This poem was published in The Poetry Review, autumn issue, 2014. It is shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem 2014.

Cleaning Jim Dine’s Heart

by Maura Dooley

In the afternoon sunlight at DeCordova sculpture park
she is on the top rung of a pair of steps cleaning a big
dark heart. And it has everything in it, this heart. Twice.
Even the coffee pot I brought back in hand luggage
that time, when such a thing was exotic, exciting,
more or less unknown. The coffee pot that blew up, in the end,
leaving its mark on the ceiling of Oakmead Road. That one.
Here it is, unthought of, unremembered, treacly, right here
in Jim Dine’s big dark heart, which needs cleaning now,
front and back. Twice. Along with all its other secrets,
writ large, packed tight, here, in sunlight. His histories.
Which are our histories, some of them at least,
hands moving in darkness, worn-out shoes, rope,
the hammers and saws of a life together, coffee.
Caught forever here in a heartbeat and wiped clean now,
restored in afternoon sunlight, the darkness shining, made good.

BBC Proms teamed up with The Poetry Society to programme Proms Extra Lates, a series of exciting late-night performances in the Elgar Room, Royal Albert Hall. The relaxed cabaret-format events showcase young talents from the worlds of poetry and music. This year’s featured poets are Sarah Howe, Jon Stone, Megan Beech, William Letford, Inua Ellams, Liz Berry, Jack Underwood and Holly Hopkins. Presenter Georgia Mann comperes. All events are recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Inua Ellams and Liz Berry
Inua Ellams and Liz Berry – both performing at the Proms Extra Lates soon.

Proms Extra Lates at the Royal Albert Hall Elgar Room are free events, but tickets must be booked in advance unless you have attended that evening’s Prom (visit or call 0845 401 5040).

  • Thursday 23 July
    Sarah Howe performs poems alongside Modal Point
  • Thursday 30 July
    Jon Stone performs poems alongside The John Garner Quartet
  • Thursday 6 August
    Megan Beech performs poems alongside Vula Viel
  • Thursday 13 August
    William Letford performs poems alongside Bahla
  • Thursday 20 August, 10.45-11.45pm
    Inua Ellams performs poems alongside the Mark Pringle Trio
  • Thursday 27 August, 9.45-10.45pm
    Liz Berry performs poems alongside Project Jam Sandwich
  • Friday 4 September, 10-11pm
    Jack Underwood performs poems alongside Follow the Rats
  • Wednesday 9 September, 10.15-11.15pm
    Holly Hopkins  performs poems alongside Flea Circus
19 August 2015

Tweets @PoetrySociety

Treat yourself to some fun on Wed 2 Sept in Little Venice with Jo Bell & groovy folk band @deadratorchestra

Come and hear fab @CanalPoetry from @Jo_Bell at @CanalCafe Theatre next Wed. Watery songs and poems galore:

Blakes Cottage Fundraising event in London, 19 Sep. Feat. Daljt Nagra, Deborah Levy, George Szirtes & more! Book now:

Explore The Creative Unconscious at our all-day Psychoanalytic Poetry Festival @FreudMusLondon, 19 Sep:...

"Through all the white noise, this is the collective language whispering to you. Write from that whisper..." Free...

Free Verse Poetry Book Fair Competition! Write a short 10-line poem on the theme of 'Books' and be in with a...

The Poetry and Comics exhibition launches next week in the Poetry Cafe, too! Glad to see John will be fully...

Great news! @HannahSilvaUK running Poetry Surgeries for The Poetry Society, Birmingham, October. Feedback on yr poems

TWO slots left on 1-1 workshop with Colette Bryce, Newcastle, Sat 19 Sep - 12.45pm and 2pm

Thom Gunn and his philosophical poetry