Wednesday 28 September 2022

Zoë Skoulding, "A Marginal Sea"

Zoë Skoulding is a poet and literary critic interested in translation, sound and ecology. She is Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Bangor University. Her previous collections (published by Seren Books) include The Mirror Trade (2004); Remains of a Future City (2008), shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year; The Museum of Disappearing Sounds (2013), shortlisted for Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry; and Footnotes to Water (2019), which was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and won the Wales Book of the Year Poetry Award 2020. In 2020 she also published The Celestial Set-Up (Oystercatcher) and A Revolutionary Calendar (Shearsman). She received the Cholmondeley Award from the Society of Authors in 2018 for her body of work in poetry. 

About A Marginal Sea, by Zoë Skoulding

A Marginal Sea is written from the vantage point of Ynys Môn/Anglesey, which is both in Wales and in a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean – and makes this position pivotal. Far from being isolated, the island is imagined as a site of archipelagic connection with other places and histories, and of relationships that include but extend beyond the human. Poems explore the possibilities for new forms of encounter with other creatures, from gulls and red squirrels to earthworms, testing the boundaries of sense and song as daily rhythms draw together observer and observed. The spaces of dream and digital technology are interwoven with the everyday, which is never taken for granted. Place and displacement, navigation and lostness are explored through a variety of translation and rewriting techniques that often refuse settled location, but the poems return to the body and senses as a means of gaining knowledge.  

You can see more information about A Marginal Sea on the publisher's website here. Below, you can read a sample poem from the collection. 

From A Marginal Sea

Weather This 

Hello day, I wanted to talk to you about the weather, 
though I never stop talking about it in blood and breath, 
neck muscles, the way my feet slide across the pavement 
or my head drinks up the light. But I only get so far 

and then the horizon’s wandered off again. This body’s 
opening to the pinkish gleam that rises – rose – on the 
outline of a cloud behind black branches and I wanted to 
tell you, day, or weather (surely you’re the same thing), 

how your rain of events, this endless rain keeps the door 
stuck, the hours leaking into air. The rain is what 
I am. But how are you, day, and what season are you 
bringing in searing bird calls, or a wind that unwraps 

the invisible instant, its far-off dust drifting into the edges 
of our speech? The isobars move in. On the underside of 
atmospheric pressure, time spills in a cloud of what might 
never happen, if only it hadn’t already. Good. Morning.

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