Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Monday, January 28, 2008


on the dance-floor -
you make not speaking to me
into an art form.

Desire for Writers Island

Thursday, January 24, 2008


If the French slowed down
enough for me to understand
I might be able to translate
(mais non le subjonctif!)*

but German, though understandable,
exists in a Parallel Universe
wo keine Englische Worte anpassen konnen**

and Italians take the same indefinably elegant
approach to language as they do to fashion
ma penso che l'eleganza delle donne italiane sia un mito***

or perhaps just untranslateable

* but not the subjunctive
**where no English words fit
***but I think the elegance of Italian women is a myth

a Macaroni poem (one including more than one language) for Monday Poetry Stretch

A while back I reviewed Paso Doble a book of poetry by ANAMARÍA CROWE SERRANO & ANNAMARIA FERRAMOSCA where each poem was written in Italian and English. You can read the review here.

Monday, January 21, 2008

haiku - vision

raging headaches
of scary intensity -
scenes of destruction

(inspired by Cordelia's visions in the tv series Angel)

there's another view of visions on Crafty Green Poet here.

Vision for
One Deep Breath

Friday, January 18, 2008


In a war zone existence, delimited
by snipers, landmines and hostile troops,
a couple fall in love.

Alchemists, they make a home with
scavenged chairs, a broken table, a second-hand bed
and a sense of humour.

They transcend the ordinary, buoy themselves
against the terrible gravity of war
with the feather lightness of joy.

The pull of vestigial wings between their shoulders
lifts them above their troubled town.

Previously published in The Book of Hopes and Dreams

Sunday, January 13, 2008


We cannot speak for you
we have not walked your path
the path that wore down your shoes
the shoes that are now piled high
in glass cases that we file past

We have not walked your path
and cannot speak for you
but silence allows your deaths

again and again and again.

previously published at: Poetry Songs and Writers in Scotland.

Journeys for Read Write Poem

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Poetry Speaks Expanded edited by Elise Paschen and Rebekah Presson Mosby

Poetry Speaks Expanded is a huge and ambitious book with three accompanying CDs, bringing us an overview, from a USA perspective, of English language poetry from the end of the 19th Century to the later years of the 20th Century. The 40 poets included here were chosen from influential poets who have lived and died since the invention of sound recording. The poets are arranged in order of date of birth, starting with Alfred Lord Tennyson and ending with Sylvia Plath. For each poet we are presented with a brief biographical introduction, an appreciation from a living poet and a selection of their work. The biographies are fascinating, offering real insights into the influences different poets had on each other artistically and personally. The appreciations are all excellent, each writer obviously chosen for their keen interest in the featured poet they are matched with. Each writer takes their own approach to their subject: Brad Leithauser for example gives us a clear overview to the work of e.e. cummings, while Robert Bly concentrates on William Stafford's 'genius in sound and his relation to reverie'.The development of poetic attitudes to numerous themes, including human rights, death, the environment can can be traced through this book, it's also instructive to look at how the style and form of poetry changed through the period. The CDs are also fascinating with an informative narrative from Charles Osgood and sample recordings from all the poets featured in the book, showing the development of reading styles and sound recording quality over the period. Some readers outside the USA may be surprised by some of the poets included or excluded, but as a guide to the greatest influences on US poetry over the past century it is an invaluable resource.

A longer review of this book, concentrating on nature poetry, can be found on Crafty Green Poet. A more complete review can be found here.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

haiku - chess

the grand master
holds the queen in his hand -
a black cat stretches

previously published in Haiku Scotland

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

This children's novel follows nine year old Bruno as he moves with his family when his father is made commandant of Auschwitz. Bruno doesn't understand what is happening around him - why do all those people live behind the barbed wire when he has no-one to play with on his side. Why do they all wear striped pyjamas? Why are they all so thin and sad? He makes friends with Shmuel, a nine year old boy on the other side of the wire, who shares his birthday. They sit and talk about their lives and Bruno smuggles food out of his house to give to Shmuel. Although I knew the ending before I read the book I won't reveal it here, though I think it may be well known. Just to say, have a large box of tissues with you when you read this book, it's very moving. And do read it, even if you don't normally read children's books.