A poem from ‘Other Harbours’ by Anna Lewis

In the lead up to xx minifest we have been posting teaser extracts of writing from our artists so that you can see how great they are and remember to buy tickets. Today we are pleased to publish a poem from Anna Lewis’s debut collection Other Harbours (Parthian Books, 2012). Anna will be reading as part of the New Poets session of xx at Chapter this Saturday 27th October at 4pm.


When it was over, papers signed
and witnessed, berths arranged,
some of the men sailed back

to villages where hens still laid
and bells still swung and nuns,
in steady order, still stepped
down and down the aisle

but where, all the same, the pitch
of life had changed: houses empty,
fields overgrown, blots of black ink
pooled in the congregation.

Some men did not go back to that,
nor to the factories, or harbour towns
where cats and gulls fought over scraps
on oily seafronts; some men descended

from the barns where they’d been held
and learnt the language, charmed the girls,
sent invitations to their parents.
Above the town, they raised a stone plinth

with a wolf on top, two infants suckling;
lifted a glass of wine to Rome
and to life climbing on, and walked their
children up the verge to show them;

but hot with nettle-stings, palms sweaty,
the children whined for lemonade,
said, ‘It looks more like a bear,’
and wanted to go home.

Anna LewisAnna Lewiss debut poetry collection, Other Harbours, is published by Parthian in September 2012. She has won several awards for her poetry, including the Robin Reeves Prize (2008) and the Christopher Tower Prize (2002). Her poems have appeared in magazines including Agenda, Poetry Wales and The Shop, and her first collection was written with the support of a bursary from Literature Wales. In 2010 she won the Orange/Harper’s Bazaar short story competition. In 2011 she was selected to take part in the Scritture Giovani short story programme, and performed at literary festivals in Italy, Germany and Greece.

Watch debut poet Anna Lewis read ‘Penelope’ in the green room at the Dylan Thomas Centre Swansea, at the launch of her collection Other Harbours, on 14th September 2012.

Read more poems from Other Harbours on Anna Lewis’s website.

Read an interview with Anna Lewis about her poetry and xx women’s writing festival in this week’s Western Mail.

Buy Other Harbours from Parthian Books for £7.99


Seren’s Poetry Editor Amy Wack hosts readings and discussion with three poets who have just published their first collections: Forward Prize-shortlisted Rhian Edwards, Orange/Harper’s Bazaar short story competition winnerAnna Lewis, and John Tripp Award winner Emily Hinshelwood.


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