Wednesday, 26 June 2013

A poetry reading in Acton

At the launch of 'Soil' by Tim Cresswell

Facing each other, the poets are embedded, sombre,
oblivious to crash and clatter of kitchen and bar.
The publisher, sole witness to the agonies of creation,
huddles behind a pile of books, leaking words.

The poets declaim in honour of the auspicious day,
earnest, incomprehensible, mischievous by turn,
while friends press against walls or lounge awkwardly,
uncertain about the rules on laughter. Or applause.

The poet they have come to hear opens his new book,
releasing from white pages the screech of parakeets,
red rowan berries, a cascade of pubs, old man Andy,
the glitter of an urban fox and a rabbit that swings.

After applause and congratulations, the friends leave,
meeting wet Acton streets for the first time,
but the poets remain, drinking shots at the bar,
a baptism of words that hang in the air, alive.

Alice Christie


Many congratulations to Professor Tim Cresswell on the launch of his debut collection of poems, 'Soil' published by Penned in the Margins. It has been a  privilege to hear about the process of preparing the book over the past months and to be present at the launch. The collection has already had wonderful reviews from Jo Shapcott and Philip Gross who believe that Tim will be an important new voice in poetry.

It is a remarkable collection of poems, the urban landscape defined with compassion and affection. I love the wit, playful placement of words on the page, pitch perfect phrases and glimpses of wildness in the gaps between houses. My favourite poem - is such a thing permitted? - is 'On entering the home of the bourgeois intelligentsia for the first time'. Let's just say it sounded familiar and leave it at that.

Good luck to Tim and his family as they relocate to Boston this summer - the literary salons of Boston are in for a real treat.

[photo courtesy of Penned in the Margins]


  1. AnonymousJune 26, 2013

    My, this man is versatile: geography, thinking, writing, history and international affairs... I feel dwarfed but I'm sure he is not the kind of man that woukd give one that feeling when meeting him personally.
    I love your poem too, Alice, especially the line "uncertain about the rules..."
    Don't I know that feeling too...
    Off to see if I can purchase Soil here.
    Thank you!

  2. Liz in Missouri, USAJune 26, 2013

    It sounds like a wonderful evening. Such happiness to be published and appreciated. I hope to find a copy of this book soon.
    When is YOUR reading going to be?

  3. 'releasing from white pages the screech of parakeets'

    Fabulous writing, I am incredibly impressed! With Prof. Cresswell too.

  4. Alice, you are a woman of many talents and it's always a joy to read you. xx

  5. I loved this post - it was like looking at a reflection of a reflection. You know the kind I mean? Turning the mirror to face itself. Perpetual poetry in motion. Your'e a star. I often imagine your entire blog as book. A versatile manuscript for life and all it's quandries (loooooved the Ironing Guru - please give him my address) it's treats and it's tongue in cheek observations. Have a super day Alice... mine is all the richer for having stopped by to visit you. Xx


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