Layering the past and the present, the personal and the political, the lyric and the licentious, Kelvin Corcoran's new sequence of poems presents us with the re-imagined life of the ancient poet Archilochos.
What we know of Archilochos is found in the fragments of his poetry which remain. He came from Paros and lived 680-640BC. Possibly. He was either an illgitimate mercenary, or the son of Telesicles, who led the Parian colonisation of Thasos. Either way, Archilochos saw military service on Thasos.
He is credited with several poetic innovations and renowned for his use of what could be autobiographical experience. He may well have played a key role in the cult of Dionysus on Paros. Archilochos was killed by a Naxian whose name meant 'crow' - the circumstances of this act are unknown.
Get up, get up Archilochos we need your bite;
will you bring us the news, say who benefits this time?
Archilochos has gone to the rushing night, the dark sea,
he hovers one moment in the light over Antipharos.
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Photo by Jemimah Kuhfeld
The Hospital Punch
Sally Flint's startling and engaging poems explore the behind-the-scenes lives of the hospital. They ring with the truth and directness of lived experience, measured out with the careful attentions of an accomplished poet. The spine of the sequence is found in the title poem, which reflects on the camaraderie that exists between all levels of hospital staff when dealing with sadness, despair and loss, once the shift is over. Alternating between different points of view, these poems expose a commonality of experience and emotion at vulnerable times in the lives of patients and those charged with their care.
Henry, the anaesthetist, who swayed
like he’d sniffed nitrous oxide all his life,
un-wrapped one of the biggest sterile bowls
used to collect swabs in theatre.
He carried it like a ceremonial platter
to the staff room, leered over his spectacles
and said: ‘What we need is alcohol.’
'I really liked the hospital poems. They peel back the skin of a world - just briefly - and then you feel as if part of you is still there, long after the poem is over.' Helen Dunmore
'What makes Flint’s work different... is her ability to find something special about the events she describes, whilst remaining grounded in everyday experience.' SOUTH magazine
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A Plume of Smoke
In March 1967 the Torrey Canyon ran aground on rocks off the coast of Cornwall spilling over one hundred thousand tonnes of crude oil into the sea. It was the first major incident of a kind that would become all too familiar over the coming decades. A Plume of Smoke is a collection of poems that draws on oral history interviews with eyewitnesses of the event. The current global carbon economy has led to several hundred incidents of a similar kind since 1967 with a further six million tonnes of oil spilled.
Jos Smith is a writer and researcher with an interest in the art and literature of landscape and place in a modern context. He is co-director of Exeter University's Centre for the Literatures of Identity, Place and Sustainability and co-editor of the online magazine The Clearing. He lives in Exeter.
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Peace Camp (OUT OF PRINT)
The new poems in Peter Carpenter's Peace Camp respond lyrically to the idea that the natural world is us and is ours to protect. The title poem was occasioned by events as part of the London 2012 Festival: inspired by the Olympic Truce, whose roots date back to Ancient Greece, director Deborah Warner collaborated with actor Fiona Shaw to create a set of coastal installations around Britain and Ireland. 'Peace Camp' reponds to their site-specific installation of glowing tents "Rooted in truce / between dawn and dusk". Others of these lucent new poems explore Reydon Marshes, Dunwich Heath, play cricket with the ghosts of WW1 soldiers, and take a beach shower with Thom Gunn.
Peter's previous books include Just Like That (Smith/Doorstop), The Black-Out Book (Arc), Catch (Shoestring) and After the Gold Rush (Nine Arches). His poems have appeared in many literary journals and magazines including the TLS, Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Agenda, Stand, The Rialto, the Independent and The Independent on Sunday. He is a Director and Editor of the Worple Press.
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A Fright of Jays
Marc Woodward's poems inhabit a dark pastoral terrain. They present the reader with a familiar landscape and then, at the crucial moment, invert things with a crafted turn and wry smile. Here are poems in which both real and metaphoric eels are dredged up from the depths of marl pits, mobile phones are symbollically smashed to pieces on tarmac lanes, and the surface of everyday rural lives hang in the balance. With a great sense of lived experience, careful attention to musical shape, and well-timed dramatic reveals, these poems take the reader to the edge of their comfort zone and leave them there to find a meaningful way back home.
Marc Woodward has published his poems in a wide variety of magazines, anthologies and websites and has performed his work regularly on the South West performance poetry circuit. He is a highly respected musician and an internationally known mandolin player.
'A fine musician and an assured performer.' Event South West
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Photo by Sally Fransen
Photo by Roddy Paine
Vision Helmet is the striking new sequence of lyric poems by David Briggs, fizzing with verbal energy and rich in deeply considered thinking. What is the vision helmet? A shamanic mask for some kind of pagan VR? The daydreaming imagination? Poetry itself? Is it something we put on to see the world in a particular light? Or have we always been wearing it and, for so long now, we’ve forgotten how to take it off? Whatever it is, the visions keep coming.
David Briggs is the recipient of an Eric Gregory Award and has published widely in magazines and journals. His work also features in Identity Parade: New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010). His first full collection, The Method Men (Salt, 2010) was shortlisted for the London Festival Poetry Prize. HIs second book, Rain Rider (Salt, 2013) was a winter selection for the PBS. He lives, teaches, writes and makes music in Bristol.
'Rain Rider shows Briggs fearlessly using the full resources of language and culture for serious pleasure.' Laurie Smith, for Magma
'In the same way a refrain draws the listener into a song, the echoes, the repetition of keywords, returning themes, characters and motifs implicate the reader in Briggs’s lines.' Angelina Ayers for Sabotage Reviews
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Precarious Real is a sequence of sonnets and 14 line poems. Some explore a dual sense of Anglo-American identity. Others are personal in documenting pivotal moments of precarious reality in the lives of the narrators - hauntings from the past, memories of dance lessons with a lover, a pet dog gone feral. The subject matter is wide-ranging, from fishing trips to philosophy, from cow pats to down pipes, each conveyed in confident, conversational phrasing that spirals through the form.
Mike Ferguson's poetry has appeared in the anthologies When Good Dogs Have Bad Dreams: Four American Poets (Stride, 1996) and The Stumbling Dance (Stride, 1994). His first full collection of poems, Nearing The Border, was also published by Stride in 1998. More recently his work has appeared in magazines and online. Mike is an American who has lived in the UK for 49 years, 36 in Devon, where he taught English. He also writes educational books on creative writing and, recently, a major text on Writing for Cambridge University Press. He writes a regular music blog and recently co-edited Yesterday's Music Today, an anthology of poetry about music (Knives Forks and Spoons Press, 2016).
£4 incl. p&p