Tag Archives: andrew mcmillan

Poetry Carousel News




Another quick blog post with some updates about the Poetry Carousel residential course I’m running from the 7th-10th December 2018 with co-tutors Sean O’Brien, Andrew McMillan and Fiona Sampson.  I’m very happy to announce that we have the fantastic poet Rishi Dastidar as our Guest Reader.  Rishi will be joining us on the Saturday night of the course for dinner and a reading.

Rishi 20 (1) (1)

Rishi Dastidar is a fellow of The Complete Works, a consulting editor at The Rialto magazine, a member of the Malika’s Poetry Kitchen collective, and also serves as chair of the writer development organization Spread The Word. His debut collection Ticker-tape is published by Nine Arches Press, and a poem from it was included in The Forward Book of Poetry 2018.

Below you will find news of the workshops that we’ll be running over the Carousel weekend.  As you can see from the workshop blurbs, they are the usual eclectic mix, so participants really will feel like they’ve been on a carousel!

The Poetry Carousel is currently sold out – however we do sometimes get last minute cancellations.  If you’d like to be put on a waiting list, please ring Abbot Hall Hotel directly on 01539 532896.

Poetry Workshops, 2018 Poetry Carousel


The Long and the Short of It
Fiona Sampson

Does size matter? Of course not – poems come in every imaginable length, from haiku to epic. And yet of course it does – those forms do very different things. We look at scale, structure, and ways to use proportion and other numerological devices in order not to constrict but to release a poem. But don’t worry. No algebra: only music. Which as it happens is some of the theory I’ll be bringing to our workshop too.


Sean O’Brien

Think of those times when you’re walking around a city, or drinking a cup of tea, or staring down into a dim back yard. You’re doing more or less nothing, being nowhere in particular, with nothing much in mind. The world seems to be on a break. And then a door is left ajar, or a light comes on in a room seen across rooftops, and the quiet seems to listen to itself, and for no apparent reason two and two make five. We’ll be considering some poems that touch on this terrain, and writing poems of our own in order to explore it.


Making it Queer
Andrew McMillan

If we trace back the roots of a word which is now being reclaimed by the LGBTQ community, we find its origins in ideas of that which is ‘oblique’ or ‘off-centre’, that which might be ‘pervese’ or ‘odd’ and in older ideas of ‘to twist’.

During this workshop we’ll consider not the queer content of a poem, but what it might mean, more broadly, to make a poem queer, to take our poems off-centre, to make them perverse, to twist them, just slightly, so that the reader encounters them in an utterly different way.


To Look Is An Act of Choice
Kim Moore

In his book Ways of Seeing, John Berger wrote ‘We only see what we look at.  To look is an act of choice.’  During this workshop we will be exploring what happens when we change our perspective by focusing on the finer details or zooming out for the bigger picture.  What do we choose to look at in poetry, and what do we choose to avoid, and how can we explore in poetry the relationship between the things we look at and ourselves?

Guest Poets for the 2017 Poetry Carousel


Another brief interruption of the ’16 Days of Action’ posts.

With less than a week to go before the 2017 Poetry Carousel, I thought I’d reveal the mystery guest poets for this year’s course, and the dates and guest tutors for 2018.

I’m really excited that  Polly Atkin and Ian Seed will be heading to the Carousel to read for participants.  In the tradition of the Carousel, they are two very different poets – Mark Ford writes that Ian Seed is “our most brilliant exponent of that most unBritish of genres, the prose poem. Hilarious and unsettling, his beautifully controlled micro-narratives genially induct us into a world that soon turns out to be as dangerous as it is magical. His work should really come with some kind of health warning, for these poems are not only intoxicating—they are addictive.”  Polly Atkin’s poetry explores the boundaries of landscape and the body.  The Poetry Book Society said that “The remarkable poems in Basic Nest Architecture are a testament to the persistence and artistry of Polly Atkin. As well as being profoundly personal, they reach out to the modern world in all it’s complexity and diversity.”  You can find out more about Polly and Ian at the bottom of this post.

It’s going to be a brilliant weekend with a real variety of approaches to poetry explored.

On the last night of the course, we will also have some music from The Demix.

And for those of you who couldn’t get on to this year’s Poetry Carousel, I have the dates for the 2018 course, which will be taking place from the 7th-10th December 2018.   I don’t have the price yet for this weekend, but you can provisionally book a place by contacting Abbot Hall Hotel on 01539532896

I’m also really excited about the line up of guest tutors – joining me on the 2018 Poetry Carousel will be Sean O’Brien, Fiona Sampson and Andrew McMillan.  I’m expecting the 2018 Carousel to sell out pretty fast so do get in touch with the hotel if you’re interested in coming!

