Prac Crit

Deep Notes

A regular series where poets offer a behind-the-scenes insight into a poem of their own

‘Kumukanda’ – Deep note by Kayo Chingonyi

I’ve always been a nervous flier. I'm writing this having landed less than an hour ago on the island of Roatan aboard a Jetstream 31, a plane so small that when a member of the airport's ground team pointed it out to us saying we should board 'El avión blanco' I hoped he was mistaken. For the benefi...

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'A New Father Thinks About Those Running Home' - essay by Niall Campbell

Advice from an older poet: “You’ll write one or two – but try not to do many more than that…” An opinion from a younger poet: “No, I think you’re too smart to waste your time with that type of thing…” And yet, here I am. And here’s this poem. Wouldn’t it be nice to start with a statement of...

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‘Scarlet’ – Deep note by Kiki Petrosino

1 When I was about seven, I had a recurrent case of scarlet fever. It’s a bacterial infection that used to be fatal in the young, especially during the Victorian era (Charles Darwin lost two children to the disease). My fever came three times for me, a fact that I think the recursiveness of the vill...

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‘Sein und Zeit’ – Deep note by Peter Robinson

‘Sein und Zeit’ is a poem that characterizes some of the things that happen when I manage to write, and has the added benefit, for me at least, that it came fairly promptly and found a form I liked. Among my favourite poets is Umberto Saba, inventor, as far as I know, of lyrics shaped from a short o...

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‘Nervometer’ – Deep note by Ahren Warner

i. [Bugatti Aerolithe, 1935]   ii. [Denise Colomb, Antonin Artaud, 1947]   iii. ...there is a point, phosphorescent, where reality finds itself, though changed, metamorphosed – by what? A point where the use of things, objects, is magic. I believe in kamacites of the cerebellum, pe...

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‘Saudade’ – Deep note by R.A. Villanueva

There is a moment in Alice Fulton’s Feeling as a Foreign Language: The Good Strangeness of Poetry that’s been going off in my skull like a flare. In it, she suggests: 'Each poet creates an expatriate space, a slightly skewed domain where things are freshly felt because they are freshly said.' And...

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‘Not That Only’ – Deep note by Michael O’Neill

'Not That Only’ belongs to the unlovely sub-genre of possibly muddled self-exculpation. One of my favourite examples in this vein is Donald Davie’s ‘Rejoinder to a Critic’ in which he takes issue with a reviewer who’d regretted the absence of ‘feeling’ in his poetry. Among Davie’s best pieces, the p...

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'Those Iscariot Motions' - Deep note by James Brookes

1197 Richard ‘the Lion Heart’ is in prison in Germany. His ransom, set at some 40,000 marks [that’s about 25 old tonnes of high grade silver] is greater than the Gross Domestic Product of all England. He’s too big to be allowed to fail, surely? Yet no one is rushing to bail him out, least of all pi...

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