Our Poem of the Month, in association with Picador
The mainstream media often predicts the demise of poetry, suggesting that it's only read by students nowadays. But at Foyles we know this is very far from the truth, with the healthy sales of our poetry section - our Charing Cross Road shop has the largest selection of poetry anywhere in London - testament to the devoted readerships many poets still command.
Many of our bestselling poets are published by Picador, an imprint of Pan Macmillan, whose remarkable stable of authors includes such favourites as the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Sean O'Brien, Jackie Kay, Annie Freud, Glyn Maxwell, Paul Farley, Ian Duhig, Robin Robertson and Clive James.
So, we're proud to introduce in association with Picador, our new website feature, Poem of the Month. This month's poem is written by Rachael Boast (left; photo © Jonathan Boast), whose debut collection, Sidereal, was published by Picador in May. Rachael was born in Suffolk in 1975; she currently divides her time between Scotland and the West Country.
Her poetry is dominated by astral influence and divine chance, by unseen or remote causes; but despite its celestial title, Sidereal is full of terrestrial concerns, the traffic and chaos of the human and natural worlds. Ultimately, however, it is the work of a poet who believes that we must also turn our gaze skywards to make sense of who we are, and these poems pursue their elliptical but inevitable orbits through a world where the earthly and transcendent are thoroughly interfused.
Above all, Sidereal impresses through Boast's lyric faith, which through even the worst pain and despair can still offer its clarities and revelations, and announces an important new voice in British poetry.
Boast's approach - stylistically lyrical, loosely formal, serious yet agile - is fundamentally one of poetry-as-argument. ... Such patterning might be viewed as a prior contrivance, of course, rather than the careful ordering of thematic recurrence it truly represents. But the verve and freshness of Boast's writing in the best poems from this debut can only herald the latter - The Guardian
There is not yet a single word, but the poem
can already be heard...
- Osip Mandelstam
It takes all night to turn the page -
no offence to the poem - its image
sets up so bright a mirror
the room moves towards it, vaster
for all the darkness I'm left sitting in.
By mid-morning you were fathoming
how to decant me from one vessel to another,
his to yours, replace the stopper
and drink. But what you drank was laced
with a distance, like moonlight traced
back to the moon at her most explicit,
so much so you have to listen for it
close to my mouth. Then, in that way you have
when you persist, like a siderostat,
in fixing me in your view,
what I've kept hidden becomes visible to you.
And that's when the hum begins, suffusing the room
in the same way the face, when it communes
with the cup, disappears into it -
a moment in which we are only our lips.
The Hum © Rachael Boast 2011
To find out more about Picador's poetry list, click here to visit their website.
Poems that demonstrate that we must look beyond ourselves to make sense of ourselves; winner of the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Poetry Collection.
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