‘Unabashed and Unaffected’: New Review of Rapture in Sabotage

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Many thanks to Sabotage Reviews, which recently published a review of Rapture. In describing what he sees as the book’s approach to desire (‘so unabashed, so unaffected’), its ‘ambiguous morality’, and its ‘subversive religious material’, Humphrey Astley writes:

Clearly, [Kelly is] concerned with themes of innocence versus experience, though they seem to coexist in her poetry, in a world where erotic frustration is imbued with prepubescent visions ‘the colour of my childhood bedroom’. In this sense, Kelly can be associated with an emerging school of metamodernism, or ‘naive capability’, if you like. Such art exists between tradition and modernity, in the midst of a coming-of-age, ‘between the old, known world / and some fiery entrance to elsewhere.’

The full review is available to read here.

Shortlisted for Dermot Healy Award & in Mslexia Poetry Competition

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I was delighted to hear that I made the shortlist for the Dermot Healy Poetry Award and for Mslexia’s 2017 Poetry Competition.

Helen Mort won the Mslexia Competition with her poem ‘Vanishing Point’, which you can read here.

Here’s the shortlist for the Dermot Healy Award, with the winners to be announced in the coming weeks.

New Poem in Poetry Ireland Review

 

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I’m very happy to have my poem ‘Sacred Heart’ published in the latest issue of Poetry Ireland Review, edited by Eavan Boland.

You can by Poetry Ireland Review Issue 122 here, and in the meantime here’s one of my favourite Eavan Boland poems, ‘Quarantine.’

Quarantine by Eavan Boland

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Poem of the Day: ‘Self Portrait as Cavelady’ by Amy Gerstler

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Self Portrait as Cavelady by Amy Gerstler

Nameless volcanos vomit rock.
Can’t keep cave clean. Swarms
of striped flies invade at dusk, bats
catch too few. Tender feeling for
baby mammoth as we eat him.
Sudden juice-leak from my eyes.
I pet baby mammoth’s roasted
hide, unfold hairy ear-flap still
stuck to skull and whisper into it.
Later, take chips of burnt sticks,
spit, plus mammoth fat, mix
in cup of hand and use paste I
make to sketch young mammoth
on shadow wall. Make black hand-
prints too. Rub mammoth fat
on my old, cracked feet. Rub some
on scars. Gather fresh dry leaves
for sleep. Give baby chunk of tusk
to suck so he’ll shut up. His yowls
rile wolves, who pace and whine
just beyond the all-night fires.

from B O D Y

Poem of the Day: ‘Punishment’ by Seamus Heaney

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Punishment by Seamus Heaney

I can feel the tug
of the halter at the nape
of her neck, the wind
on her naked front.

It blows her nipples
to amber beads,
it shakes the frail rigging
of her ribs.

I can see her drowned
body in the bog,
the weighing stone,
the floating rods and boughs.

Under which at first
she was a barked sapling
that is dug up
oak-bone, brain-firkin:

her shaved head
like a stubble of black corn,
her blindfold a soiled bandage,
her noose a ring

to store
the memories of love.
Little adulteress,
before they punished you

you were flaxen-haired,
undernourished, and your
tar-black face was beautiful.
My poor scapegoat,

I almost love you
but would have cast, I know,
the stones of silence.
I am the artful voyeuur

of your brain’s exposed
and darkened combs,
your muscles’ webbing
and all your numbered bones:

I who have stood dumb
when your betraying sisters,
cauled in tar,
wept by the railings,

who would connive
in civilized outrage
yet understand the exact
and tribal, intimate revenge.

Poem of the Day: ‘The Blue Booby’ by James Tate

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The Blue Booby by James Tate

The blue booby lives
on the bare rocks of Galápagos
and fears nothing.
It is a simple life:
they live on fish,
and there are few predators.
Also, the males do not
make fools of themselves
chasing after the young
ladies. Rather,
they gather the blue
objects of the world
and construct from them

a nest—an occasional
Gaulois package,
a string of beads,
a piece of cloth from
a sailor’s suit. This
replaces the need for
dazzling plumage;
in fact, in the past
fifty million years
the male has grown
considerably duller,
nor can he sing well.
The female, though,

asks little of him—
the blue satisfies her
completely, has
a magical effect
on her. When she returns
from her day of
gossip and shopping,
she sees he has found her
a new shred of blue foil:
for this she rewards him
with her dark body,
the stars turn slowly
in the blue foil beside them
like the eyes of a mild savior.

Poem of the Day: ‘Crab Poem’ by Sharon Olds

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Crab Poem by Sharon Olds

When I eat crab, slide the rosy
rubbery claw across my tongue
I think of my mother. She’d drive down
to the edge of the Bay, tiny woman in a
huge car, she’d ask the crab-man to
crack it for her. She’d stand and wait as the
pliers broke those chalky homes, wild-
red and knobby, those cartilage wrists, the
thin orange roof of the back.
I’d come home, and find her at the table
crisply unhousing the parts, laying the
fierce shell on one side, the
soft body on the other. She gave us
lots, because we loved it so much,
so there was always enough, a mound of crab like a
cross between breast-milk and meat. The back
even had the shape of a perfect
ruined breast, upright flakes
white as the flesh of a chrysanthemum, but the
best part was the claw, she’d slide it
out so slowly the tip was unbroken,
scarlet bulb of the feeler—it was such a
kick to easily eat that weapon,
wreck its delicate hooked pulp between
palate and tongue. She loved to feed us
and all she gave us was fresh, she was willing to
grasp shell, membrane, stem, to go
close to dirt and salt to feed us,
the way she had gone near our father himself
to give us life. I look back and
see us dripping at the table, feeding, her
row of pink eaters, the platter of flawless
limp claws, I look back further and
see her in the kitchen, shelling flesh, her
small hands curled—she is like a
fish-hawk, wild, tearing the meat
deftly, living out her life of fear and desire.