2013-2014 Series Begins Thursday 26th September

CB1 Poetry continues at The Boathouse but moving to the fourth Thursday of the month, and we have a fantastic programme taking shape for 2013-2014.

Later in the series, we're looking forward to readings from Emily Berry, whose superb Dear Boy from Faber was just shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and a special night celebrating Carcanet Press, featuring several readers including wonderful London Olympics poet Caroline Bird, whose fourth collection The Hat-Stand Union is just out from Carcanet.

But to start the series we're very excited to have a reading from the highly lauded and charismatic Irish poet Maurice Riordan, whose first issue as Editor of Poetry Review will be hitting the shelves this month.

Thursday 26th September - Maurice Riordan

Maurice Riordan is an Irish poet, translator, and editor. Born in Lisgoold, County Cork, Riordan has published four collections of poetry: A Word from the Loki (1995) was a Poetry Book Society Choice and shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize; Floods was shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Award; The Holy Land (2007) received the Michael Hartnett Award.

'Lucid, exact, fully-inhabited … [The Holy Land] is a fine and serious book, which deserves a wide, non-specialist audience.' Irish Times

The Water Stealer is his latest collection. The poems in this fourth collection report on worlds both robust and delicate, from boisterous pub-bluff to the oxygen bubble of an exquisite underwater spider. Whether situated in the quiet lanes of his native Co Cork or amid London's bustle, Riordan's poems exist between many states, poised at once in the grip of both activity and stillness, concerned with speaking and listening to what he hauntingly describes as 'the unwonted quiet'.

'Riordan’s work to date has been shaped by an ironic, questioning intelligence, a considerable technical gift, a willingness to push at the margins of the received self and the received image.' Irish Examiner

Just as these poems can be sage, they are also mischievous, fun-loving, gregarious creatures who like nothing better than to sing or to joke at your ear. The Water Stealer is a book of invention and delight, whose hypnotic stories remind us of the variety and the enchantment of the world.

'This is a strong, wise and enduring work.' The Guardian

Maurice Riordan has taught creative writing at Goldsmiths College and at Imperial College and is currently Professor of Poetry at Sheffield Hallam University. In 2004 he was selected as one of the Poetry Society's 'Next Generation' poets. He was Poetry Editor of Poetry London from 2005 to 2009. In February 2013, Riordan was appointed Editor of Poetry Review, the UK's most widely-read poetry magazine.

Thursday 26th September, The Boathouse, Open Mic floor spots, books for sale. Doors 7.30pm Readings 8pm. Tickets on the door only, £5/£4.


It happened on the cinder path between the playing field
and the graveyard one afternoon in October
when all the leaves of the aspen flipped over
and stayed, the way a skirt might blow up and hold
in a gust of wind – except there was no wind,
one of those days when the thud of a football
hangs in the deadened air. But there was no thud,
no sound from man or bird. So I’d swear if I’d looked
at my watch just then the digits would have stuck

if I could have looked, for it must’ve been a time
when time was snagged in its fluid escapement
and in that lull no one can enter the world,
or leave it, the cars stand on the motorway,
the greyhound’s legs are knotted above the track,
a missile is framed in mid-flight, no sound
comes from the child’s mouth, the open beak,
and the shoal of herrings is a sculpted cloud
shimmering under the glass of rolling downs.

At this moment, when the joker palms the room-key,
the punching fist can be opened, the egg slipped back
under the nesting bird, and each of us could scurry
to forestall one mischance, or undo one wrong choice
whose thorn of consequence has lodged till now,
before whatever it is keeps the world scary
and true breaks loose. A squirrel turns tail
overhead, a chestnut rolls to the ground, and with it
a drawn-out scream arrives from childhood.

Maurice Riordan, from The Water Stealer, Faber and Faber 2013