In autumn 2019 the anthology This Place I Know (Handstand Press, 2018) £10.00 ISBN:978-0-9576609-6-0 was awarded won first prize in the award for poetry and literature at the Lakeland Book of the Year awards and was also a very close runner up for the Book of the Year. Hunter Davies said some very complimentary things about the anthology, commenting on the quality and range of poetry and the professionalism of the publication. He recommended it as the ideal holiday read.
A new publication: The Archaeologist’s Daughter was published as a pamphlet by Wayleave of Lancaster in April 2019.
ISBN: 978-1-9999728-3-7 Price:£5.00/C$7.50
Here are two poems from the book:
The Archaeologist’s Daughter is in love
her lips graze his lips,
wander his cheekbones
like a camel hair brush
clarifying a tanned fragment
five hundred year old skin
in a dry crypt –
she is conscious of this
but the fragrance of it,
the soft saltiness,
this is all new.
she uses her hand
as a trowel,
from the spine knots,
the smooth spider leg curve
of rib after rib.
the pulses trouble her,
the patterns and pauses of breath –
is full of substance,
an artefact of sensation
that tangles her centres of pure thought
with the fine sweetness
of temporary dissolution.
She ponders mortality in the cemetery of a Roman brothel
(on the outskirts of York, England; she is 62)
she is working in a trench
nearly ninety centimetres deep.
it is late fall.
she is wearing fingerless gloves
over the silky white forensic plastic,
a thick wool scarf and balaclava.
her knee pads are already damp.
has been stripped
of the top metre and a half
it is all mud, half frozen now.
it is cold enough
a white cat is hunting a vole
in a clump of dead nettles
under the wheels of a huge
mechanical digger –
this is an image to distract.
she did not think
she could still be so moved.
the foetus is full term,
the skull cradled by a placenta of reddish earth.
now she lays bare the tiny vertebrae,
imagining the tension of bone and tendon
straining for air,
the mother’s jawline frozen
in mid scream –
a flask of hot tea.
she cradles it in her hands,
her own joints for new pains.
perhaps this will be her last dig.
© Antony Christie March 2019
Buy The Archaeologist’s Daughter by email from the publisher or author or on line from The Poetry Book Society.
Also available from Great Books, Williamsford and Booklore, Orangeville.
Early in 2021, after a year of lockdowns, quarantine hotels, curfews, border closures as Covid epidemics raged on all continents and through most countries, a new press, dedicated to showcasing the work of contemporary poets in the Saugeen country, the Queen’s Bush of Treaties 45½ (1836) and 72 (1854). and surrounding areas.
Cannon’s Creek, named after an obscure tributary of the Beatty Saugeen River in the south of Grey County, was originally planned as a non-profit organization that would produce three poetry pamphlets a year, each featuring one or two local poets chosen in an annual competition, but the editors, Antony Christie, Caroline Menzies, Harry Posner, Richard-Yves Sitoski, Hazel Smith and Claudia Strelocke, all of whom were writers themselves, decided the reaction of local poets to the pandemic should be recorded, so SPIKE, Poems in the Time of Pestilence was born. The project developed through the Spring of Summer of 2021, over 40 poets were invited to contribute, and the resulting anthology will be published sometime in December.
Watch this page for further details.
Another forthcoming publication is a pamphlet that was written about the same time as The Archaeologist’s Daughter: Magdalena. It will be published by Maytree and launched in May 2022. It is another biographical series of poems, this time based on a historical character whose life, and the myths that developed around her, are explored through her own imagined voice. Mary Magdalene is a fascinating character, and I hope Magdalena will be a fitting tribute to one of the most undervalued mystics of the early Christian church.
Again, further details will be available here well before the May launch.