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THE MELITA HUME SHORTLIST 2014: JOANNE CLEMENT (5 OF 11)

Joanne Clement (pictured) was born in 1986 in the North East town of Darlington. Under the tutelage of W.N. Herbert, in 2013 Newcastle University awarded Joanne distinction for a creative writing MA, with a specialism in poetry. The recipient of a Northern Promise Award in 2012, she was selected by New Writing North and Paul Farley to develop her first collection.



A first class English undergraduate with Leeds Trinity and All Saints, Joanne was awarded the Jack Higgins Prize for Outstanding Achievement. Since graduating, she has researched for BBC Radio 4’s Writing the Century and The Tenth Muse, presented by Jackie Kay. She looks forward to starting a PhD at Newcastle University this year. Joanne is undertaking an ekphrastic investigation into the engravings of natural history author Thomas Bewick, with the support of a Northern Bridge studentship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Wood Picture
Your shoulders, they must ache still, in the burn
of yesterday's lime. Would that I could smooth
your lapels down, breathe in your nape's damp
heat. But fat oil over lean steals your scent


from me, flax fumes thin the air between us.
I fancy your neckerchief is golden gypsy silk,
though its tying sits so high. And if paint itself 
with living nature fails, why is your brow still


sprent with sweat? How easy I can look at you,
John Clare, caught in a flush of nut brown ale.
Your distance kept an arm's length or two
from the easel. I wonder what your eyes


thought then, perhaps of sleep beneath the thicket,
the night you turned yourself in? I felt the same
wind blown flies and flowers, that passing, stroked
your skin. And I, too, am open mouthed in the morning,


wearing a cloak of frost: your kin.


poem COPYRIGHT THE POET 2014
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