Poems to Live for - Guest Poets

Andi Dimitri - 1st October 2020

Andrew Dimitri portrait

For the past decade, Sydney physician Andrew Dimitri has spent substantial periods working with Médecins sans Frontières in some of the most complex and challenging regions of the world. In early 2017 he was tasked with the oversight of a new MSF hospital on the fringe of Mosul, while the battle to oust Isis was still raging only a short distance away. These poems are his record of what he saw and the people he met amid the ruins, their injuries, their stories, their traumas. 

It Will Make a Fine Hospital  took second prize in the 2017 Hippocrates Prize and was widely seen when it was chosen as a Poem of the Week in The Guardian. Commenting on it there, Carol Rumens found that Dimitri’s plain diction, casual syntax, laconic tone, and balance of irony and hope, impeccably expressed the complexity of the experience. Now Winter in Northern Iraq makes available all thirty poems written by Andrew Dimitri out of his own encounter with a region ravaged by tragedy. With the author’s pragmatic compassion and his understated determination to make a difference, these poems resist despair and generate the grounds for hope. 

Read the Guardian poem of the week article by Carol Rumens about It Will Make a Fine Hospital 

Watch Andrew Dimitri interviewed by Donald Singer

Jeffrey Harrison

Jeffrey Harrison

American poet Jeffrey Harrison is the author of six full-length books of poetry, most recently Between Lakes, published by Four Way Books in September 2020, and including Into Daylight, which won the Dorset Prize and was published by Tupelo Press in 2014; Incomplete Knowledge (2006), a runner-up for the Poets’ Prize; Feeding the Fire (2001), winner of the Sheila Motton Award from the New England Poetry Club; and The Singing Underneath, which was selected by James Merrill for the National Poetry Series in 1987. 

A volume of his selected early poems, The Names of Things, was published in the UK by the Waywiser Press in 2006. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bogliasco Foundation, among other honours. He lives in Massachusetts and can also be found at jeffreyharrisonpoet.com

Jeffrey's choice of poem out-of-copyright is Walt Whitman's 'Sparkles from the Wheel’. 


Anna Jackson - 12th August 2020

Anna Jackson read selections from her own poetry and her chosen poem: 
- 'After Apple Picking' by Robert Frost 

Anna Jackson has published several books of poetry, most recently Pasture and Flock: New and Selected Poems (Auckland University Press, 2018), as well as fiction and criticism. Associate professor of English at Victoria University of Wellington, she keeps hens and has a website featuring highly recommended “paragraphs without essays or books to go in”. In April, during lockdown, she speculated: “what if we could only live in the houses we live in and never go out?”

Other work includes a novella, The Bedmaking Competition, and books on Diary Poetics, Verse Biography, the Gothic in Children's Literature, and so on, as well as the editing of a new series of AUP New Poets, with the first collections AUP New Poets 5 and  AUP New Poets 6 already published, and AUP New Poets 7 coming out in August.  

Geoffrey Lehmann - 10th June 2020

R Geoffrey Lehmann

Geoffrey Lehmann [photo by Piers Laverty] was the first Australian poet published by Faber & Faber and his book Spring Forest was short listed for the T S Eliot Prize in 1994. His collected Poems 1957-2013 won the Australian Prime Minister's Prize (Poetry) in 2014. His 1090 page anthology (co-edited with Robert Gray) Australian Poetry Since 1788 was among The Economist's best books of 2011. He was a tax partner with PwC and has been chair of the Australian Tax Research Foundation.

Mary O’Donnell - 12th August 2020

Mary O’Donnell read selections from her own poetry and her chosen poem:
- 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' by Wilfred Owen.

Poet and fiction-writer Mary O’Donnell’s work is often cited as key in expanding the horizons of Ireland’s traditionally male-dominated literary world. O’Donnell has published numerous collections of poetry, including Spiderwoman’s Third Avenue Rhapsody (1993). Other poetry includes Unlegendary Heroes (1998), and Those April Fevers (2015). Her new collection of poetry Massacre of the Birds is published by Salmon in October 2020. 

