Poems from The Blue Crevasse

Poems from The Blue Crevasse

The image of a blue crevasse famously appears in W.S. Graham’s poem ‘Malcolm Mooney’s Land’, and the author’s estate welcomed the idea of creating a similar metaphorical space where admirers of the poet might, in a sense, be lowered for a month’s solitary ‘residency’. For each month of 2018 we will post a new poem, commissioned specially by the estate of W.S. Graham, from one of our twelve digital poets-in-residence.

Image: Copyright © the Estate of Michael Seward Snow, 2018. All rights reserved.

The Blue Crevasse: Poets in residence

JANUARY: 'The Interior' by Alan Gillis

A lifetime of work to own a house
then you end up diminished by it.

Read Gillis's poem here.

Alan Gillis is from Belfast and teaches English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. His poetry collection Scapegoat (2014) followed Here Comes the Night (2010), Hawks and Doves (2007) and Somebody, Somewhere (2004), all published by Gallery Press. He was chosen by the Poetry Book Society as a ‘Next Generation Poet’ in 2014.

FEBRUARY: 'In a Secondhand Bookshop' by Mel Pryor

Maybe I want to feel his hand under
my own hand as I turn the old page

Read Pryor's poem here.

Mel Pryor has published a pamphlet, Drawn on Water (Eyewear, 2014) and a full collection, Small Nuclear Family (Eyewear, 2015). Small Nuclear Family was chosen by Bel Mooney as a Christmas choice in the Daily Mail and the TLS described it as 'a remarkable debut'.

March: 'W*nd' by Zafar Kunial

When I arrived
I didn’t know
the word
for what I was.

Read Kunial's poem here.

Zaffar Kunial was born in Birmingham and lives in Hebden Bridge. His pamphlet Faber New Poets 11 was published in 2014. An essay ‘Laburnum Time’ was collected in the anthology of woodland writing, Arboreal (Little Toller, 2016). His first full poetry collection is due with Faber & Faber in 2018.

April: Three Awkward Ears by Denise Riley

ice-burned tongues 
clump into celestine’s 
eye-blue spar & chink
on snow-muffled ears

Read Riley's poem here.

Denise Riley’s books include War in the Nursery (1983); ‘Am I that Name?’ (1988); The Words of Selves (2000); Selected Poems (2000); The Force of Language, with Jean-Jacques Lecercle (2004); Impersonal Passion (2005), Time Lived, Without Its Flow (2012) and Say Something Back (2016). She lives in London.

May: “One Renfrewshire Man To Another”

To articulate clearly what is difficult to say
I shall transmit this by a beam from a lighthouse
Over the eventful, unforgiving waters
Across many a headland and many a bay.

Read Dunn's poem here.

Douglas Dunn is a major Scottish poet, editor and critic, whose Elegies (1985), a moving account of his first wife’s death, became a critical and popular success. Author of over ten collections of poetry, he was Professor in the School of English at the University of St Andrews from 1991, and was awarded an OBE in 2003.

June: 'Seastairway' by Vahni Capildeo


Read Capildeo's poem here.

Vahni Capildeo’s most recent books are Measures of Expatriation (Carcanet, 2016; Forward Poetry Prize for Best Collection; T.S. Eliot Prize nomination), Seas and Trees (IPSI, 2017) and Venus as a Bear (Carcanet, 2018). She is a Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow at the University of Leeds.Image: Copyright Hayley Madden, for the Poetry Society