I met Tiffany at the launch of Magma magazine, issue 61, and was struck by her poems (she read two) which seemed to have an authority and memorable originality. I felt there was an unusual vibrancy and freedom to her work ( ee cummings sprang to mind), which can only be a good thing.
After I complemented Tiffany and asked her if she would like to be featured here, she kindly supplied the following poems and this brief biography. Having heard Tiffany read a few of her poems I was obviously aware of the technical skill, dexterity and emotional resonance of her work, but nevertheless, I was unprepared for the impact of ‘Canary Girls’, or the breath-taking power of w’althemstow h’eights, which I am very pleased to publish here.
After publication in Poetry News, Tiffany’s poems have appeared in Rising,
The Moth, Morning Star, The Rialto and elsewhere. She is interested in ‘outlaw, lyrical, and dialect poetry.’ Much of her work is influenced by, and explores, modes of Lorca’s ‘duende’.Tiffany is re-launching Silkworms Ink as co-poetry editor and her pamphlet beautiful bastards / beautiful bitches is, slowly, forthcoming. You can find out more at www.tiffanyannetondut.com
i promised to write about your black jeans
but then i read an almost made up poem
by charles bukowski. bukowski and his girl
wrote letters back and forth but that was way back
in the 70s when they didn’t have facebook.
i guess i could write you paper letters
between our electronic ones, then at least
we could touch the same sheets.
bukowski’s girl wrote poems about angels and god
in capital letters. the poems i type for you
are in lower case, but bold. i’ve hung out with famous
actors & artists, but unlike her, only some of them
were my lovers. the men i’m dating now you’re ok with,
you’re not jealous, because we haven’t met.
we got close three times but you cancelled twice
and i pulled out the last. i wish i hadn’t, but i’d physically
met a man that week, on the street, and you wrote:
i hope he treats you like the diamond that you are.
he didn’t, of course, and what i’ve found out, is men like him
don’t care about the poems inside the girl, just the girl
whose lips kiss their egos for a night. it makes me wonder
why men who touch me disappear, when you message me
every day with virtual love. one night, you left a voicemail
on my phone about a sandwich. hearing your drunk
yorkshire accent made me laugh with pain. i wanted
more. i know i’m not the best female poet on the scene
but all i care is maybe you think i am. and i love you
the way a woman loves a man she’s never met,
only cherishes his photos, his texts. i know i’d love you more
if i could see your black jeans discarded on the floor
of your brighton flat, the one with the balcony, and i’m
stroking your nude back saying “remember floodlights on our skin?”
but that hasn’t happened. perhaps it never will
and my poems will sadden. men will keep forgetting me
or worse, i’ll meet a nice enough guy and never write you again.
i don’t have a crying bench, near a bridge, over a river,
where i go every night and weep for who i haven’t touched,
but that doesn’t mean i don’t think of going there.
unlike bukowski, you haven’t heard about my suicide.
i only write of wanting to die. in 3 or 4 months
i hope i’ve met you. and i don’t care if you’re unfair to me.
i’ll be unfair to you.
a were gypsy, loose as orse:
aughty, ungry, nobody’s flame;
are-bell eyes, slew as curse.
a thought e wouldn’t want me, bu e did.
e drove me oop t’heath fer windswept walks.
we parked, fidgeted, talked.
e said a smelt of life,
is valley girl.
a named im darkling –
pupils so black, stars culd sink.
a loved the damage in is grin
an the danger.
e loved me wild, bu culdn’t let me go.
oft-times e buckled, gripped, slipped –
called me philistine, o bitch.
e said a needed taming.
e brought a riding crop.
e broke me in.
a thought e cannot kill me. bu e did.
i.m ‘The Canary Girls’ of Munition Factories 1914-1918
No machine had ever felt the plumage of a girl.
No girl had ever flown inside the cabin of a crane
and worked it.
News broke swift – fields of houses emptied.
Whole factories beating deft with women’s wings.
Every flock had tools to ply:
some hammered, quick as beaks; others preened steel
or weighed and measured, nursing bombs
with a mother’s eye.
New girls hatched in night shifts –
faces bright as yolk from packing shells with TNT.
Feathers erupted – streaks of fire through skin.
Some girls burned, blew away.