Novels include The Light-MakersThe Elysium Testament, and Where They Lie. She has received numerous awards including prizes from the Fish International Short Story Competition, the Cardiff International Poetry Competition, the VS Pritchett Short Story Competition and the Listowel Writers’ Week Short Story Award, as well as poetry awards also from Listowel Writers’ Week.  Her poetry has been translated to Hungarian, and her short fiction to  Spanish. Member of the Irish artists affiliation, Aosdana.    

Lawrence Sail - 10th June 2020

LS Photo 1 2020

Lawrence Sail was born in London in 1942 and brought up in Exeter. He read French and German at St John’s College, Oxford, taught for four years in Kenya, then held various teaching posts in England (the last was at Exeter School) before becoming a freelance writer.  

He has published thirteen collections of poems, most recently The Quick (Bloodaxe Books, 2015) and Guises (Bloodaxe Books, 2020).   Waking Dreams: New & Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2010) was a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation.  He has compiled and edited a number of anthologies, including First and Always:  Poems for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital (Faber, 1988) and, with Kevin Crossley-Holland, The New Exeter Book of Riddles(Enitharmon, 1999) and Light Unlocked (Enitharmon, 2005).  Enitharmon also published Cross-currents, a book of his essays, in 2005, and a second book of essays came out from Shoestring Press in 2013.  A new prose book, Accidentals, is due from Impress Books in September 2020. 

His poems have been broadcast on national radio and television and he has written a radio play as well as various short features for radio. He has presented Poetry Now (Radio 3) and Time for Verse (Radio 4). He has contributed reviews and essays to various newspapers and periodicals including The GuardianPoetry Nation ReviewPoetry Review and Stand.  A number of his poems, including a sequence on the theme of silence, have been set to music.

He was editor of South West Review from 1981 to 1985, and chairman of the Arvon Foundation from 1991 to 1994.  In 1991 he was programme director of the Cheltenham Festival of Literature, and a judge for the Whitbread Book of the Year awards.  He was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship in 1992, and an Arts Council Writer’s Bursary the following year.   In August 1993 he undertook a month-long tour of India for the British Council, for whom he has since worked as visiting writer and lecturer in various countries, including Bosnia, Colombia, Egypt, France, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and Ukraine. From 1994 to 1996 he was the British representative on the jury of the European Literature Prize, and from 2004 to 2007 he was a judge for the Eric Gregory Awards and on the management committee of the Society of Authors.  In October 1999 he was a co-director of the 50th Anniversary Cheltenham Festival of Literature.  In 2004 he received a Cholmondeley Award.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.          

POETRY
Opposite Views, Dent, 1974
The Drowned River, Mandeville Press, 1978
The Kingdom of Atlas, Secker & Warburg, 1980
Devotions, Secker & Warburg, 1987
Aquamarine, Gruffyground Press, 1988
Out of Land: New & Selected Poems, Bloodaxe Books, 1992
Building into Air, Bloodaxe Books, 1995
The World Returning, Bloodaxe Books, 2002
Eye-Baby, Bloodaxe Books, 2006
Waking Dreams: New & Selected Poems, Bloodaxe Books, 2010
Songs of the Darkness: Poems for Christmas, Enitharmon Press, 2010
The Quick, Bloodaxe Books, 2015
Guises, Bloodaxe Books, 2020

ANTHOLOGIES EDITED
First and Always:  Poems for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, Faber, 1988
The New Exeter Book of Riddles 
(with Kevin Crossley-Holland), Enitharmon, 1999
Light Unlocked: Christmas Card Poems 
(with Kevin Crossley-Holland), Enitharmon, 2005
The Heart's Granary: Poetry and Prose from Fifty Years of Enitharmon Press, Enitharmon, 2017

ESSAYS
Cross-Currents, Enitharmon, 2005
The Key to Clover and other essays, Shoestring Press, 2013

MEMOIR
Sift: Memories of Childhood, Impress Books September 2010

CD
Lawrence Sail reads his poems, The Poetry Archive, 2012

FORTHCOMING
Accidentals, Impress Books, due September 2020

onion © Hippocrates initiative 2012: hippocrates.poetry@gmail.com