Archive for September, 2016

Friday Poem – ‘What the Dead Don’t Know’, Anne-Marie Fyfe

September 23, 2016

Seren Books Blog

Our Friday Poem this week is taken from Anne-Marie Fyfe’s latest collection, House of Small Absences.

House of small absencesAnne-Marie Fyfe’s poems have long dwelt on the role that the spaces we inhabit, the places in which we find security, play in our lives: House of Small Absences is an observation window into strange, unsettling spaces—a deserted stage-set, our own personalised ‘museum’, a Piedmont albergo, underground cities, Midtown roof-gardens, convent orchards, houseboats, a foldaway circus, a Romanian sleeper-carriage—the familiar rendered uncanny through the distorting lenses of distance and life’s exigencies, its inevitable lettings-go…

What the Dead Don’t Know

Grows quickly, daily, from the perimeter
of a postage stamp, until it’s twice the size
of Norway, and growing fast.

What the deceased can’t understand
is why they don’t still hear from us
day-by-day, hour-by-hour.

What the departed don’t see
is how the lead story has moved on.

What the dead won’t say

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‘On Laundry Day’ by Florence Lenaers

September 23, 2016

INDIGO DREAMS PAMPHLET PRIZE 2016 Closing Date: 14 October 2016

September 22, 2016

Abegail Morley


Details: Two winners will receive a royalty publishing contract from award-winning Indigo Dreams and receive 20 copies of their poetry pamphlet Submission: Full poetry pamphlet up to 30 pages 36 lines max inc line breaks.

Entry Fee: £15 per block of poems.


All entries must be accompanied by cheque to correct amount made payable to ‘IDP’ or via PayPal.

See full submission rules at

Postal submissions to

Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize, 24 Forest Houses, Halwill,

Beaworthy, Devon, EX21 5UU

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10 of the Best Morning Poems Everyone Should Read

September 21, 2016

Interesting Literature

The best poems for morning 

Dawn, morning, sunrise: these are perennial themes of English poetry. From beautiful aubades to morning prayers, English literature is ready to rouse us from slumber with cheering, inspiring, moving, and thought-provoking poems about the dawn. So let’s rise and shine with some of English literature’s best poems about the morning, the finest poems about dawn, the most classic poems about sunrise. We’ll start by travelling back more than half a millennium…

Anonymous, ‘A Medieval Morning Prayer’. Let’s begin our whistle-stop tour of the best morning poems in the fifteenth century, with a prayer thanking the Lord for seeing us through the night all right and keeping us away from the Devil.

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10 of the Best Poems about London

September 21, 2016

Interesting Literature

The greatest London poems

Poetry is perhaps more readily associated with the natural world and the countryside than the world of smog and streets, shops and tower blocks, that we call the city. But throughout the history of English literature, famous poets have been drawn to the city of London as a subject for poetry – and so below we have chosen ten of the best poems about London, from the Middle Ages to the modern age. What do you think are the finest London poems?

William Dunbar, ‘To the City of London’. ‘Soveraign of cities, semeliest in sight’: so the Scottish poet William Dunbar (c. 1460-c. 1530) addresses London in this poem in praise of the capital. Nearly 500 years before Prince Charles disparagingly referred to the extension to the National Gallery as a ‘monstrous carbuncle’, Dunbar was favourably describing the whole city as a ‘myghty carbuncle’…

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Forward Prizes….tomorrow night

September 19, 2016

Abegail Morley


See the nation’s most coveted poetry prizes awarded live on stage.

Between the prize givings, hear readings from the ten collections chosen by the Forward judges from poetry published in the UK and the Republic of Ireland over the last 12 months.

Now in their 25th year, the Forward Prizes remain dedicated to heralding fresh new voices as well as commemorating famous names. This year’s judges are Liz Berry, Don Share, George Szirtes and Tracey Thorn, chaired by Malika Booker.

This year’s shortlists are:

The Forward Prize for Best Collection (£15,000)
Vahni Capildeo – Measures of Expatriation (Carcanet)
Ian Duhig – The Blind Roadmaker (Picador Poetry)
Choman Hardi – Considering the Women (Bloodaxe Books)
Alice Oswald – Falling Awake (Cape Poetry)
Denise Riley – Say Something Back (Picador Poetry)

The Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection (£5,000)
Nancy Campbell – Disko Bay (Enitharmon Press)
Ron Carey – DISTANCE (Revival…

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Lifesaving Poems: Sean O’Brien’s ‘Before’

September 18, 2016

Anthony Wilson


To safe and almost universal silence I published How Far From Here is Home?(Stride) a few days before Christmas in 1996. The book did well, selling out its print run in a little over two years. For a début book of poems to do that in the pre-internet, social media age looks to me now like a miracle.

Rupert Loydell of Stride did a very good job of selling the book pre-publication, on a slight discount, to a subscription list of friends, family and anyone else who knew me.  Not only did this give Stride a bit of necessary cash flow in advance of paying the printer, it also meant we were up on the deal before the book hit the shelves as it were. (Spoiler alert: I never actually saw the book in a bookshop).

As Rupert was fond of telling me: ‘You won’t sell anything at Waterstone’s…

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From the archives: ‘Results’, by Siân Hughes

September 18, 2016

Friday Poem – ‘VII’ from Batu-Angas, Anne Cluysenaar

September 16, 2016

Seren Books Blog

In celebration of the brief heatwave that has hit the UK, we are taking this week’s Friday Poem from Anne Cluysenaar’s tropical Batu-Angas: Envisioning Nature with Alfred Russel Wallace.

Batu-Angas Anne CluysenaarAlfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) was one of the most famous scientists of the 19th century and is best known today as the co-discoverer, with Charles Darwin, of the theory of evolution through natural selection. Wallace’s life and work are the inspiration for this beautifully considered collection of poems. Why the title? As Anne Cluysenaar explains in her Foreword:

It was during an acute bout of malaria on the volcanic island of Ternate that it ‘flashed upon’ Wallace how life evolves through natural selection … From the local language of Ternate itself, Wallace had borrowed the phrase ‘batu-angas’ to describe the ‘burnt rocks’ or cooled lava he saw there. The phrase struck me as as suitable title for this sequence…

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A Short Analysis of T. S. Eliot’s ‘Preludes’

September 15, 2016

Interesting Literature

A summary of a classic early Eliot poem

‘Preludes’ is a series of four short poems written by T. S. Eliot early in his career and published in his first collection, Prufrock and Other Observations, in 1917. In the following post we intend to sketch out a brief summary and analysis of ‘Preludes’, exploring the meaning of these short masterpieces and their significance for Eliot’s later poetry. You can read ‘Preludes’ here.

The first place to start with a summary of ‘Preludes’ is with the title. Eliot, who would effectively end his poetry career with a long work named Four Quartets, was fond of musical titles for his poems. A ‘prelude’ – literally ‘before the play’ – is a brief musical composition that is played before the main piece. This suggests that these poems are small-scale: as well as being short, they are seeking to capture something…

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