Where new writing finds its voice

Donuts in Winter

Innovative poetry publishers Donut Press give Pen Pusher a sneak preview of their brilliant ­autumn/winter titles from poets Matthew Caley, Jude Cowan, AB Jackson, Wayne Holloway-Smith and Ahren Warner

Matthew Caley has published three collections of poetry, the most recent being Apparently (Bloodaxe, 2010). Professor Glass will be published by Donut Press on November 1st 2010. 

Jude Cowan’s first collection of poems is provisionally titled Reuters Tapes, and will be published by Donut Press on November 1st 2010. Jude works as a media archivist for ITN Source, cataloguing pre-broadcast news footage for the Thomson Reuters news agency archive. Reuters Tapes will contain poetry written in response to footage received from around the world during 2008. The titles of the poems reflect cataloguing practice: firstly they provide the country of origin then give a summary title of content. Most of the news stories from which the poems originate can be found at www.itnsource.com

AB Jackson’s Fire Stations was awarded the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 2003. His second collection has yet to be published. On November 1st 2010 Donut Press will publish a limited edition of Apocrypha, a twenty-one poem sequence.

Wayne Hollway-Smith’s ‘Liebling, when first you came to me, I tell you’ is a poem written on the theme of ‘gentrification’ and will be included in his debut pocketbook – provisionally titled Beloved, in Case You’ve Been Wondering – which will be published by Donut Press on October 1st 2010.

‘Re:’ is the title poem of Ahren Warner’s pocketbook, to be published by Donut Press on October 1st 2010.


For more information, visit: www.donutpress.co.uk



Undressing Kristeva

Apparently ‘the speech of the depressed
is like an alien skin’ is what she said

and, scattering petals aside, undressed,
leading me through my skin to the tousled bed.

This could have seemed somewhat heavy
for a first date

but in fact was as light as petals or duvet
feathers. So light that I lost weight

on the journey from the door to the divan.
So light that she played upon my ribs 

like a melodeon, played on them an even-
song. From that, to go on to describe, 

with a clarity that still alarms me
how the ossified cries of a child

become the poems of a Mallarmé
or Nerval – it was as if she had willed

these words like birds from the trees.
Then she took me, took me like any lover –

elbows, eyelids, ear lobes, ankles, knees –
as if none belonged to one, or to the other.


                                           Matthew Caley



Austria: Jörg Haider

after Christopher Smart

For I will consider the chief Haider
For he has crashed his black sedan before the Klagenfurt dawn
For a politician he received adoration both fervent and fanatic
For he was a sun-tanned man of action and friend of
Arnold Schwarzenegger
For he moved through life in sprees of energetic motion
For he enjoyed rollerblading, bungee jumping and marathon running
For he was dramatic by nature and a passionate actor
For his fiftieth birthday he hired a mountain, was dropped on the summit
by helicopter and skied down to eat a giant apfelstrudel
For he described SS officers as ‘upstanding men of character’
(although he later recanted)
For we were never sure just how much he was a neo-Nazi
For he was a friend of Saddam Hussein
For he drunkenly hit a concrete barrier and rolled and rolled and rolled
For we suspect not all the cats in his bag were killed
For they loved him and light altars in the restaurants of Carinthia


                                                                              Jude Cowan



from Apocrypha


Bed-head Lazarus, at breakfast:
three Embassy Regal, tea so strong
you could trot a mouse on it.

To his bare barrel chest, a rag
embroidered with Do Not Disturb
was butterfly-stitched.

Nettle cheese omelette, French
toast with field mushrooms,
three more furious cigarettes.

Manifest ailments: eye-gum,
heart overrun with Japanese knotweed,
cock not worth a docken.

Mist burned off. Honey bees fussed
religiously, as usual, over roses.


                                     AB Jackson



Liebling, when first you came to me, I tell you

I was like both nuns in that tale, that trembled beneath 
a black umbrella at the powdered orange moon 
cuffed upon the chapel’s crown, the skies pinned back 
into their deep black selves by slanted rain;

both nuns who quaked when, from behind a tree, 
the wet Rabbi began to move toward the sheathed sanctuary 
of that same umbrella – the heave of his articulate cock 
denuding the pair of them in their unspoken dark. 

Both nuns: the one who ran, who wept like a skeleton 
across the church lawn; the other, who remained –
her upright soul, it’s said, you could almost see fold  
as if bending, as if sprawling itself over a balloon-backed chair, 

while some old pert lips purred raspberries up and through her, 
the strange beauty of it slowly rising in her eyes.


                                                           Wayne Holloway-Smith




As soup made Eliot think of Spinoza
and she made Donne think of compasses,
drummers drumming bring to mind áëÞèåéá

and how, for the Greeks, truth was uncoveredness;
drummers true drummers only by their drumming,
tangled thighs the criterion of lovers.

And my point, true love, is that I’ve been thinking
and don’t think I can love someone who struggles 
with the latent – flowers well before blooming –

whose gifts must, without fail, be spectacles
and never a package of crepe paper and dirt
which, water added, might turn to vegetables:

artichokes, small but incontrovertibly vert;
the promise of a purple patch next year.


                                                    Ahren Warner