T S Eliot Poetry Prize 2013 – A Night of Ten Stars!

A few staff Lit Soc members took a short trip to the Royal Festival Hall last night to join over 2,000 poetry fans enjoying readings by the T S Eliot Prize 2013 shortlisted poets.

Helen Mort, Maurice Riordan, Dannie Abse, Sinead Morrissey, Moniza Alvi, Daljit Nagra and friends, Michael Symmons Roberts, George Szirtes, Robin Robertson and Ruth Padel on behalf of Anne Carson, performed and talked about their nominated collections, keeping us spellbound for over two and a half hours.

Compared by the incomparable Ian McMillan, we had a fantastic evening and I, for one, am glad that I am not judging this amazing shortlist.  As Ian said, poetry comes in waves and at the moment we are at high water enjoying these gifted artists.  May this long continue.

Looking forward to the result later today and thanks to Stuart Bird for organizing us!



Some poems

A poem about a box that I’m building with off-cuts of floorboards, and the sense of satisfaction it brings when it fits together like a jigsaw. Although the jigsaw simile seems a little obvious here, which is why it didn’t make the cut.



I’m building a box.

Not flat-packed with a language-less diagram,

Not put together with a freebie Allen key,

But a pirate chest, an oak trunk,

With walnut grains that I’ve brought out with oil,

That runs and sets as if it were alive

Into the furrows and gullies of the wood

And my fingerprints.


Six slats of laser cut wood

Click together in clockwork alignment,

A beaming sense of satisfaction,

From a perfectly calculated tessellation.


Nails are driven below the surface;

Countersunk, hidden from sight,

As if the box were one piece

Moulded like putty.


The lid closes with a dull thunk,

Ensuring forgotten things

Remain forgotten. Continue reading “Some poems”