Monday, September 20, 2010

poetry snapshots: anne welsh

after Annette Messager's Story of Dresses

I am corseted in seal-bone to fit into this dress of ugly taffeta.
Inside my glass coffin I smell his skin beneath my fingernails,
the salt of my own body, the paint from the wall on which I hang.

It is cold here in the gallery, colder than the East Coast Scottish winter
and I am visible but not visible like hoarfrost on a morning fresh with snow.
You sound out the word in French that he pinned upon me:

and something in your harsh southern vowels breaks both glass and spell.
A slow bleed falls from my right wrist onto the paper, blotting out
his promissory note.
I hold my hand out to you, not knowing if you'll take it;
if this twin ache in my ribcage is from twenty years' seal-bone-too-tight-binding
or something ice inside it that your star-hard voice may also melt or shatter.

Photo: Naomi Woddis

Anne Welsh’s work has appeared in journals including Poetry News, Agenda Broadsheet and English and is forthcoming on

as part of its Bigger Picture project and in the Tate Poetry from Art anthology (launch event 25/09/2010 Tate Modern). She posts weekly writing prompts at
and blogs at

About the publication:

Stigmata was first published in Seeking Refuge, edited by Jan Fortune-Wood (Cinnamon Press, 2010), in support of the London Cold Weather Shelters. This is one of a series of anthologies to grow out of Ruth O'Callaghan's events at Lumen and Camden which bring together well-known poets and those just starting out.

Monday, September 06, 2010

poetry snapshots: dominic james

Afternoon Song

You there in your old, cold country
Do you think of me
As a bay in North Sicily,
Or rumpled bedroom flooded with heat and light
(From which you cannot keep out
a small cry in the night)
Hot despite all slats and flats of your
Shuttered North doors that can hardly withdraw
All the heat of the day,
At least you can park all your secrets in shade
Until evening takes some heat from your blushes,
Your burns and the drops of your foolish, salt tears

first published online Sentinel Literary Quarterly (January 2010 issue)

Dominic James, approaching middle age, William Yeats and holidays with caution, has been reading with the Bright Scarves poets in Richmond for two years. A prizewinning essayist and short story writer these days he says it's all poetry. Contactable on

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