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Polly Atkin lives in Grasmere. Her first collection, Basic Nest Architecture, was published by Seren in February 2017. An extract from this was awarded New Writing North’s Andrew Waterhouse Prize in 2014 for ‘reflect[ing] a strong sense of place or the natural environment’. Her first pamphlet bone song (Aussteiger, 2008) was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Pamphlet Award, 2009, and second, Shadow Dispatches (Seren, 2013), won the Mslexia Pamphlet Prize, 2012. She has taught English and Creative Writing at Lancaster University, and the Universities of Strathclyde and Cumbria. She is interested in where poetry might intersect with Disability Studies and in writing about the body, in poetry and prose.

Ian Seed’s most recent publications include Identity Papers (Shearsman, 2016), The Thief of Talant (Wakefield, 2016) (the first translation into English of Pierre Reverdy’s little-known long poem, Le Voleur de Talan), and Makers of Empty Dreams (Shearsman, 2014). Identity Papers was featured by Ian McMillan on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb in 2016. Makers of Empty Dreams has been translated into Italian by Iris Hajdari and is due for publication in 2018. Ian’s work is represented in a number of anthologies, such as The Best Small Fictions 2017 (Braddock Avenue Books), The Forward Book of Poetry 2017 (Faber&Faber) and The Best British Poetry 2014 (Salt). Ian’s book of prose poems and small fictions, New York Hotel, will be published by Shearsman in 2018. The late John Ashbery commented: ‘The mystery and sadness of empty rooms, chance encounters in the street, trains traveling through a landscape of snow become magical in Ian Seed’s poems’.

Sunday/Monday poem – Paul Stephenson


I had a bit of a disaster with last night’s post.  I got back from my reading at the South Yorkshire Poetry Festival and frantically began typing, having completely forgotten what day of the week it was (yes, who knew that was possible?)  In fact the only reason I remembered at all that it was Sunday was because poet Jill Abram posted on Facebook that she was waiting up for the Sunday Poem. I got back to Suzannah Evans’ house, where I was staying for the weekend and started the blog post.  I finished it in bed and thought I’d published it, but I woke up this morning to find it had completely disappeared.  It is a mystery as usually unfinished blog posts can normally be found in a draft folder where they are automatically saved on WordPress but there was no sign of it.

I don’t suppose it was a wonderful post anyway, being written at midnight but I’m more upset because I’ve broken my resolution to try and post a poem every Sunday, so that’s annoying.  However I’m sure my readers will be forgiving and I will be back on time and organised next Sunday.

The reason I forgot what day it was is because I’ve been in Sheffield since Saturday.  I haven’t been to a Poetry Business Writing Day for at least six months and I’ve really missed going.  This is the first one in six months that I’ve actually been able to make.  I had a really nice time at the workshop and wrote a few things that I could develop into poems.  Afterwards I went with poet Lindsey Holland to get something to eat.  After dragging Lindsey around the streets of Sheffield with her heavy bags we finally found a Cafe Rouge and sat outside to have something to eat.  After Lindsey looked a bit alarmed when I asked for half a Stella, I decided to try a Hoegarden which is what she was drinking and it came with a slice of lemon – my first time having lager with a lemon in so I am now, surely, officially Very Posh.

Afterwards we headed over to the Open Mic at the South Yorkshire Poetry Festival, hosted by James Giddings.  I was a bit worried as two minutes before the open mic was due to start, there were only about four people in the audience, then suddenly lots of young people appeared as if by magic and the room filled up.  James was a great MC – very funny and spontaneous and I really enjoyed the two poems that he started and finished the night with.

On Sunday Suzy and I went for a walk through the various parks of Sheffield which seem to just keep going and going forever.  We both got a bit carried away and managed to break Suzy whose ‘fascist foot’ (her words not mine) started to hurt.  I would love to say I gave her a firemans lift/piggy back to the flat but sadly no, she had to limp back unaided.

I was reading in the last night of the festival with Andrew McMillan and Ian McMillan.    I don’t know which of the two was more excited about seeing the advance copies of Andrew’s collection.  Andrew hadn’t even seen it – in fact he had to buy a copy of his own book so he could read from it.  This seems to happen to poets a lot – the books arriving in the nick of time I mean.  Anyway, the book is very beautiful and has a beautiful naked man on the cover which Andrew tells me is Definitely Not Him.

