Wednesday 17 July 2019

A poem by Oliver Comins

Neglected...underrated...overlooked... all three terms might be clichés, but they could justifiably be applied to Oliver Comins' poetry in general and in particular to his first full collection, Oak Fish Island, which I reviewed on Rogue Strands a few months ago (see here). 

As a consequence, I'm making an exception today and posting (with Oliver's permission) one of my favourite poems from his book. This piece was first published in the London Magazine when it was under the stewardship of Alan Ross, one of the most renowned magazine editors around in the second half of the twentieth century, though the poem still resonates today. Football fans might well notice its relevance to current events at Coventry City, but its delicate observations, surefooted music and layered juxtapositions reach far beyond sport and should appeal to many readers...

Geese above Highfield Road

One of those moments when the stadium
falls inexplicably quiet – you hear
the crowd, as one, breathe in and wait
for someone else’s voice to prompt
the noise.  Geese flying overhead
disrupt the spell and players call
the roaring back – an amphitheatre
filled with sound, cauldron of light
beneath a darkened autumn sky.

Up there a flock of geese is set
on inland lakes, days of food and warmth.
Down here goals are barely threatened
by midfield stalemate: we dream
of wingers making for a corner
then cutting back to cross behind
a scattering defence – too much
to hope for now.  Disappearing geese,
I saw them flying in for winter.

Sunday 14 July 2019

Mat Riches at The Poetry Shed

Over at The Poetry Shed, Abegail Morley's astute editorial eye has selected a terrific poem by Mat Riches for publication today. You can read it by following this link.

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Poets' Cafe in Reading on Friday

Just a quick reminder that I'll be the guest poet at Poets' Café in Reading this Friday (12th July) at the South Street Arts Centre, starting at 8 p.m.. Entry costs £5, £4 for concessions, and there's also an open mic. I'll be reading from my first full collection, The Knives of Villalejo, blending the poetry of wine from Extremadura with suburban Surrey. A number of people have already confirmed their attendance, and I'd love to see you there too...!