I’m a Fan of . . . BOOKS!

Posting for the “I’m a Fan Of” Challenge hosted by Jez.

I love reading books and reading about books. Some of my favorite places in the whole world are bookstores. Here are a couple of photos from my most recent trip:

Train Reading: London Review of Books, 9 June 2022

Migration is a self-splitting, one note observes; it’s “psychotic to live in a different country for ever.”

— Peter Howarth, in his review of Bhanu Kapil’s poetry collection How to Wash a Heart, “poems addressing the wealthy liberal woman who has taken the speaker, an artist whose immigration status is precarious, into her house.”

Perhaps I can write here again.
A ‘fleeting sense of possibility.’ — K

Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC) # 48: Honoring Fallen Heroes & Sheroes

Self is so happy she is able to participate in the PPAC Challenge this week! The theme is Honoring Fallen Heroes & Sheroes.

She is currently in Oxford, UK. The last trip she took before the pandemic was also to Oxford, to listen to a reading by Oxford’s first ever female professor of poetry, Alice Oswald, Nov. 2019. She was in the company of friends Jenny Lewis and Joan McGavin. It so happened she was here on Armistice Day, Nov. 11.

She attended a service at Christchurch. No tourists, but she told the guard she was NOT a tourist, she was here to attend the service. So he let her through.

The service was very moving. The names of all the men of Christchurch who died in World War I were read aloud. Later, she saw a wall on the side of the chapel, with all the names inscribed in stone, a single wreath leaning against the memorial.

How very, very restrained.

Poetry Friday: Meg Barton


from the chapbook I’d Still Have Been Annoyed About the Plums, a Poets House Pamphlet

Yesterday I threw out the shirt that I hate,
the one with the not-quite-comfortable collar.
Now that I am rid of it,
my mornings will be straightforward.

Today I threw away that hideous mug,
always the only one left in the cupboard.
Now that it’s gone,
drinking my coffee will always be a pleasure.

And now that Anna left last week,
Anna at work, who drove us all mad
with her grating voice and constant need for attention,
now she’s departed,
the rest of us will be able to live in harmony.

So how is it I never noticed
the other hated shirt before —
the one with the irritating buttons?
Or that mug with a chip on the handle?

And funny how annoying Gerald at work has suddenly become,
Eating his apple like that.

Poetry Wednesday: Paul Maddern

Excerpt, Found: I

— from letters sent by Paul Nash to his wife Margaret

21 March 1917, near La Clytte:

The willows are orange,
the poplars carmine with buds,
the streams gleam brightest blue
and flights of pigeons
go wheeling about the fields.

Messed up with all this normal
beauty of nature you see
the strange beauty of war.

  • Paul Maddern was born in Bermuda and lives in Co. Down, Northern Ireland. He obtained his PhD at the Seamus Heaney Centre and has since taught at the universities of Leeds, Edinburgh and Queen’s Belfast. Found I is from the collection Pilgrimage (Templar Poetry, 1917)

Poetry Monday: Herbert Asquith (1881 – 1947)


from the anthology The War Poets: An Anthology (Norwich: Jarrold Publishing, 2nd printing 2005)

Up and down, up and down,
They go, the gray rat, and the brown.
The telegraph lines are tangled hair,
Motionless on the sullen air;
An engine has fallen on its back,
With crazy wheels; on a twisted track;
All ground to dust is the little town;
Up and down, up and down
They go, the gray rat and the brown.
A skull, torn out of the graves nearby,
Gapes in the grass. A butterfly,
In azure iridescence new,
Floats into the world, across the dew;
Between the flow’rs. Have we lost our way,
Or are we toys of a god at play,
Who do these things on a young Spring day?
Where the salvo fell, on a splintered ledge,
Of ruin, at the crater’s edge,
A poppy lives: and young, and fair,
The dewdrops hang on the spider’s stair,
With every rainbow still unhurt
From leaflet unto leaflet girt.

Man’s house is crushed; the spider’s lives:
Inscrutably, He takes, and gives,
Who guards not any temple here,
Save the temple of the gossamer.

Up and down, up and down
They go, the gray rat, and the brown:
A pistol cracks, they too are dead.

The nightwind rustles overhead.

Poetry Sunday: Siobhan Campbell

An excerpt from The shame of our island

is that we killed the wolf.
Not just the last
but the two before that.

I knew a man who met a man
who was the cousin removed
of the great-grandson of the man
who killed the third-last wolf
on the island.

Slit it he did,
to see the steaming innards —
how long they were, how tightly wound.

Had it a white paw to the fore?
That gene would have been recessive.

The shame of our island is part of the collection Heat Signature (Seren Books, an imprint of Poetry Wales Press, 2017)

  • About the author: Siobhan Campbell was born in Dublin. Her collections of poetry are Cross-Talk (Seren), The Permanent Wave and The Cold that Burns (Blackstaff Press) and chapbooks The water speaks in tongues (Templar) and Darwin Among the Machines (Rack Press).

Quote of the Day: Virgil

Poetry Sunday: Bronwyn Lovell


from Chrysalis: Butterfly Poems

You know you are not all
that you might be but
you must still see
all that you are

if you
can not see
all that you are
for all that you might be
you will never be
all that

no matter
how lovely
all you intend to be
might be, stay mindful
of what you are

is the
only time
you can ever really be.


Self met Bronwyn Lovell at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig and treasures her copy of Chrysalis.

Poetry Friday: Seppel Glückert

And before the war — do you want to know?
We had to beat our breasts
those of us who could not find
the courage to free ourselves from servitude.

We called “heil, heil” ceaselessly
and let me add one other thing:
many of our brothers and sisters
that eternal “Heil” of former times
whether spoken or sung
never sounded in their hearts.

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