It was also interesting hearing Andrew and Ian reading together.  They obviously are very different in their writing styles and their approach to poetry but I think they have some common ground as well.  Andrew’s first collection is about masculinity and exploring masculinity.  Ian says he likes writing about language and politics, but he didn’t mention masculinity, but I think a lot of his work does explore it as well, but in a different way.  I loved Ian’s poems about someone who lives near him called ‘Norman’ and would love to see a whole pamphlet of Norman poems.  I got to see quite a few friends that I haven’t seen for ages – lovely Noel Williams and Jim Carruth were there in the audience which made me feel less nervous.

On Friday Brewery Poets put on a reading at The Brewery in Kendal.  The guest poets were Andrew Forster, Jane Routh and Ron Scowcroft who were all excellent as expected.  Two of the young writers from Dove Cottage Young Poets came along to the reading as well.  It was lovely to hear some new poems from Andrew and to see him getting a chance to be centre stage after all the work that he does organising poetry events and providing opportunities for other poets.  Jane Routh was the consumate professional as usual, well prepared, engaging and with a lovely calm reading style.  Ron read from his very recently published Wayleaves pamphlet – another poet that I’m hoping to nab a poem from for the blog in the next few weeks or so – I particularly liked his poems around the Falklands War.  We had the wonderful singers The Demix performing as well which seemed to go down really well with the audience.

On Wednesday I had my first live chat with my Poetry School online workshop group.  I decided to make handwritten notes on the poems and then touchtype comments during the live chat which I think worked ok except that it was quite full on and I couldn’t take my fingers off the keyboard.  I’m going to try a combination of cut and paste and touchtyping this week and see how I go.  They are a great group though and I’ve just had a peek at a few new poems that they’ve written for Assignment 2 and some revised versions of poems that they have written after getting feedback and I’ve been blown away again!

Before I tell you about the Sunday Poem, I want to remind you all about my launch which is taking place on Thursday, May 28th at 7.30pm in the Supper Room of the Coronation Hall in Ulverston.  It is free to get in but please bring some food because we will be having a ‘Jacobs Join’ after the poetry and before the Soul Survivors start playing.

I’ve been having anxiety dreams about my launch and when I say dreams, I mean actual nightmares about nobody turning up.  Does this happen to other poets?  When the pamphlet came out, it was at the Wordsworth Trust so all I had to do was turn up but this time I’ve organised it, which has meant it has grown into an epic poetry-food-soul night evening of course.  I hope if you are within striking distance of Ulverston that you are coming – it will be lovely to see you and if you’re not, please don’t tell me as it might bring on another nightmare.  I know it’s the polite thing to do, but I’d rather not know!

Enough about me – I’d like to tell you about today’s Sunday Poem which is by the lovely Paul Stephenson, who I met through the Writing School at the Poetry Business.  Paul was born and grew up in Cambridge, and currently lives in Paris.  He studied modern languages and linguistics then European Studies.  In 2013/14 he took part in the Jerwood/Arvon Mentoring Scheme.  His poems have appeared in Poetry London, The Rialto, The North, Magma, Smiths Knoll and The Interpreter’s House.  In 2012 he was placed second in the Troubadour International Poetry Prize.  In 2014 he was chosen as one of the Aldeburgh 8 poets.  He teaches at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.  If you would like to find out more information about Paul you can go to http://www.paulstep.com

Paul’s pamphlet Those People was a winner in this year’s Poetry Business pamphlet competition.  You can order Paul’s pamphlet from The Poetry Business.

I have two poems that have the word ‘people’ in the title.  The ones in my collection are My People‘ and Some People and I was instantly drawn to Paul’s title poem which is ‘Those People’.  I like any poems that deal with ‘people’ as a generic group.  Paul’s poem is playing with stereotyping when he asks in the first line ‘What are they called? Those people who turn up/unfashionably early’.  I love the direct way he addresses the reader in this poem.  It feels like all the way through he is looking us in the eye, talking to the reader and he continues to qualify himself in the poem: ‘I mean the opposite of stragglers’ and ‘I’m talking eager beavers’ – each of these lines is an attempt to define what he really means, or to find a word for ‘Those People’.  I think the poem is funny – it made me laugh out loud when Paul read it, but I also think there is a sadness and loneliness in it as well: ‘Those folk who don’t often get to go to parties’ which then made me feel a little mean for laughing.  I like poems like this that upset our expectations, or make us feel one way and then another.

