Nov 6, 2012

2003 Competition Winner: Kathryn Simmonds

In 2003 Kathryn Simmonds entered the competition with her pamphlet Snug. So on this frosty presidential election day we give you the appropriate title poem.

"It was a huge boost to have a pamphlet selected for The Poetry Business competition, not only because it’s well recognised and I admire the work of the poets who’ve come through it, but also because it confirmed to me that my poems could stand up as a group — though I’d been publishing poems individually in magazines, I wasn’t quite sure if they were happy accidents or if anyone wanted to read more than two or three together. The Poetry Business pamphlets, with their bold colours and simple design, are also beautiful little objects and clearly produced with love, so it was a joy to be part of the series."


SNUG 

I can't keep awake these days. As soon as I get home I'm underneath 
the eiderdown, dozing in my tights, the radio announcer shrinking to an insect 

buzzing with the news of war. If only I could let the politicians into bed 
with me they might be pacified, inhale my unwashed pillowslip and milky breath, 

close their eyes against the amber stencil of the window frame. The Foreign 
Secretary could form a spoon and tuck his knees into the opposition's flank, 

Mr President relax his grip and rest a hand there on a Middle Eastern hip.
Together we might chat in whispers of our days, interpreters translating softly 

into open ears: that conference in Karachi that went on and on, crisis talks 
in Belfast and New York. I'll tell of how in Norwich I unclogged the photocopier 

again, sipped instant coffee heavy-lidded in the lull of three o'clock. The Premier 
of Holland will recount an anecdote in perfect English (the astounding fart 

that punctured talks on agricultural policy). Eventually our giggling will stutter 
to its end, our ribs relax, we'll fall into the rhythm of each others breath. 

We'll stay like that for twelve hour at a stretch, arms around each other's middles,
dreaming not of anything we want because we have it, all there is to have.

 

Full details of the 2012/13 Book & Pamphlet Competition here.

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