Sunday, May 31, 2009

Angela France's New Book


Our Poetry Editor, Angela France, has a book out! It's called  Occupation, and it's a ripper! Occupation is full of the sort of poetry that  SCR loves: articulate, honest, incisive, imaginative, true.

And English: if you love English poetry—not just poetry in English, but English poetry — you will love this book. And if you're going to buy a book of poems to read and then come back to, this is the one.

Occupation is available for pre-publication order from Ragged Raven Press, and will be launched with a reading at Ledbury Poetry Festival on July 10th.

Ragged Raven Press is here: http://raggedraven.co.uk/collections.htm#Occupation


Angela France’s robust poems move through a range of themes, but the passage of time and the struggle against it, in physical effort, in mind and in dream, recur. There is also a very welcome intellectual clarity that produces a beauty of its own, in short poems, like Unpoem and Beeing, but also in more gritty works of realism like Urban. The poems are always vigorous and rhythmically controlled. Occupation establishes a clear, firm, valuable voice in contemporary poetry.


—George Szirtes


Here's a poem  from Occupation to whet your appetite:


Secrets

The scrubbed block had scars and nicks
from the graded blades hanging on the rack;
I could see blood lingering
in deep cuts. His slabbed hands
were always wet and red, fingers
plump as the sausages forced
from the maw of his machine.

He smiled at customers as he slapped steak
on white paper, chatted as his cleaver
slammed through flesh and joint.
He knew all the wives by name,
knew who would want the cheap cuts,
the marrow bones for soup. He’d wink
an extra slice of ham into the wrapper
for Mrs Green and tease newlyweds
about what they’d give their man for supper.

I’d keep my eyes down, only offer
words from the shopping list,
scurry away with ideas about his steel door
and what it hid, sure of his kinship
to the plaster pig in the window
with a striped apron and a perverse smile
as its varnished trotter pointed
to rows of glistening chops.

I coloured him red,
heard draining arteries in his voice,
the thud of cleavers in his laugh.
I watched him checking a delivery, afraid
of what might burst from the straining seams.
He caught me looking
at the pigs hanging in the lorry,
pink feet pointing in a row.
Look like ballet dancers, don’t they?

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