i rise // i rise // i rise // Poems for a World gone to Sh*t @Quercusbooks “the amazing power of poetry to make even the most f**ked up times feel better”

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Title: Poems for a World gone to Sh*t

Publisher: Quercus Books

Genre: Poetry

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It can feel like the world has gone to shit at the moment, can’t it? The perfect book then is surely this poetry anthology, compiled, and published by Quercus books. The inside describes it as, ‘Here in this little book you will find inspiration to guide you though, from that first instinct to just get the f**k away from it all, via what the hell you can do about any of it, to realising that the birds are still singing. These poems are about remembering to keep looking at the stars, whatever sh*t life is throwing at you,

I like the yellow inside, the simple design of the book cover, and interior chapters. It’s a book that is going to brighten up your bookshelf. I like too that this not another book of collected poetry from poets that have been republished in anthologies so many times your eyes roll right back in your head. Holly McNish, Nikita Gill, and Lemn Sissay feature in this book.
The opening poem though is an old favourite This be the Verse by Philip Larkin, “they fuck you up your mum and dad,” The chapter titles are aptly named. This be the Verse is from Chapter 1 What the F**k?
The poems selected use the autumnal season to illustrate the misery of the poet, while other subjects included are homelessness, the masks we wear, and arguments. It’s cynical, bleak, and makes you question your existence.

 

Human Life Matthew Prior
What trifling coil do we poor mortals keep; wake, eat, and drink, evacuate, and sleep.

 

Chapter 2 Get me the f**k out of here … is a fraction chirpier. The poems selected take on movement, and getting away, although in poem On a tired Housewife by Anon it suggests the only way to get away is by death.
Chapter 3, 4, and 5 have the titles Keep your Sh*t together, Let’s do something about this Sh*t, and Life is still f**king beautiful, which are comprised of poems bursting with joyous moments of youth, nature, and love.
There is a great mix of female poets. One I liked was Anne Bronte and her poem Lines composed in a Wood on a Windy day in Chapter 2 “the long withered grass in the sunshine is glancing,
The bare trees are tossing their branches on high,
The dead leaves beneath them are merrily dancing,
The white clouds are scudding across the blue sky,”
One of my favourite recent poetry anthologies, modern, with some new poems that may well become classics, ebullient, and not quite as offensive as the title might suggest.


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Poems House for Demolition & Letters by Deryn Pittar.

HOUSE FOR DEMOLITION

Memories chase me down the slippery verdant path,
through the gate with its rusty spring.
I nod to the passion fruit vine
still visiting the neighbours,
leaving crop as payment for their space.

A climbing rose has embraced the Judas tree.
The roofline steeples its hands in prayer
giving thanks for the harvest,
and begging for rain.

The laced veranda and weather-board bodice
hug the red front door.
It swings to my touch.
A waft of lavender and mothballs greets me,
a cobweb strand brushes my cheek.

In my old room, sunlight prisms through bevelled glass
scattering rainbows on the wall.
Dead flies decorate the windowsill
and the smell of mown grass creeps in through a window crack.

I open the cupboard door,
deaf to the screech of its hinges.
My fingers seek the noggin in the dark
finding the soft leather cover still there.

Small pages stuck with damp,
speckled with mould,
encase the scribbled voice of a child.
Reclaimed, held close,
The words echo against the beat of my heart.

Diary retrieved,
I leave.

LETTERS

Albert and Julia Featherstone-Cox
have a beautiful elegant blue letter box
with wide hanging eaves to keep out the rain
it sits on a cleverly curved welded chain

The Smiths down the road because of their debtors
have set up a cream can to hold all their letters.
Placed on its side with a slot in the lid
through the slot all their letters are carefully slid

At the end of the lane where the Postie won’t go
stand six mismatched mail boxes – all in a row,
odd colours, odd heights, lichen-dressed and rust stained
they appear like a queue of one legged cranes

My mailbox is small, I don’t get much mail
and what I do get is consumed by the snails,
I get emails and texts and junk mail – a few
but what I crave most is a letter from you

One I can read, full of love and your pain,
one I can read and then read again
to put in my pocket, to fondle and muse
on our time spent together on that great ocean cruise

when passion ignited two elderly hearts
an autumn of love – and now we’re apart…


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Poem by Karen Ankers Meeting at Euston.

