Bill Manhire In England in November; new poem

Eyewear is very pleased to welcome Bill Manhire, New Zealand's leading poet of his generation, to its pages today with a poem.  Manhire will be appearing at various events next week and beyond in England.  Here is his schedule:

November 2: a reading, as part of the launch of Simon Armitage's Poetry Parnassus project; Poetry International.

November 3: talk and reading, Kingston University, Kingston-upon-Thames, Penrhyn Road Campus, John Galsworthy Building, JG4002, 4-5 pm; all welcome; admission free.  Introduction by Anna Smaill.

November 3: Reading poems by Edwin Morgan as part of a tribute evening called The Scots Makar; Poetry International.

November 5-7: Aldeburgh Festival

November 9: the Gerald Finzi Reading at the University of Reading, 6.30 pm.

The Ruin

Storm roared in the roof: a rocking of towers.
Giants stood then stumbled.
Once they strode into weather and wind.
Where stairs went down, only these mounds.

Then more is missing.

Walk toward the baths: they are missing.
Toward ramparts and ring-hall: missing.
Toward Romans and Saxons:
missing and missing.

Each man under-taken.
Generation and generation.
Here is a gate made of frost,
Here tiles were torn away and [missing].
Here was fire. Here was [lost]

And here is the true charred text.
See how the ruin rides among riddles
– anchor and inkhorn and loom –
bumping against whatever happens next.

Oh earth went over them all:
chalice and harp, wanderer and wife,
palace and tented place.

Grey moss on red stone . . .

And here and there a glance, a gleam

a home [but missing]

dwelling we almost glimpse across the water.

reprinted with permission of the author from The Victims of Lightning (Victoria University Press, 2010).


Dick said…
I love this. I'm sorry I shan't be able to make any of the advertised readings because if his other verse rattles along out loud like this one then there'll be some good listening.
Poetry Pleases! said…
Dear Todd

When my dad was Professor of Politics at Reading University, he used to help organize Gerald Finzi poetry readings. He met Lord Motion one year (plain Andrew in those days!) and had a lengthy chat with him.

Best wishes from Simon
Ross said…
I did a writing course with Bill, surprisingly many years ago. My recommendation - if you are going to any readings at all this year, go to these. He is one of those rare poets who really put flesh on their work for an audience - whole new ways of seeing the poems. Pleased to see he still favours the use of "Oh" - a rare enough tool these days.
Anonymous said…
Todd, thank you for posting Bill's wonderful version of the Anglo-Saxon poem The Ruin. He read it last night, brilliantly, at Poetry International. Another long poem, which started with a charming mistranslation of fire alarm instructions in a Copenhagen hotel, grew into a mesmerizing litany of emergencies, a powerful anti-war poem. I didn't catch its title but will order his new book (from Amazon New Zealand?)

Cheers from Nancy (Mattson)

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