Poems by Chris Considine
Chris Considine, formerly a schoolteacher working in Bedford, now lives in Swaledale, North Yorkshire. Her publications include two pamphlet collections: St Cuthbert and Bystanders (Redbeck Press, 2001) and Swaledale Sketchbook (Smith / Doorstop Books, 2002) which was shortlisted for the Forward Prize in the best first collection category. Her first full collection Learning to Look, was published by Peterloo Poets in 2003. At the beginning of 2004 she was a Hawthornden Fellow.
"Chris Considine's poems are as visual as her title would suggest . . . she is a versatile poet, full of literary references and sometimes heart-wrenching as well as eye-opening. As well as a miscellany . . . there are three ten-poem mini collections in the book. Touched by War illustrates her gift for perfectly turned (and sometimes terrible) endings. More lighthearted in it's seriousness is The Lonelyhearts Column in which a simple mixing of the supplicants' self-descriptions and requirements with the poets acerbic commentaries, projections, and inferences gives us a 'professional widower' who looks for a windowless ensuite 'with room for manoeuvre' and a 'Lone Sailor' who, 'thrown back' by his disillusioned 'first-mate', 'shortly after married / a lady with a boat / and a strong stomach'."
Andrew Stibbs, The North reviewing Learning to Look
from 'Shakespeare's Lost Ladies'
I don't go out. Why should I want to?
Elsinore is a place of whispers:
mutterings in the chimney,
voices behind tapestries. Listen,
on a still night the battlements are talking.
You thought I was dead. Sometimes
I think so too, if ghosts can walk
and suffer. They tell me I am sick,
not dead. Still, I shall not go out.
They are discussing me behind their hands.
So many words, but I can't find out
what is happening. This is because
the words are lies, or in a foreign language.
For all I know my husband may be dead
though he jabbers at me all night in my dreams.
My son has gone. O stay away, stay away -
in Elsinore the air is poisoned.
My daughter is out of her wits with calf-love.
I open my mouth to warn her
but all that comes out is the chirping of birds.
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Cover illustration: "Pointe du Castelli; Spring in Brittany" (Oil) © Piers Browne, 2004
Publication: APRIL 2006 (60 pages laminated paperback)