October 6, 2016, by Stephen McKibbin

National Poetry Day – October 6th 2016

The theme of this year’s National Poetry Day is ‘messages’. Having recently relocated to Nottingham from Glasgow, I think of how messages can be interpreted the Scottish way, meaning ‘groceries’ (a celebration of poems about the supermarket – Allen Ginsberg would surely approve). The generosity of the theme is intriguing – for me, the theme implies that all poems are messages, whether found on a lover’s pillow like in W.S. Graham’s poem, or scratched on the back of an envelope as many of Emily Dickinson’s poem were. If all poems are messages, can we also say the converse, that all messages are potential poems? As Edwin Morgan stated and versified, ‘Nothing Not Giving Messages’. Everything pulsates with a voice.

Here in the School of English, we are celebrating National Poetry Day in a variety of ways. On Thursday, Creative Writing lecturer Matthew Welton is launching his new poetry collection The Number Poems at Lakeside Arts. He will be joined by Ruth Fainlight and Henry Normal. Matthew’s writing has been called ‘musical, maddening, irresistible’ by the Guardian and we’re looking forward to the event, which begins at 7.30pm.

We’re also delighted to publish here the work of two poets on the MA Creative Writing programme, who have kindly agreed to share their poems with us.

Poetry Day

What does it all mean,
this poetry thing?
People sat in offices
skewing eyeballs
at passersby,
feeling superior
in their heightened

Forty line maximum:
I’m forty-seven.
I never thought I’d get
to twenty-seven.
‘Beware All Ye Who Enter Here’
should be the disclaimer
on each birth certificate.

I even lost that,
or at least,
it was stolen.
And, now, I am returning
to poetry. I haven’t sat with
it for thirty years.
I haven’t let its ring
catch my ears or its arms
embrace my deadness.

Poetry Day is apt for October
and the first morning frosts.
I feel the cold too much, again.

– Sally Taylor


Creased, she felt her struggles
Soft and excavating,
Deep, those lines were rash
They narrated the tale of an ordinary woman
On the brink of absorption,
Fond yet lucent.
Nobody bothered if she was sated
Neither did she
Though in those moments of sky and deep
She traversed life.
A little than the others, too little
She moved ahead,
Aware of the radiance and iniquity alike
She withheld wisdom in those untouched eyes,
Unaltered they were loyal to her being,
Savouring and shielding,
They hid her blunders.
It all began libertine
When time in exclusive bowed to her beauty,
when nature missed its vicious games,
when realization was promiscuous,
when nights loitered longer,
the unhurriedness of onslaught was cleverly concealed.
Slowness pained
Excruciating and inevitable
Graces lost their charm,
Deception became acceptance,
Beauty withered irretrievable,
Credence became deceased,
Colours were white.
As she traced her sterile skin
She felt courteous,
Majestic of her clambering,
Loose and sagging
Her bright eyes true than ever
Swallowed her graciousness.
Enticing peaceful existence
When time again bowed down,
This time leading her the way.

– Kavya Sharma

Finally, look out for a special poetry exhibition in the corridors of Trent Building, as well as staff members’ favourite poems posted on their office doors. They can also be viewed on the School of English Facebook page: www.facebook.com/UoNEnglish.

Posted in Creative WritingStaff WordsStudent Words