Tim Liardet

Twice shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, for The World Before Snow (Carcanet) in 2015 and The Blood Choir (Seren) in 2006, Tim Liardet has produced ten collections of poetry to date. He has also been longlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Prize, and has received several Poetry Book Society Recommendations, a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice, an Arts Council England Writer's Award, Society of Authors Award, a Hawthornden fellowship, three Pushcart nominations, and various other awards.

His poems have appeared or are due to appear in The Kenyon Review, The New Republic, Slate Magazine, The North American Review, London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, The Poetry Review, Poetry London, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Independent, The Independent on Sunday and many other journals. Arcimboldo's Bulldog: New and Selected Poems appeared from Carcanet in May 2018. Liardet was a Poetry Book Society selector from 2015-2017 and is Professor of Poetry at Bath Spa University, England.

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



'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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