“Language does the work if you let it” – look, listen and enliven your Poetry Review reading

The Poetry Society is releasing new extra digital content in July to enliven and extend The Poetry Review reading experience.

GailMcConnell and Review editor EmilyBerry

In the latest Poetry Review podcast, Gail McConnell talks to Emily Berry about loss, parenthood and the resource of language in her debut collection The Sun is Open (Penned in the Margins). Published this September, the book works with archival material related to the life and death of McConnell’s father, who was murdered by the IRA outside their home in Belfast in 1984. “Language does the work if you let it,” she observes of this “fraught undertaking”. Together they discuss poetry form and performance – typography, breath, sound and “the event of the poem” – and the poets and thinkers who have influenced McConnell’s thinking: Bob Scanlan of The Poets’ Theatre, Jay Bernard, Raymond Antrobus, Denise Riley, Ciaran Carson, D.W. Winnicott and others. McConnell gives astonishing readings of her poems published in the Review: excerpts from ‘The Sun is Open’ and ‘Untitled / Villanelle’.

The Poetry Society has also released Anita Pati’s Poetry Mixtape – the poet’s pick of the online text, audio and video that are sparking her imagination currently. Anita’s pick includes Noor Hindi, Audre Lorde and a magnificent audio recording of Natalie Diaz reading her poem, ‘They Don’t Love You Like I Love You’. Anita’s poem ‘Mr Octopus for preemies’ is among the summer issue highlights to be featured online.

In the regular online ‘Behind the Poem’ series, The Poetry Society recently published Paul Muldoon’s peregrinations around his poem ‘Rain’. “I think of the poem as describing two hands. Two wings. A butterfly-axe,” he writes. “Not that I ever had such an agenda for the poem. I always work on the principle that if I can bear to trust the poem, just as one might entrust oneself to a horse, it will carry both of us as far as we need to go.”

Next up in the ‘Behind the Poem’ series will be Amaan Hyder, who explores the contexts of his summer issue poem, ‘In terms of cottaging’. Look out for Amaan’s piece in the week ahead.

Don’t forget you can easily subscribe to the print or digital issue of The Poetry Review (free to Full members of The Poetry Society). It is also on sale in all good bookshops.

21 July 2021