Innovation in Poetry
Huge congratulations to the winners of our poetry contest, listed below along with the comments of our publisher and poet Matthew Smith. Our first place winner, H. David, wins £500. All three poems follow.
Giant by H. David
'The disquieting work of a deep-running imagination.'
Mississippi/Minnesota by Deborah Kelly
'The language makes the heat and the history of the Mississippi tangible.'
Signs by Adelina Molina
'A convincing snapshot of a lifetime's search for meaning.'
by H. David
He was dead when they found him, the sisters
coming ashore weak-legged, salt-bitten
sea-slanted from their long voyage
he had, they saw, been a great thing
even his weedy sides, sand-starred
came up above them like a forest edge
was this, they asked, what we had planned to kill
how beautiful he is, how large the shade
he casts across slack bladderwrack,
sweat-damp scooped rock, smooth as a bending knee
quick squits of fish, anemones, black glass turned milky
by the mouthing sea. How fine, to make such things
how fine it would be, to be just as big.
And the day heaved a little, and the gulls came off him,
and hung in the air like gloves
how empty it is here, they said.
Even the dead, they said, lie still, lie sweetly.
And his flesh was sweet. They lit a fire.
Flies flickered up against pale flames,
fell down. The hills beyond the sand lay long and green.
They ate him and they grew, his bones their bones
sea wind lapped, fat and ashy, at their back.
Walking inland, they held each other’s hands
immense as air, they left him open, lying there.
by Deborah Kelly
Our toes, little larvae in river mud,
a river bull-nosed as catfish,
dull as its carp,
thick in its spasms.
On its over-hung shore,
heat gelled on our child-skin,
onto neck, into sacrum,
our pallor of paraffin.
We played that heat
as gnats up our noses,
and imagined Deep-South
at the other end, the Gulf
and its bayous,
hypoxic and loaded.
River. Snake that bucks
between teeth of a hound,
I fear you.
Somewhere, a branch and a rope,
a swing and a noose.
Mississippi, I loathe you.
by Adelina Molina
The man on the train sketches
I go home
spend hours searching the mirror
I look for signs
find 11:11 blinking on my phone screen
try to swallow the sky
I receive an email
unknown man, drunk
professes his love
to someone else
the man I am falling for
doesn’t tell me
about the shadows
hiding in his chest
his sorrow bitter on his tongue
I am learning to speak in words
Instead of verses
Instead of moans
Instead of his hands
in my tangle of curls
I am still learning
His hands on my waist
I am still learning
His hands on the small of my back
I am still learning that everything I touch
I look in the mirror and say
The silence isn’t deafening
Wundor Poetry Contest 2018