Saturday, 23 July 2011

A selection of poetry by Andrew McMillan

BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play Idea #3: a glockenspiel indicates a train

A psychiatrist’s office

Patient:                problem?            I want to tell stories        but I never know
     how to round things up you know            how to give someone
                             a perfectly circular tale they can spin around their hips
                             for an afternoon              take the other day for example:
                             in a carriage between London and Manchester a man
                             got into a fight with the conductor           the conductor had a face
                             like a dilapidated barn and he was trying to make the man pay
                             full fare because he hadn’t bought his ticket on the station
                             the man said he hadn’t had chance        he’d been rushing          his wife
                             was in hospital ‘cos she’d slipped down the stairs
                             he had to get back to see her and didn’t he understand              
                             and couldn’t he let him off just once?  the conductor said he was
                             just following orders and the man replied that that’s what they’d said
                             at Nuremburg and the conductor snatched his money and stormed off
                             and the man with the wife with a sprained ankle and a broken arm
                             was left contemplating the thin orange slice of meat that was his ticket               
     And isn’t that a perfect place to end?       I suppose it would be  
     but why was there a button missing from the man’s coat? 
     and where did the exhausted metaphor of the train
                             sleep that night?  and what does the conductor smell like 
                             first thing in the morning? 


backslash of corrugated roof      single cheek
of light across the broad chest of city
the potholed avenue the moon has been reduced to


hills        dawn crowning to the east
planes beat their wings
against the moon’s dull bulb


the bells of night’s train ring out
the sea is a half-learnt song         the sea is unsingable
the moon’s mute conduction

BBC Radio Four Afternoon Play Idea #29               rent boy in a small town dreams of the big city

truth      I want out           to fade
like an unfashionable pronunciation

it started with the recurring dream
of a car journey                                there was opera
there was a possibility of rain

and other times I was an over thumbed
button                  dropping              rolling through
this oneplatformsinglestraightline of a town

until I’d wake to find myself in someone else’s
morning                 window                city  
where the sky is scraped away to pure light
and you can't hear yourself scream for the breathing


Andrew McMillan was born in 1988. These poems are taken from his second pamphlet, the moon is a supporting player, due to be published by Red Squirrel Press in October 2011. A first pamphlet, every salt advance, was published in 2009 and is still available from Red Squirrel. Andrew has been Poet-in-Residence for Off the Page and the Regional Youth Theatre Festival; writer-in-residence for the Watershed Landscape Project and Apprentice Poet-in-Residence for the Ilkley Literature Festival. In 2010 he was commissioned by IMove, the cultural olympiad body for Yorkshire, to produce a new sequence of work. He is featured in the upcoming Salt Book of Younger Poets.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Siddhartha Bose - Kalagora, at the Edinburgh Festival 2011

I can't make this but if you can, you definitely should. Bose's poetry was for me possibly the highlight of Voice Recognition, and I've only heard good things about this show.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Two Poems - Howie Good


I stand all day on a corner of the avenue of ghosts.
You never know who the assassin might be.
The family I used to visit no longer exists.
A man wearing a Spanish cloak just like mine
wonders when it’s going to happen to him.
Maybe the rain answers, maybe not.


I study my reflection in the window of the butcher. The trains that leave the city empty return empty as well. Does the sound of sobbing mean what I think it does? People who were born here exchange knowing glances. Tomorrow’s paper may carry news of a terrible accident. For now, it’s night and raining, and somewhere lovers are blowing smoke rings into the dark.


Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the full-length poetry collections LovesickHeart With a Dirty Windshield (Press Americana, 2009), (BeWrite Books, 2010), and Everything Reminds Me of Me (Desperanto, 2011).

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