David Clarke has written an interesting post on the uses of social media in poetry called ‘The Gentle Art of Self Promotion’ which you can read here . I’m pleased that David gives this blog an honorable mention (along with Matt Merrit’s Polyolbion and Todd Swift’s Eyeware) as sites that share information about ‘the latest publications by other poets they themselves enjoy, lets me know about events I could attend or take part in, gives me insight into their enthusiasms and – from time to time – lets me know that there is also something of their own to read on-line or elsewhere.’
Great. I’m really pleased if this blog. is perceived in this way. I set it up with no clear plan as to where it was going, but with a general idea that it would be useful to others in the ways that David describes. I also wanted to share a few thoughts to help me clarify them, to practice writing something other than poetry, to stimulate discussion about poetry, and to give other poets somewhere healthy to go when they came out of a poetry trance. And speaking of new publications…
David Clarke is a teacher and researcher. His collection ‘Gaud’ is a winner of the recent Flarestack poetry pamphlet competition. I met David at the launch of the winning pamphlets and anthology in Birmingham (I wrote about this in July ) where he kindly agreed that I could post a poem from his collection on this site. I’ve chosen ‘Cabbage’ as I admire the richness, density and sensuality of this poem, the mixture of the tactile with the metaphorically and literally cerebral.
Peeling the flaps of black flesh in strips
of silken decay, I find this cabbage an imperial head,
raised from a sand-blown sepulchre.
Beneath its embalming shroud, each new layer
is a cooling, lambent sheath, each purple
more purple than the last. The root of spine
snaps sweetly, a little shock of release.
Imagine me, then, the failed physic of some
expired dauphin or papal prodigy, bisecting
this clammy skull, this shell without a seed,
revealing tributaries of creamy matter which pattern
the gaud of its amethystine brain- an image
of earth’s most beautiful thinking, a store of the bitter
I am to praise in the gloss of my pan.