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A blog for my academic ideas, more or less.

Some of My Favourite Contemporary Poets

(This post has very little to do with my research, but I just wanted to make it.)

Luke Kennard. Emily Berry. Ellen Kennedy. Joe Dunthorne. Chris East.

I’m still trying to understand what I like about poetry. This is sort of an attempt to represent what I like just now, to put them together to see if they make sense or contradict or just are.

Be gentle with me.

Here are some examples of their work:

from Morals, by Luke Kennard

5. You are managing director of a small shoe factory. For a week the factory has been manufacturing solid shoes, which is to say, shoes without mouths — thus nowhere for the foot to go. Whatever were you thinking?

Communication, by Emily Berry

That day we didn’t speak and ate sandwiches swiftly.
I have always struggled with the roaring woman within
who might emerge and say her piece, impossible to understand.
I tried to convey this to you:

I have pinned her down with a series of pegs
so she lies flat like a wire against a wall.
This way all her anger is channelled into a phone that rings;
I pick it up: “Hello?”

You said you were peopled with other personalities; I knew them all as one,
like coloured sections of an umbrella that meet at the spike.
Under the shade of your muted colours, I stand in the rain,
talking to myself on the phone.

from I Like Every Time We Have Sex by Ellen Kennedy

“I want to have sex with you.”

“Thank you. I want to have sex with you also.”



“When I say I want to have sex with you I mean really.”

“So do I.”

“I mean really, I don’t just say that as a feeling. Do you understand? Did you really mean that you wanted to have sex with me when we were waiting on line at the movie theater before or did you just mean that as a feeling?”

“I don’t know. I’m sorry”

“Don’t be sorry. I really want to know. If I want to have sex with you I would really have sex with you.”

“Okay. Thank you.”

Eating Out, by Joe Dunthorne

There are dumpsters simply brimming
with left overs and send backs,
black sacks full of nummy slop:
coconut pannacotta
truffle honey mozzarella
California bouillabaisse
and even if you mush
the food together
I’ll bet it still tastes pretty good
but then, you see,
there are these down-by-luck
table-salt of the earth types:
smelling like asparagus piss,
no money, no grub,
little half-healed cuts on their nose bridges,
and anyhow
you’d think they might be allowed
to lick a strand of marinated pig fat
from the inside of a bin bag
but no, because the nosh,
even when it’s been tossed out,
still represents the chef
– it’s still product –
and they say a restaurant’s reputation
is only equal to its clientele
and, on occasion, these homeless chaps
shout abuse through letter boxes
so the really good restaurants
have a cage,
a big steel cage in the alley out the back,
to protect the scraps
from these poor sods
with their bellies cramping
and their sunburnt eyelids
and so, I mean,
it makes you feel terribly helpless really,
forty slightly overdone scallops
going to rot in a cage, imagine.

from If I Killed You So What, by Chris East

I would go back in time
And trick your mother into thinking
I had given her an abortion
And when she started to get big
I would tell her
Time to hit the treadmill fatty


Filed under: reading

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