Monday, 17 February 2014

Reading the Credits, Crediting the Reader

Browsing the publishing credits of Jane Clarke, whose work I have enjoyed in journals and when she read at North West Words, I discovered her poems had featured in Envoi journal. A bit of googling later and I ordered a copy of the journal published in Wales by Cinnamon Press and edited by Cinnamon's Jan Fortune. That was the Summer 2013 issue and included poems by Kevin Graham, a Dublin poet whose work I have also spotted in the journals over the years.

The work published in Envoi, interesting reviews, and especially the insightful editorial directing readers to particular poems in the issue indicated a sensibility I liked, so I chose three poems to submit for the next issue due out in November. I sent Going Nowhere Slowly, which has since been published in Word Bohemia, Testimony and A Brother for Luka which I'm very fond of but no editor has been to date.
Testimony was chosen by Jan Fortune for publication and my contributor's copy arrived a few weeks ago.

Testimony is one of those poems that is the product of a writing exercise set in a Garden Room Writers meeting. The prompt was a selection of images from newspapers. I chose a photo of the footpath outside a graffiti covered shop. There were some chairs and a cafe table set outside and I began wondering about who might take a seat there amid the traffic fumes and litter. The poem then became about a man who spent his time passing judgement on the people in the paper he read and in his immediate environment. I imagined him reading the graffiti and acting on the urge to respond to what he read there.


He has a favourite spot
outside a café on High Street

No-one calls in there for
card-boarded coffee to go

His seat is a white folding chair
at an un-matching folding table

He opens his paper out
ignores the passing traffic

Sometimes he looks at the
graffiti on the doors

He sees who loves who
who is a whore

Angels paint these
messages while we sleep

He writes them on the edges
of his paper, carries copies

folded in his pocket
for doomsday.

 Maureen Curran     

Order Envoi   here 

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