I really enjoyed the whole of Paul’s pamphlet.  All the way through he is experimenting with language and form – I think it’s really exciting stuff.  If I had to pick three other favourite poems in the pamphlet they would be Do You Have Any Questions, Gare du Midi and The Pull

I hope you enjoy the Sunday/Monday poem and apologies again that it did not arrive yesterday.

Those People by Paul Stepheson

What are they called? Those people who turn up
unfashionably early, too premature for it to be a party,
just a room full of drinks and square metres of carpet.
I mean the opposite of stragglers, not the hard core
with staying power and no home to go to, or the dregs
of the party who’ve no intention of going anywhere
but love to linger, end up getting chucked out into
the night, or if they’re lucky and it’s a good party,
into a warm sunrise. I’m talking eager beavers,
the party-goers who make a punctual appearance,
greeted at the door by hosts running around with
nibbles still in cupboards and half their face on,
the guests who arrive bang on and get shown through
to hover admiring the smoothness of wallpaper,
which they do politely, not entering yet into the spirit
of the party, swaying by a bucket of orange punch.
Those folk who don’t often get to go to parties,
so have it marked fluorescent for weeks in their diary
and make a mission of what to wear, but never sure
of the dress code, opt to play it safe and wear jeans.
Those characters who eight hours later could be
hitting Havana, sipping mojitos and dancing mambo
and rumba and salsa merengue with dollar-hungry
doppelgangers of Che Guevara in desperate need
of mechanical parts for dilapidated Dodges and
Chevrolets, but hey, instead revel in the refuge
of empty strip-lit galley kitchens, to sit on a ledge
of marbled Formica, slurring into sausage rolls
and spilling their life, is there a name for them?

Sunday Poem – Andrew Elliott


This week poet Andrew McMillan tweeted “If people couldn’t TELL other people they were a poet but could only sit and write poetry, would they still want to be a poet?” This first of all made me laugh, but I think it touches on important things.  And then I read a wonderful post today from Helena Nelson about being a publisher, but more than that, about what it means to be a poet.  You can find the blog post here, and it really is worth reading
Helena Nelson is currently deep in the submissions window for Happenstance, which closes on Tuesday.  The blog above is Number 4 on this subject and you should read them all and preferably, I guess start with Number 1, but Number 4 made my heart soar today – in a strange way.

These two things – Andrew’s tweet and Helena’s blog are connected in my mind – although I haven’t quite worked out how yet.  Regular readers (or my friends) will know I put no thought really into these blog posts – I think as I write, in a similar way to when I write poems actually.

This means my thought process isn’t always particularly well thought out – but the poet I’ve chosen to feature for this Sunday fits nicely between this tweet and Helena’s blog, both of which, I think are trying to pin down what writing poetry is, or should be about.

Andrew Elliott is an elusive poet – I couldn’t track him down online to ask him directly whether I could use one of his poems for my Sunday Poem, so I got in touch with his publisher Charles Boyle of CB Editions, who incidentally, also keeps a very interesting blog at http://sonofabook.blogspot.co.uk/

Charles very graciously said I could use Andrew’s poem from his book ‘Mortality Rate’.  I ordered this book because I have developed a bit of a crush on CB Edition poetry books.  I have bought four this year – Dan O’Brien’s ‘War Reporter’ and two by Dennis Nurske – ‘Voices Over Water’ and ‘A Night in Brooklyn’ and of course this one by Andrew Elliott – which came to my attention because it was part of the Inpress Christmas Sale.  So at the minute I have a 100% hit rate with really enjoying this publishers’ books – CB Editions has a brilliant hit rate of winning the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize as well by the way…

It turns out Andrew Elliott doesn’t really engage with social media or the internet – there are not even any pictures of him, which explains why I couldn’t track him down.  It’s a good way not to get poetry stalkers I suppose.  Not that I am one of course.

But I respect him for this privacy – although I couldn’t do it – I enjoy being around poets too much – I like going to readings – I like talking about poetry – I even like Facebook and Twitter most of the time apart from when people moan about stuff that actually has nothing to do with the act of writing – or when people over share not fond of that – but I’m going off the point – I respect Charles Boyle even more – for publishing a poet whose work he loved, probably knowing that it would be difficult to sell copies because he wasn’t active on social media.  Then again – I still managed to buy the book!  So the moral of this tale is to go to CB Editions website – don’t bother with Amazon.  Order any of their poetry books – or even their fiction actually (although I haven’t tried any of those) http://www.cbeditions.com/

But first of all you need to read this poem by Andrew Elliott – which I think is representative of the rest of the book – the poems are full of these long twisting sentences which turn back on themselves.  I would finish reading each poem and then give myself a shake and have to go back again to the beginning – which is a good sign isn’t it?

