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Liz Berry

The Patron Saint of School Girls

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Liz Berry (1980) werd geboren in The Black Country in Engeland en woont nu in Birmingham. Haar pamflet ‘The Patron Saint of Schoolgirls’ werd gepubliceerd door Tall Lighthouse in 2010. Liz’s debuutbundel ‘Black Country’ (2014), werd aanbevolen door de Poetry Book Society, kreeg de Somerset Maugham Award, won de Geoffrey Faber Memorial Award en won The Forward Prize voor beste debuut in 2014.

Black Country werd gekozen als een boek van het jaar door The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Mail, The Big Issue en The Morning Star. Liz’s gedichten zijn uitgezonden op BBC Radio, televisie en opgenomen voor The Poetry Archive.

Ze is een beoordelaar voor grote prijzen, waaronder The Forward Prijzen voor Poëzie en Foyle Young Poets. Ze werkt als jurylid voor The Arvon Foundation, Writer’s Center Norwich en Writing West Midlands.

Hier haar pamflet ‘The Patron Saint of School Girls’ en een voordracht van Liz van ‘Birmingham Roller’ uit ‘Black Country’.

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The Patron Saint of School Girls

 

Agnes had her lamb and her black curls;
Bernadette, her nun’s frock;
but I was just a school girl,
glimpsed the holy spirit in the blue flare
of a Bunsen burner, saw a skeleton
weep in a biology lesson.

 

My miracles were revelations.
I saved seventeen girls from a fire that rose
like a serpent behind the bike sheds,
cured the scoliosis of a teacher
who hadn’t lifted her head to sing a hymn
in years. I fed the dinner hall
on one small cake and a carton of milk.

 

A cult developed. The Head Girl
kissed my cheek in the dark-room,
first years wrote my name
on the flyleaf of their hymn books,
letters appeared in my school bag,
a bracelet woven from a blonde plait.

 

My faith grew strong.
All night I lay awake hearing prayers
from girls as far as Leeds and Oxford,
comprehensives in Nottingham.
I granted supplications for A-levels,
pleas for the cooling of unrequited love,
led a sixth form in Glasgow to unforeseen triumph
in the hockey cup final.

 

Love flowed out of me like honey
from a hive, I was sweet with holiness,
riding home on the school bus,
imparting my blessings.
I was ready for wings,
to be lifted upwards like sun streaming
through the top deck windows;
to wave goodbye to school and disappear
in an astonishing ring of brightness.

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Advertenties

Seamus Heaney

Ierse dichtersweek

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In een Ierse dichtersweek zijn er twee zekerheden: W.B. Yeats en Seamus Heaney (1939 – 2013). Yeats was gister aan de beurt en vandaag Seamus Heaney. Deze dichter, toneelschrijver, vertaler en docent  ontving in 1995 de Nobelprijs voor de Literatuur. In 1966 debuteerde Heaney met  ‘Death of a Naturalist’ dat achtereenvolgens de Cholmondeley Award, de Gregory Award, de Somerset Maugham Award en de Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. Uit zijn debuutbundel ‘Death of a naturalist’ uit 1966 het gedicht ‘Follower’.

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Follower

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My father worked with a horse-plough,
His shoulders globed like a full sail strung
Between the shafts and the furrow.
The horse strained at his clicking tongue.

An expert. He would set the wing
And fit the bright steel-pointed sock.
The sod rolled over without breaking.
At the headrig, with a single pluck

Of reins, the sweating team turned round
And back into the land. His eye
Narrowed and angled at the ground,
Mapping the furrow exactly.

I stumbled in his hob-nailed wake,
Fell sometimes on the polished sod;
Sometimes he rode me on his back
Dipping and rising to his plod.

I wanted to grow up and plough,
To close one eye, stiffen my arm.
All I ever did was follow
In his broad shadow round the farm.

I was a nuisance, tripping, falling,
Yapping always. But today
It is my father who keeps stumbling
Behind me, and will not go away.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Seamus Heaney in 1970
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