Who’s that bird?

“I knew he was – would become – a poem as soon as I set eyes on him. That unmistakeable aura, the bristling forcefield of the imaginary, the dazzle of semiotic refractions that imbue the verifiable with the mythological.”

In his new ‘Behind the Poem’ online article, Graham MortA cock pheasant photographed by Graham Mort from behind a rain-spattered window offers views inside and out of the bird that inspired ‘Cock Pheasant’, his wonderful poem just published in the winter issue of The Poetry Review. Both belligerent and fugitive, the bird is impelled to confront and is also deeply perturbed by the ghost self he spies in the kitchen window – offering instructive anthropomorphic reflections on our own susceptible sense of self. “Wild creatures have irreducible quiddity. So do we – a species whose needs, beliefs and anxieties generate the world,” Mort writes.

To read both the article and poem, visit the ‘Behind the Poem’ page of The Poetry Review web section, where you’ll discover more about the inner workings of many Review authors’ imaginations. Recent contributors include Kimberly Reyes, Eleanor Hooker, Isabelle Baafi, Natalie Linh Bolderston, Joey Connolly and Inua Ellams.

Graham Mort will be reading at the online launch of the winter issue of The Poetry Review on 28 January 7pm GMT, alongside Jason Allen-Paisant, Meredi Ortega and Rushika Wick. Tickets are free; to book, visit the event webpage on The Poetry Society website.

8 January 2021