THE NIGHT I SPOKE IRISH IN SURREY by Richard Hawtree
Richard Hawtree’s poems have appeared in literary magazines including: The Stinging Fly, The Penny Dreadful, Banshee, SOUTH, and Scintilla. He has read his work at festivals, universities and bookshops across the U.K. and Ireland. He teaches Creative Writing at the University of Brighton.
'In these poems of exquisite freshness, Richard Hawtree shows that he is one of those rare poets who, in the words of Seamus Heaney, invites us to be in ‘two times at the same place’. In this, his debut pamphlet, he conjures a world where the ‘dark matter’ of the past coexists, luxurious and palpable, with a deftly articulated present, where WAV files and fibre-optics channel Catullus and St Colman. Distinguished by a limber unforced command of form, by a sense of unbridled linguistic play, Hawtree sets us freewheeling through the Anglo-Celtic archipelago, exploring hidden linguistic byroads, historical cul-de-sacs and a turbulent modernity.'
for Francis Ledwidge
When you pass over the senseless shell holes
that separate sweet music from a bomb,
all of us are woke (as the young now say)
to the strafing mud in your poet’s lung.
Even if all the gas-sick stallions of Meath
gambolled right here in this dugout
not one would conjure your Picardy –
Francis, you breathe
sound horses for us all to tether
to trench-thin air we’ll wake together.
(From 'The Night I Spoke Irish in Surrey')