I love the long lines of this poem – and the mystery of it – when the man exclaims that the holes in the poem ‘inexplicably move’ him – I feel the same way about this poem – except it is not inexplicable – it is that last verse that touches me.  It also reminds me of the Elizabeth Bishop poem ‘Monument’ which you can find here http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-monument/

Not in the syntax of course, or the rhythm, but in that close and unflinching attention to detail – the same kind of poetic gaze that cannot be distracted – and they both have those exclamations in them which are like little bursts of emotion…and the lightbulb ‘like the soul of a man so twisted’ – isn’t that great?  I do like poems that have the word soul in generally – especially as it is one of those ‘taboo’ words that you get told not to use – not quite in the same league as ‘shard’ but coming close – this makes me want to use it more though –

If you would like to read the rest of ‘Mortality Rate’ by Andrew Elliott pop over to CB Editions and make an independent publisher very happy for the new year!

Ps – I haven’t said anything about Christmas because I can’t be bothered.  It happened.  It was windy.  There you go!  Have a great New Year’s Eve if I’m not back before then!

Installation – Andrew Elliott

In a plywood partition that stops six inches short of the ceiling
a number of holes have been bored as if in preparation for plumbing.
Each two inches in diameter, they appear to be awaiting delivery
of a consignment of urinals from China, stainless steel ones no doubt.

Let’s count how many there are…There are nine, if I’m not mistaken,
and in almost every case such pride has been taken in the work –
perhaps the bit was tungsten-tipped? – that it’s only the hole in the middle
where – due to excessive vibration? – the cheap plywood has ragged

and left a fringe of splinters which should be easy enough to make good with the help of a Stanley knife and some sandpaper, were the fitter
to feel the need though that is to make the assumption that the urinals
will arrive when they’re supposed to, the job not abandoned,

the fitter not to be told and so turn up with all his gear to find exactly
as we’ve done a plywood partition down the middle of a room
whose walls are tiled white to the top and which, having had no windows
to begin with, is supplied with light by a long-life bulb which hangs

from the ceiling on our side like the soul of a man so twisted
that he might have had something to do with the holes, been either
the man who had bored them or the man who had had them bored for him –
though when I say our I mean only the side that we’re on; we could as easily

be standing on the dark side and, standing there, find it more interesting,
the effect of the light being let in through the holes, the sense of
encroachment on the ceiling where the partition stops short, as I’ve said…
But then again partition? It tolls a bell to which another bell answers.

The holes! They inexplicably move me. I feel a great need to worship them.
I want to get down on my hands and knees.  I want to crawl towards them.
I want to put my mouth to each one of them, in particular that horribly
ragged one.  I want to whisper such things as I’ve never told anyone.

Sunday Poem – Andrew McMillan


Afternoon folks.  This is the first Sunday for a while that I’ve not been writing this at two minutes to midnight!  Today we have gale force winds and awful rain in Barrow though, so I’ve not even bothered to get dressed!  I’ve just been lounging around the house and not really doing very much.  Although, to be fair, I have been on the phone to a friend of mine from music college – I’m writing a poem for her wedding which is happening in a couple of weeks time so I was gathering information for the poem – but that is the most energetic thing I’ve done all day!

Last week was my first week as a three-day-a-week teacher – so I got to Wednesday and then that was me done!  It feels really nice!  I still feel like I’ve been busy because on Thursday I got the train over to Huddersfield to read at the Albert Poets.  I was reading alongside Sarah Corbett, Mike De Placido and Andy Robson.  I was last up and I was starting to get quite nervous as each reader got up because they were all good, and Mike in particular was very funny – so I was starting to think that maybe I should have bagged an earlier spot…

However, it went fine – and I managed to sell ten pamphlets!  I’ve never managed to sell more than ten at one reading – that is my record which I want to break this year – but ten was pretty good – I have to say thank you to lovely poets Peter White and John Foggin who bought second copies to give away to people I think – Peter bought the very first copy of my pamphlet when it first came out so it was nice to see them both there.

I got to feed Carola Luther’s chickens before the reading and stayed in her attic room at the top of the house – it felt like being on a ship and then came back to Barrow on Friday.

