GEOFF STEVENS MEMORIAL POETRY PRIZE 2018 IS NOW OPEN
Cover design, The World at your Window by Oz Hardwick
Ed: Oz Hardwick
Indigo Dreams Publishing
138 x 216mm
£7.99 + P&P UK
PUB: March 2017
Whatever happened to the future? Half a century ago, it was everywhere. Russia and America were racing through space, while on our screens the USS Enterprise was boldly going, as International Rescue averted the worst of our natural and unnatural disasters. The future was shiny, and it was just around the corner in the twenty-first century. Yet, now that the Golden Age has arrived, we so often retreat from our turbulent times into pseudo-medievalist fantasy and derivative gothic, as the world teeters back into the politics of the last century, and the future is reduced to empty “post-truth” soundbites.
This collection offers a small antidote, with a range of poems that are varied in tone, subject, and approach. Desire, defiance and, yes, a little despair, jostle through the personal and the universal, the formal and the free, resulting in an uplifting collection focused on the future, which is nonetheless rooted in a clear-sighted view of the present.
All of the featured poets are, or have been, students or staff at Leeds Trinity University, which was founded as Trinity and All Saints College fifty years ago. In that half-century the university has undergone many changes, but at its heart has always been an unwavering commitment to supporting students in shaping both their own futures, and those of the communities in which they live.
We hope you are inspired by this collection.
Oz Hardwick is a York-based poet, photographer, music journalist, and occasional musician who, under the pseudonym of Paul Hardwick, is Professor of English at Leeds Trinity University, where he is Programme Leader for Creative Writing.
This collection is dedicated to 50 years of creative spirits at Leeds Trinity University and to all those who believe in the arts as a positive force for change.
Change Here – Gill Lambert
When the conductor says
take all your belongings with you,
ignore him, you won’t need them;
you have to be hands-free, unburdened
by the sack of past you’re carrying.
Someone will find it under the seat,
eye it suspiciously and call security.
Change here. Tread purposefully
through crowds of strangers
wearing Monday faces, wait for
the surge of a Friday night battle
for home, or join the orderly line
of the ticketless, leaving it to chance.
You’ll know your train when you get to it.
If a man you know from years ago,
boarding a train you’re walking past,
says see you later, don’t wonder when?
Know this time he’s gone for good,
don’t waste time worrying
whether see you later means
twenty minutes or twenty years.
Once you’re on the train, stay on it.
Where you end up might be a shock,
but looking back at where you’ve come from
will put things in perspective.
Start walking and follow the exit signs;
this is not your destination,
there is still a long way to go.
Parallax – Oz Hardwick
We adapt to desires of the moment, polymorphic minds,
constant flux, floating weightless in space
between our lips. We search in the same direction,
eyes absorbing language across distance shifting
invisibility to intimacy. Each hair on our bodies
is an aerial, scanning proximity, leaning into the magnetism
of passing spheres, decoding signals sent
when we were still animals, aspiring to limbs. We are made
from the stuff of stars: I spiral, foetal, in a void
of glimmerings; you shrink into black light,
your radiation dispersing without decay. We will hold
this orbit until we discover new worlds or,
in our singular dance, spiral into the Sun.
Move On Up – Clare Wigzell
Ahead, the water clears to shadow stones,
a path emerging on the soft sea bed.
Will I wait to let these shimmering bones
coalesce into a solid place to tread,
or step into this swirling liquid realm
knowing that feet cannot anchor me,
that each diagonal wave may overwhelm,
currents pull under? Or shall I float free?
Look up! Slanting seagulls fight the wind,
clouds form fleeting contours, then fly apart,
sapphire sky widens, horizon is thinned,
it’s time to follow the surge of the heart.
Shout the words, though it makes eyes sting,
gulp in the air, let your swollen vowels sing.
Picasso Blue – Shaunna Harper
Finally I can breathe underwater,
beaming blue and languishing delirious,
applaud my performance in asphyxiated living;
my smile seems sad, but it isn't serious.
At last, a siren breaking free, I sing,
porcelain tears turn to Fool's Gold,
true beauty finds cold ego rejected;
youth drowns its fear of the old.
Virtue finds peace in salvation so tender,
the future hangs in haphazard splendour,
and finally, I see with eyes just like you,
how all life is painted Picasso blue.