazines including Under The Radar, Poetry Salzburg Review, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Warwick Review, Nth Position, and Fuselit. She has published an e-chapbook of poetry with Silkworms Ink, Patterns of Decay, and a pamphlet, Low-Tide Lottery with Salt Publishing. She is the editor of Sabotage Reviews, co-editor of Verse Kraken (https://versekraken.com), and co-organizer of Penning Perfumes. You can read more about it at the Penned in the Margins site.
'Whales' is copyright © Claire Trévien, 2013. It is reprinted by permission of Penned in the Margins from The Shipwrecked House (Penned in the Margins, 2013).
Penned in the Margins is an independent publisher and live literature producer specialising in poetry and based in East London. Founded in 2004, the company has produced numerous literature and performance events, toured several successful live literature shows, published over twenty-five books, and continues to run innovative poetry, arts and performance projects in the capital and beyond. Their recent anthology, Adventures in Form, was awarded a Special Commendation by the Poetry Book Society and was chosen as one of 50 Best Summer Reads by The Independent. You can visit the Penned in the Margins website here to sign up to the mailing list.
Whales lived under our house,
making the hinges rock, splitting cups and cheeks.
Stray socks melted in their comb-mouths
their fins sliced through conversations,
we found bones in our cups of tea.
Most of the time they just wanted to play
bounced against bookshelves, snorted leaks,
threw bodies across the room.
No one believe me of course,
the carpet looked too smooth to hide a mammal.
At night, I’d listen to their song
beat through the floorboards
like slashes of headlights.
For days they’d circle the house
take a dive into the cellar, press the doorbell
and run, I’d sometimes forget then trip
over the carcass of one beached
in the gutter.