This poem is commended in the Carol Ann Duffy challenge on Young Poets Network (YPN). The challenge was co-written and judged by Duffy expert Dr Mari Hughes-Edwards, who said of this poem, "This was a great tribute to Duffy’s roots and the ways she used to play with surrealist and experimental form. I found I could read the poem in at least 5 ways thanks to the unique tabling of it. Images that seemed Duffyan included the grains of rice in a bowl. And at the same time that, and the form were also very different to her work so that it seemed to be a reaction to it and a moving beyond it into new territory which is entirely right. Well done for this poet’s desire to use Duffy as a platform from which to develop their own issues and interests and self expressions. Duffy also is intrigued by other cultures although she inevitably comes to them from the perspective of her own white western subject position but this reminded me of ‘China Town’ from ‘Rapture’ with its incense in bowls of sand." The poet, Dan, said, "In this poem, I was exploring my Cantonese roots through a heavily mythologized lens, just as Duffy's work weaves the tactile into the fantastic into the historical. For instance, in the Feminine Gospels, the stories she tells of women - possibly women she knew - and how it felt that they were, through magical realism."

Pearl River

by Dan Fitt-Palmer

a tiger can dissolve
into mist –
the river cannot abide
unscathed prey. you want
to span the whole thing
with looming towers,
yet i too slip
between sounds,
iron dagger at my hip.
that sparkling dust
that refuses your fingers like
scattered rice grains
in a bowl.
the dull clink of your
machine-struck coin;
a spread-out deck of cards – i look for patterns,
things to come.

 

 

The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote “a more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”.  Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally.  Today it has more than 4000 members worldwide and publishes The Poetry Review.

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