Monday, 24 June 2013

The girl from the belle époque

 Draft of a poem of sorts

Sometime into a half-hearted summer,
we're still pinning our hopes
on showers clearing
and redemptive sunshine after rain.
Umbrellas flex along the waterfront –
or, collapsed, poke from a bin.

Across Europe, cities are loud with protest,
though you’d hardly know it here.
Sporadic wi-fi connections bring
stray hints, old news, a photograph.

On edge amongst the package tours,
we’re looking down into
perfect reflections of day-trip boats
moored at the quayside,
seeming ghosts of sunk ships.
Or overlooking the city
from a flat warehouse roof.

It’s temptation back to days –
those days – when, stalled
in this same, familiar light,
you were halfway up the garden path
and she was in shade,
arguing the politics,
a few exotic steps across the grass.

Tom Phillips 2013

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Reading Poetry Festival 5-9 June

The first Reading Poetry Festival takes place this week, with an Italian poetry day, a children's poetry day, readings, conversations, workshops and exhibitions at the Museum of English Rural Life. The line-up includes Iain Sinclair, John Hegley, Carrie Etter, Peter Robinson, Zoe Skoulding, Mark Ford and poets published by Two Rivers Press. Full details, poems and an online magazine here:

On Sunday (9 June), I'll be running a workshop in the morning (10am-12noon) and reading from Recreation Ground (Two Rivers Press, 2013, as part of the Two Rivers event in the early evening (5-6.30pm). Again there are more details here:

Poem: To the Northern Station

They come at me – and pass
like missed trains, failing
to stop on schedule, trailing
a line of lamp-lit heads.

I used to know them as faces
in remembered scenery,
and how the light fell, or rain
held off, and what was said.


At the fag-end of a long haul
I’m looking out on what’s expected:
mountainous horizon,
boys kicking hard against shale

to swing up and onto
empty carriage stairwells,
while sun glints on minarets,
wrecking yards, apartment blocks.

In the aloof vacancy of a ticket hall
puddled with water, nothing moves.
We push at the door, step outside –
and then everything does.

Tom Phillips

Taken from the e-pamphlet The Dream Library & Other Poems (Various Artists 2013,

Sunday, 2 June 2013

London Magazine review

Recreation Ground (the book) is reviewed by David Cooke in the latest London Magazine alongside new collections from James Brookes and Conor Carville - in an issue which also includes Michael Horovitz on Soho Bohemia/the Beat Generation in London, new poems by Helen Dunmore and Philip Gross, Edward Lucie-Smith on Jamil Naqsh and Tom Sykes on Dervla Murphy. Ffi here: