Tim Liardet

Tim Liardet has produced ten collections of poetry to date. His third collection Competing with the Piano Tuner was a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation and long-listed for the Whitbread Poetry Prize in 1998 and his fourth—To the God of Rain— a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Spring 2003.

The Blood Choir, his fifth collection, won an Arts Council England Writer’s Award as a collection-in-progress, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. Priest Skear, a pamphlet, was the Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice for Winter 2010.

The Storm House, his eighth full collection, appeared from Carcanet in July 2011. His tenth collection—The World Before Snow—will appear from Carcanet in March 2015; his Arcimboldo’s Bulldog: New and Selected Poems, in March 2016.

The Uses of Pepper was a winner in the 2002 Book & Pamphlet Competition, chosen by David Constantine.

Tim has reviewed poetry for such journals as The Independent, The Guardian, The Independent on Sunday, Poetry Review and PN Review, and was recently the Poet-in-Residence at The Guardian.

 He is Professor of Poetry at Bath Spa University.


'These scrupulous poems treat the saddening and fearful world of the prison.  They do so meticulously, humanely, with rare tact.  There is no voyeurism, no gratuitous exoticism. The strangeness and the difficulty here are designed to make us exercise our hearts and minds, for better understanding and more compassion.' — David Constantine


Only the rain can cling to it, snatched away
by a rumour of air thickening then passing.
Let a hand try the same, we're told, and a trap 

of razors will spring and close, spring and close.
(In it, we're told, the body of a jackdaw left its feet
thirty metres from its head, which nonetheless 

turned to address them: '.....only half of us can make it
over the wire, half in the world, half out,
though the pale gas of morning rises on either side.') 

Think of it: a contraption of blades coiled
along the top of the towering fence erected between
six hundred young men and their birthright. 

One side of it thrives all the indices
of hunger, the other the many sorts of worldly apple.




Because he is older, stronger,
and the other boy smaller and more docile, 

he can take into his hands his whole body
(.....the body of the mind, that is, 

taken in the large hands of the larger mind)
and do to it whatsoever he wishes

as if merely massaging himself, flexing
that awkward ache so troublesome 

of late, the cramps he gets in the spaces
in both wrists there between the vital bits, which 

he works out through his fingers, answering
the mind's need for the exercise-yard: 

all that's left is the smaller one's
flightless body, and him, sated with protein.



Titles by this author

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