Meeting at Euston

a girl with city faded eyes

excuses her request for a pound

says she’s never been on the streets before

tells me in a worn tobacco coated voice

she needs the money for a bus


as if I need a reason to be kind


the coin in my hand is bright

as she once was

has unquestioned value

as she once did

perhaps

when her eyes and soul still shone

before promises and practised lies

took her light as deposit

on oxygen and pavement space


the metal that slides from my palm to hers

courts the sun

just for a second fairytale gold

illuminates the touch of our hands

and in that moment more is passed

than money

skin meets soul remembered skin

blood beats between us

each strengthening the other

in the time it would have taken

to turn and cross the road



4 Questions with Karen Ankers.

Karen Ankers

1, Tell us about you, and your writing (themes, influences etc.)

I’m a poet, playwright and novelist, living in North Wales, with my partner, dog, and nine cats. I published a collection of poetry, One Word At A Time, last year. My first novel, The Crossing Place, was published in January, by Stepping Stones Publishing. I have eight one-act plays published by Lazy Bee Scripts, which have been performed in the UK, US, Australia and Malaysia.

My writing is inspired by what I see around me, and by my family. I am often moved to write by a sense of injustice. What interests me most is the point at which connections are made – whether that is between humans, or between people and the natural world.

The poet who has most influenced me is Patrick Jones, with his powerful and inspiring work.

2, What are some of the ways in which you promote your work, and do you find these add, or eat into, your time writing?

Yes, promotion eats into writing time, but it can also bring you into contact with other writers, which is great. I do spend time contacting writing groups and sometimes get invited to go and talk to them. I also read at various spoken word events. I’ll be reading at One Hundred Thousand Poets For Change, in Colwyn Bay, in October, and also at Wirral Bookfest. I run a regular open mic night in Anglesey, which gives me a chance to share my work, but also to hear the work of other people.

3, What projects are you working on at present?

At the moment, I’m working on my second novel. I’m currently about three-quarters of the way through the first draft. But I’m still writing poetry. I tend to use writing poems as a daily warm-up exercise, to loosen up the creative writing muscles before I tackle the novel.

4, What does poetry mean to you?

Poetry means communication. Poetry’s concentrated language means that it can communicate on a powerful, emotional level. And that is where change happens. So does that mean poets can change the world? Probably.

From New Zealand. Poems from Digging Holes to Another Continent, a poetry chapbook by Isabelle Kenyon ( @kenyon_isabelle )

Hahei Beach at 7pm

Heads bobbing like seals,

squeals the unique frequency of teenage years

too old to play sand castles,

adrenaline – coursed veins cannot process the cold without an allergic reaction

(survival purpose: unconscious

attract attention,

a male,

procreate).

Bodies of potential,

naturally bleached

by gentle sun rays.

The Drive To The North

Sea lappinThoughtsg at car tyres,

soft sparkles,

sky a pale imitation of waves

rising in mountains

then mole hills –

the sirens call for human toes to step

in over

the edge

‘I dare you’.

Beach Thoughts

Yesterday you were beautifully pearly sheened,

white warmth in your embrace,

calm, serene.

Today you give me the washed up,

chewed up

spat out –

no cushioned sand but

pebbled words and

seaweed clings to your tongue,

sours –

You are not who I thought you were.

It did not take a tsunami

but a tidal wave

to change your heart.

Review Quotes:

Kenyon explores the difficulty of dealing with a loss in a place far removed from where the loss occurred. She also interrogates the complicated emotions felt upon returning home to a familiar setting, now absent of those loved ones associated with home… Ultimately, Digging Holes to Another Continent is a small but powerful chapbook that carries the reader through the ups and downs of travel, family, love and loss. The final poem (which I will let you read for yourselves!) is an extremely strong and thought-provoking finale. Definitely readable in one sitting, Kenyon’s poems each tell a story on their own, but collected into a chapbook, create a captivating narrative you won’t regret reading.’ – Beth O’Brien, Mad Hatter Reviews