Earlier on in the week I went to the Wordsworth Trust to see Rebecca Goss and Deryn Rees-Jones read – it was a really, really good reading, probably one of my favorite of the season actually – and I would recommend both collections – ‘Her Birth’ by Rebecca Goss – I read cover to cover when I got back home – as Rebecca said, the poems are not a barrel of laughs – but then why should poetry be always easy or funny?  The book is about the death of a child – but I think the poems as art transcends the personal – I felt quite choked up when I was reading some of it, and I’ve never had children, so I didn’t think I would necessarily connect with it so much, but it is so beautifully, and honestly written that I did.  And by honestly, I don’t mean the truth of facts, but truth of the human condition, I think.  And Deryn Rees-Jones ‘Burying the Wren’ – this collection has been an interesting one for me – because I’ve gone through a variety of stages with it ranging from ambivalence to admiration – this was the third time I heard her read and I finally felt like I got it this time – these poems are poems to read over and over again, and get something different out of each time.

Other exciting things that happened this week were that I have now got a definite date for my reading over in Ireland! I’ll be reading in Cork at the O’Bheal readings on the 26th May 2014 which I’m really looking forward to.  I’m hoping to organise some more poetry readings or workshops, or both in Ireland the weekend before so if anybody hears of anything or would like to book me to come and read/lead a workshop, please get in touch!

And finally, I got an acceptance from Poetry Review this week!  It is my first submission since Fiona Sampson left as editor so I’m very happy that Maurice Riordan has taken two poems.

Today’s Sunday Poem is by Andrew McMillan who is a lovely guy and a great poet – he is disgustingly young and talented.  He was born in South Yorkshire in 1988 and currently lectures in Creative Writing at Liverpool John Moores University.  His poetry is collected in three pamphlets, most recently ‘the moon is a supporting player’ (2011, Red Squirrel Press) and the forthcoming long poem ‘protest of the physical’ (October 2013, Red Squirrel Press). He has held residencies and taught workshops nationwide, and completed numerous commissions, including for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad which saw his work featured on Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme. He is currently working on a first collection.  You can order his pamphlet from Red Squirrel Press at http://www.redsquirrelpress.com/SquirrelCAT.html

I’ve always known of Andrew’s work since I first started writing as a mutual friend of ours, David Tait, introduced me to his excellent pamphlet ‘the moon is a supporting player’.  But I’ve seen a bit more of Andrew recently as we are working on a project with the Wordsworth Trust and met up for the training day at Grasmere and he is one of my new fave poets.  Partly because of his poetry, but also because he is lovely.

Today’s Sunday Poem illustrates one of Andrew’s main concerns which he explores in his poetry – male physicality, which is normally illuminated by references to Biblical stories or Greek mythology.  I enjoyed this poem because I think although it is ostensibly referring to a biblical story, it also feels somehow Greek as well – maybe this is because the poem is so visual and I imagine the scene and Jacob seems as if he would be in profile – and also the description of the physical contact between the two men has unmistakeable sexual overtones, which along with the reference to the stock market at the beginning root it firmly in modern times…quite an achievement to do all that in one poem – but from the other poems Andrew has shown me it seems that he achieves this often.  So yes, another pamphlet I would recommend – and look out for his first collection, because i think it’s going to be amazing.

I should also say that this poem won the Live Canon Poetry Competition 2012 which there is still time to enter here

and it will be appearing in a forthcoming anthology of religious verse by Eyewear http://www.eyewearpublishing.com/news-and-comment/call-for-submissions-the-poets-quest-for-god/

Jacob with the angel – Andrew McMillan
for O.N.

taken literally    it just happens   in the way the weather
or the stock market   happens
tangling in the unpierced flesh of one another
grappling with the shifting question of each other’s bodies
until the morning breaks across them and   still   their strength
no soft parts of stomachs   no inch of them hung loose
like old sacking from the muscle
and burning afterwards      or barely able to walk afterwards
or not giving a name because names would add a history
and the tasting of the flesh and blood of someone is something
out of time

taken allegorically      he is beating on himself
until the point at which the inner river of the word grace
runs passed and everything lays down in calm
and walking back across the stream to his possessions
he feels the bruise that is staining his thigh
and he wonders at the strength of one so smooth
and his wives and womenservants and his sons are sat waiting for the story
but he sleeps without speaking      and on waking isn’t sure if he has dreamt it
but his youngest  notices the thresh marks of wingbeats on his back
and he asks for ink to be brought    he says writing something down
keeps it alive