NOTE : CB1 Poetry is taking a break and not running events at the present time. We hope to be back in the New Year -- watch this space for news of future developments.

Tue 26th June - Esther Morgan and Stav Poleg

Esther Morgan's third collection, Grace (Bloodaxe Books, 2011) was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize. Her fourth, The Wound Register (Bloodaxe 2017) examines the aftermath of her great grandfather's death at the Somme, tracing the legacy of his loss through three generations of her family.

'Grace, Esther Morgan's third collection, is an extraordinary, radiant book. Its poetry makes quietly insistent demands upon the reader... The afterglow of Esther Morgan's luminous work is not certainty, but questions. Can imagination transform, or simply recognise, what is there? Do these poems come by grace of Muse or angel?'  Alison Brackenbury, Poetry London

She has worked as a teacher and editor and was Historic Recordings Manager for The Poetry Archive. Originally from Kidderminster in Worcestershire, she now lives in Norfolk with her husband and daughter where she works for the county's museums service.

'We speak of "the poet’s voice", a phrase which comes to mind when considering what’s special about Grace: the consistency and perfect pitch of the ‘voice’. Open any page, pick any poem, and the reader hears poetry that sings without use of a single poetic device of sound or form... This collection doesn’t strike a single false note.'  Gillian Clarke, T.S. Eliot Prize judge’s comment on Grace

Stav Poleg's poetry has been published across the UK, the US and Ireland, including in The New Yorker, Poetry London and Poetry Ireland Review. Her graphic-novel installation “Dear Penelope: Variations on an August Morning,” created with artist Laura Gressani, was acquired by the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. She is an editor for Magma Poetry, currently facilitating collaborative work between poets and filmmakers. Her debut poetry pamphlet is Lights, Camera, (Eyewear, 2017).


Milk, rice, blueberries, plums –
I’m laying out our weekend along the belt
when the black sack of a storm-cloud splits
with a noise akin to anger or love
and all the mothers look up from the strip-lit aisles
as something larger than ourselves pours down.

I’m frightened says the woman with the mind of a girl,
slipping her carers to come up close and tell me so,
and even though it sounds like the end of the world,
Don’t worry, I murmur, it’ll soon be over

which it is by the time we exit with our load,
the white stones from the opened heavens
heaped and unreal beside the cars,
already melting as I lift each bag into the boot –
the heavy things first, then the things that bruise more easily.

From ‘The Wound Register’, Esther Morgan


The way you ran into the last rush-hour of the morning, 
like a character in one of Sempé’s city sketches,

with your coat collapsing and the wind 
not helping, water-coloured by the racing cars and rain, 

which wasn’t even falling enough
to cause such a storm. There’s a picture, or a place, 

where everyone’s thrown in their city’s steps and hours,
walking or smoking into each other,

holding their phones, T’es où? Allô, t’es où? 
On the corner of

Baker Street and Marylebone, I think I was 
the only one not moving, holding onto my mobile, to all my

where-are-you texts and messages, so I’d look busy
and not lost.

Stav Poleg

Event Information and Venue

We continue at our new home of CB2 for Autumn 2017-Summer 2018. Events will be on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 8pm. Doors open from 7.30pm; ask for the sign-up sheet to secure one of our strictly-2-minute open mic slots. (N.B. it's first-come-first-served, though slots may well still be available at 8pm). All events are £5 / £4 concessions, payment by cash on entry. The venue is the lovely CB2 Bistro Café on Norfolk Street, which has a great bar/café where you can get all manner of drinks, cakes and savoury delights with a discount on meals for CB1 Poetrygoers. Here is our venue information page. Now, we realise there is a slight possibility of confusion, so to be clear... we are still called CB1 Poetry, but we are at CB2 Café and not at our origin/namesake of CB1 Café, formerly of Mill Road. Good to get that off our chest...