Matthew Caley

Matthew Caley’s debut collection Thirst (Slow Dancer, 1999) was nominated for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. This was followed by The Scene of My Former Triumph (Wrecking Ball, 2005), Apparently (Bloodaxe, 2010) and Caley’s ‘lost collection’ Professor Glass (Donut, 2011). He has read in venues from the National Portrait Gallery to Wayne-Holloway Smith’s salon, from the Novi Sad International Poetry Festival to Prague’s Alchemy, as well as at many festivals and on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb. His latest collection, Trawlerman’s Turquoise, was published by Bloodaxe in 2019.

Photo: Iris Hobson-Mazur

Events

The StAnza 2020 Lecture: Mother, Mother Ocean »

Matthew Caley on Modernist women's poetics and the sea

Thu 5 March | 15:30 - 16:30 | £4.50/£3.50 | Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Auditorium

Breakfast at the Poetry Café: Coast Lines »

Wake up and smell the poetry!

Fri 6 March | 10:00 - 11:10 | £5/£4 | Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Studio Theatre

Poem

The Nomads

     I
    always anticipate the
inevitable, forlorn
mishap, when the one blazing
buttercup in seventy
acres of shale is eaten
by a passing antelope.

    II
    suddenly, the flown
are tethered to hush,
blue, the colour of the known,
green-blue, the unknown,
and beneath these, turquoise-brown,
kelp rustling in the inner ear,
thrush in the stunt-fir, by which they set
up clapboard bathing huts
for all the Ladies of Vassar,
their calves white as halved shallots,
here, on the very shores of
the shores of Panthalassa,
[or, well, Watchtower Point] where a fresh wind
entices one Charles Olson, in his dented sou’wester
to haul in the horizon,
then the collapsed fishing shacks of Gloucester
    - extract ‘Daimon’ from ‘diamond’ -
as all dissolved at his ear.
[and the only diamonds here the spaces defined
by the net mesh.]
And this be his wish.

   “One more endive, Guinevere?”
“Ho there – it’s a porpoise.” [as
if gloss was the seal’s purpose]
“There have been fresh air strikes on Syria.”
“Mr Melville is unwell.”

The revisions of time are severe.
               III
               off the coast of me…
raised beach / antimacassar;
us, speckles, decline,
mirage hiding mirage    we
abhor what we revere, to

travel is not to return.

Matthew Caley

From Trawlerman’s Turquoise (Bloodaxe Books, 2019)