Monthly Archives: January 2018

The Pink Chernobyl

Maria Stadnicka

‘Poetry at Pembroke’ is a series of poetry readings organised by Peter King, lecturer in philosophy at Pembroke College. The beautiful grounds bring together a wide range of national and international poets, readers, critics, musicians, students, on Mondays at 6pm.

With great joy and enthusiasm, I will be performing at Pembroke on Monday 19th February, at 6pm with the composer Janet Davey.

Janet Davey and Peter J. King performing at Pembroke College, 2017.

Janet and I have a few things in common. Radio broadcasting. Both involved in news. Janet worked for the BBC World Service, I worked for Radio Europa Nova and then for Radio Hit Romania. We share the love for music, for poetry and for sound. And we share a common memory. The Chernobyl accident 26th April 1986. I was eight years old and went to a nearby gymnasium school. 26th April 1986 was…

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from new work “exploded / view” by Fran Lock

And more brilliance from Fran:

the curly mind linguistically innovative poetry - weird & risky

today / my thoughts are furies / today has moved / in tight circles like a hungering dog / you’ve hovered / a toxic ghost / from the high battlements / of your hairdo / embattled hairdo / keratin crisp / letting down / the rope ladder of your logic / i am afraid but forget / how to speak / you like my smile / you said / my yellow crumbled tooth a crown / and now / and now / let us confront the deforested page / a story is stripped of its princess / and i am / a beautiful despot / a sugar mammy with snakes for hair / six cylinder bitch / you said / how i love nothing now / my thin fingers overthink their critical snap / click! / am i getting through? / d’ yous ken at all? / and i…

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#2 father / figure by Fran Lock

Brilliant work by Fran!

the curly mind linguistically innovative poetry - weird & risky

safe house / say / fuh / house / an argument climbs / into the plushy cockpit / of my mouth / the received wisdom / of a stiff drink / where the wall is fraught / with slogans / in the out of town / crematoria / an ecstasy of ashes / say / fuh / pair of hands / to tuck you in / to fuck you up / to tighten the bolt / in your neck / little monster / electrically / alive / and we’re falling down / nursing a nursery fate / like london bridge / the way / monotonous bodies in space conform / to the limp math / holding / the universe together / strong force / weak force / the symbols snuggle up / spoon in their shallow / brackets / you are not you / are not / you /…

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In Memoriam Primo Levi by Nick Cooke

I am not a silent poet

A sequence inspired by “If This Is A Man” 

1. Campo di Fossoli, 21.2.44

“…e perfino i maestri e i professori della piccola scuola tennero lezione a sera, come ogni giorno. Ma ai bambini quella sera non fu assegnato compito.”

No homework that night. And did the teachers,
Stubbornly cramming their heads full of Dante,
Also pack blackboards, chalk, or even canes?
Quo vadis. Towards what education
And what philosophy lead these wagons –
We ask, and in a sense receive an answer,
Though at this unenlightened point the name
Bears not one fraction of its later fame.
At an idle guess it could almost be
Some Alpine ski-town, where the ice-breathed lips
Of relieved officials and their sturdy dames
Stain the air with laughter. Or do we dream?

Agape at the Brenner Pass in silent awe
One tends to hear the snapping of the chalk.

2. ‘Here is no…

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The Violin Killers by Antony Owen

I am not a silent poet

In the Zyklon hills a guard yawned
Blowing halos in lukewarm sleet it was a long day
To mine a mouth of gold and Yiddish begs takes some doing
I have so many questions like why are they burning violins to warm their hands?

Hitler was a poor painter and his masterpiece ran all over the world erasing you,
So many questions like why did the ovens glow like new-born’s?
Why are you burying stars in a mass grave of strange crops?
Those portraits of war should be framed with starlight.

In grey zyklon fog you posted a death that arrived in twenty minutes,
they never died in queues and the mothers clutched at instinct,
babies cradled tight to chests in a shroud of maternity
I think that got to me the most as I flowered.

And so it is, the squelch of Russian boots in mud and ash did…

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Now Versus Once by Veronica Marjon Van Bruggen

I am not a silent poet

Inside our colored brisk world,
a bone inside a leg
lies the world of the negative.

Conviction of inherent good
has dribbled out of our childhood world,
like the stuffing from a toy.

Hypnotic clocks and unfinished
goblin gestures paint a surreal
landscape, fixed in hysteria.

We have lost touch with
the ordinariness of things;
a hushed network of nightmares.

Malevolence is routine now,
places our world in continued shadows.
No more happy-ever-after, just a rheumatoid hic-jacet.

We expect the appalling and disastrous
as normal; in this world the blood screams
whispers to the flesh, and we… accept.

Here the alien wanders endless benighted
streets, where innocent households laugh
behind blinds.

They still believe in an old tomorrow
where milk bottles were left at the polished
door and shining coins were counted and collected.

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