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Looking Out, Looking in

New and Selected Poems

E.A. Markham

10% off
Imprint: Anvil Press Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (256 pages)
(Pub. Nov 2009)
£14.95 £13.45
  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author

    Woman on the Verandah, Reading

    At the book-signing he spells out a name
    and the novelist, practised at this art
    writes a tribute to someone’s sister
    managing for a moment to set her image fluttering
    into interest. The woman, a good reader,
    lived in this country and worked in its hospitals
    and is back now to reclaim her island
    of high-swaying palms and fresh colour.
    He can imagine in this new recruit to his prose
    someone who takes to the waves most days
    and comes home lively as seawater.

    And the brother recalls her on the verandah
    of a new house. Inside is a painting on the wall
    to make them uneasy; men linked together by a rope
    round the neck, hands tied at the wrist; a country at war.
    Replaying the joke against herself, the nurse
    imagines these captives washed and dressed,
    one tending the family, another doing something
    not worth noting; then, perhaps much older
    coming to rest where she used to work.

    These men will not let her go. She sits there
    still with the page unturned, her mind uninvaded
    by the richness of prose that well-describes her.
    Who knows if she’s conscious of the restless sea,
    of chunks of her life that didn’t travel, of a big book
    sent in lieu of a visit? There’s a lizard on the wall,
    the cat wandering off; and a boy with a cutlass
    in her sights, toying with the tall grass next-door.
    There she sits, book in hand, like a portrait.

    Aptly described by Gavin Ewart as ‘a writer of great intelligence and vitality who can command a very powerful wry political comment’, E.A. Markham was a leading light in British Caribbean writing. He was a poet, novelist and short story writer, essayist and anthologist. He completed this selection of poems from his previous books, together with an opening section of nearly fifty new poems, shortly before his death in Paris at Easter, 2008. It is a fine memorial to a fine poet.

    Born in Montserrat in 1939, E.A. MARKHAM has lived in many parts of Europe, though Britain has been his home since 1956. Active in theatre and in literature -- he is a story-writer as well as a poet -- he is currently Professor of Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University, edits ... read more
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