Beverley Bie Brahic

Beverley Bie Brahic is a poet and translator whose pamphlet Catch and Release was awarded the inaugural Alastair Reid Prize at the 2019 Wigtown Book Festival. A Canadian who lives in Paris, Brahic was shortlisted for a Forward Prize with her poetry collection White Sheets (CBeditions) in 2012. Her most recent collection is The Hotel Eden (Carcanet, 2018): ‘It is [her] attention to the stuff of everyday life that makes Brahic’s poetry shine... [The Hotel Eden] also thrums with a delicious erotic energy,’ said the Times Literary Supplement. Beverley Bie Brahic’s translations include Guillaume Apollinaire's The Little Auto (CBeditions), winner of the 2013 Scott Moncrieff Prize; Francis Ponge's Unfinished Ode to Mud, a 2009 Popescu Translation Prize finalist; and Charles Baudelaire's Invitation to the Voyage (Seagull, 2020).

Upper body shot of Beverley Brahic, woman with dark curly hair, nestled on a grassy bank

Photo: François Brahic


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Apple Thieves

In his dishevelled garden my neighbour 
Has fourteen varieties of apples,
Fourteen trees his wife put in as seedlings 
Because, being sick, she wanted something 
Different to do (different from being sick). 

In winter she ordered catalogues, pored 
Over subtleties of mouth-feel and touch: 
Tart and sweet and crisp; waxy, smooth
And rough. Spring planted an orchard, 
Spring projected summers 

Of green and yellow-streaked, orange, red,
Rusty, round, worm-holed, lopsided;
Nothing supermarket flawless, nothing imperishable.
Gardens grow backwards and forwards
In the mind; in the driest season, flowers.

Of the original fourteen, five trees
Grow street-side, outside the hedge.
To their branches my neighbour, a retired 
Statistician, has clothes-pegged 
Slips of paper, white pocket handkerchiefs

Embroidered with the words:
The apples are not ripe, please don’t pick them.
Kids had an apple fight last week.
In September, when the apples ripen, 
Neighbours are welcome to pick them, even 

Those rare Arkansas Blacks that spill over
The hedge. Yes, I may gather the windfalls.
Mostly it’s squirrels that throw them down. 
Squirrels are wasteful. Squirrels don’t read

Messages a widower posts in trees.


Beverley Bie Brahic

From Catch and Release (Wigtown Festival Company, 2019)First printed in The New Yorker.