Thursday 9 November 2023

Matthew Stewart, "Whatever You Do, Just Don't"

Matthew Stewart works in the Spanish wine trade and lives between Extremadura and West Sussex. His new second full collection is Whatever You Do, Just Don’t (HappenStance Press, 2023). You can read about his first full-length collection, The Knives of Villalejo, on Creative Writing at Leicester here

About Whatever You Do, Just Don’t

These poems refuse to be pigeon-holed. Whatever they focus on—matters of the heart, football, the post-Brexit marketplace—their method is concise and yet searching, serious but playful. Their language is (mainly) English, their standpoint European.

By day, Matthew Stewart is involved in the Spanish wine trade. But his commitment to poetry is just as intense. Line by line, he weighs the risks, invests meticulous skill, and finally invites the trust on which everything else depends. He promises much—and he delivers.

You can read more about Whatever You Do, Just Don't on the publisher's website here. Below, you can read a sample poem from the collection. 

From Whatever You Do, Just Don't, by Matthew Stewart

The Banana

Come to think of it, she didn’t tell us
who’d got hold of the banana, or how,
and we forgot to ask, stunned by the news
that at ten years old she’d never seen one.

She was still proud her class had raffled it
for the war effort, still slightly mournful
at it turning black on her teacher’s desk
long before they drew the winning ticket.

She wouldn’t talk about gas masks, the Blitz,
the doodlebugs (how they changed to V2s) —
but she always recalled her fury
at the waste of bloody good food.

(First published in One Hand Clapping).

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