Please join us on zoom for live readings from Tim Liardet, Jennifer Militello and  Jenny Pagdin  on Sunday 9th May at 4pm GMT

This is part of  our monthly  ‘Live from the Butchery’ series, hosted by Helen Ivory and Martin Figura from their home (an old CoOp butcher’s shop), and IS&T publisher Kate Birch.

Email Kate Birch at before the Sunday for meeting details.



Address to the Drowned Seaman, in Answer to His Distress Flare at Rockall, Mid-Atlantic, 1944

after ‘Pincher Martin’

You have already drowned, although you think
you made it to the rock. The dwarf you build
is the means by which you reconstruct yourself,
stone by stone. The rock is a tooth. The gulls
that flap around your head are umbrellas shaken out,
reptiles that snap, the fat lobsters either side
are your own hands. A thousand years pass in the seconds
you dream you have kicked off your boots. Done,
but not. Time is torpedoed, a flame of belief.
Time bellies out but, for once, your snarly entitlement
cannot get you out of this: your stone-in-sock
of bluster, hem-weights of gall, mistreatment of women
pour like the whole Atlantic into your seaboots
which are still on your feet, which now drag you down.


The Drowned Seaman Replies

The radio sputtered alive, I heard a tiny voice
which sounded like my own. I shiver,
shiver in oilskins and seaboot-socks on this rock,
death’s scapegrace shivering in its own bones.
I’ll have my will. By chaining down this rock
with names, I anchor it. Otherwise I fear
the rock might, like so much vapour, evaporate;
or else, without more weight, be flapped away,
tied to the foot of one mad, yodeling gull. Now I know
a man needs anything more than rock as much
as Mary’s fish a buckled velocipede.
These are the rock’s concerns. Out here, I verify
like crustaceans feeding on solid rock
the manumitted ego is mouth, is snarl.



Tim Liardet :Twice shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, for The World Before Snow Carcanet) in 2015 and ‘The Blood Choir’ (Seren) in 2006, Tim Liardet has produced ten collections of poetry to date. He has also been longlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Prize, and has received several Poetry Book Society Recommendations, a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice, an Arts Council England Writer’s Award, a Society of Authors Award, a Hawthornden Fellowship, four Pushcart nominations, and various other awards. His poems have appeared or are due to appear in The Kenyon Review, The New Republic, Slate Magazine, North American Review, London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, The Poetry Review, Poetry London, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Independent, and many other journals
‘Arcimboldo’s Bulldog: New and Selected Poems’ appeared from Carcanet in 2018. He is currently Professor of Poetry at Bath Spa University.

You can buy The Storm House, The World Before Snow and Archimboldo’s Bulldog: New and Selected Poems‘ here:

Note: This sequence was first published in London Review of Books.



The Punishment of One is the Love Song of Another

At last, I have found my assassin. At last,
I have struck gold. When my past hissed
with cobras, you let me sleep. When
I was falling, you brought the ground closer
and made gravity of flowers like a kiss.

One body moving is a seduction. One body
is a practiced leap and a parachute
unsprung. Only the scalpel knows the passion
of blood. We soothe it with cold and sing it
to sleep. We leap at the chance to be blistered.

We listen and stiffen. We pivot and reap.
My rib cage could be a wasp nest built
of paper. My hand could be the slip of sand
across itself to slake the great unknown.
Snow coughs along the windows now
and listens differently to the pure. Snow
brocades like cotton. Prayers, like burdens, go.



Jennifer Militello is the author of the poetry collection The Pact (Tupelo Press/Shearsman Books, 2021) and the memoir Knock Wood, winner of the Dzanc Nonfiction Prize (Dzanc Books, 2019), as well as four additional collections of poetry including A Camouflage of Specimens and Garments (Tupelo Press, 2016), called “positively bewitching” by Publishers Weekly, and Body Thesaurus (Tupelo Press, 2013), named one of the top books of 2013 by Best American Poetry. Her work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Best American Poetry, Best New Poets, The Nation, The New Republic, The Paris Review, POETRY, and Tin House.  She teaches in the MFA program at New England College, and she can be found at: 

The Pact can be pre-ordered

Note: This poem was first published in Waxwing



The Book of Thank You

I cupped my hands,
the petals fell into them,
I opened my lips,
a tune emerged
like a freed wren.
It was warm in the park
and the magnolias
were candelabra.



Jenny Pagdin’s pamphlet Caldbeck was published by Eyewear in 2017, shortlisted for the Mslexia pamphlet competition and listed by the Poetry Book Society. Longlisted for the Rebecca Swift Foundation prize 2018, she has work published or forthcoming with Smoke, Wild Court, Magma, Finished Creatures, Ambit and Ink, Sweat & Tears. Jenny will be sending the manuscript for her first collection to publishers later this year – like the pamphlet it tells the story of her postnatal psychosis. She is a graduate of Oxford University and holds a Creative Writing MA from the University of East Anglia.

You can buy Caldbeck here: