The Spring 2021 issue of Poetry London, Martha Sprackland’s final issue as acting poetry editor, contains translations from Spanish and Dutch, a stunning, adamant erasure-poem written through the Ferguson Report by American poet Nicole Sealey, and a showcase of new work emerging from the inaugural residency of the Obsidian Foundation, introduced by its founder, Nick Makoha. There is new work by Selima Hill, Major Jackson, Holly Pester, Ruth Padel, Paul Muldoon and Rowan Ricardo Phillips, among many, many others. Poets interrogate the notion of work, family and love in a changed world, in an issue that is at once provoking, entertaining, exhilarating and insistent. Newcomers to the magazine include Adham Smart and Alex Bell.

Threading through the prose of the issue are three essays that address the shifting contours of poetry and society since the start of the pandemic. Marvin Thompson writes about balancing the demands of creativity, community and activism, at a time when poets are being asked to step up to the plate. Zoë Brigley presents a report from the field, reflecting on how digital technology and online events can improve accessibility and equalities. In the issue’s third essay, Laura Maw offers close readings of recent poems by Nadia de Vries, Warsan Shire, and Leah Horlick, three poets whose work depicting the trauma of domestic spaces resonates newly during lockdown.

Our interview for the issue sees Jennifer Lee Tsai talk to T.S. Eliot Prize-winner Bhanu Kapil about her transatlantic career, and the ongoing quest to find ‘a sentence that shakes’. And as always, alongside the features in the issue, you will find the most incisive reviews of new poetry, surveying recent collections by Natalie Diaz, Fred Moten, David Morley, and many more.

Discover more from this issue…



Editorial by Martha Sprackland
‘Looking out of the window is work’


Selima Hill
Prawn Cocktails
Paper Napkins

Holly Pester
Without fingers

Legna Rodríguez Iglesias (tr. Abigail Parry)
Frogs everywhere

Major Jackson
The Sound We Dressed For

Nicole Sealey
Pages 22–29, an excerpt from The Ferguson Report: An Erasure

James Womack
There is an America Here

Rowan Ricardo Phillips
Ars Poetica

Adham Smart
Spring comes then leaves again

Sara Saab
My Body is a Failed State

Alison Winch
Sad Pylons

Chrissy Williams
Moon Illusion

Ruth Padel
Microsoft and Gamble-Fish

Paul Muldoon
Ducking for Apples

Tara Bergin
We Get a Lot of Writers in Here

Romeo Oriogun
It Begins with Love

Padraig Regan
Pitcher Plants

Alex Bell

Tommes Gaarder (tr. Chris Cusack)
from when my mother died

Fran Lock
La jena di Londra

Joe Carrick-Varty
Sometimes I Talk to Myself as if I’m on a Chat Show

Jacob Polley

Kit Fan
A Story of a Labyrinth

Charting a New Constellation: Poems from the Obsidian Foundation retreat
introduced by Nick Makoha

Tanatsei Gambura
Photograph of a Black girl on a Straße in Bonn

Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa
The Devil Can’t Two-Step

Candice Nembhard
The Last Time I Wore A Blue Dress

Fahad Al-Amoudi
Yewel Bet for the non-speaker

Topher Allen

Jay Bernard
Notes on Contributors

Reviews and Features

Remnants as an Articulation
Bhanu Kapil in conversation with Jennifer Lee Tsai

What Anansi Taught Me
Marvin Thompson on creativity, community and COVID-19

Careful Ecologies
Jack Belloli on Bhanu Kapil and Natalie Diaz

Tectonic Plates
Joanna Lee on Romalyn Ante, Nina Mingya Powles and Cath Drake

A Channel to the Sea
Khairani Barokka on Melody Moezzi

Poetry in the Age of Zoom
Zoë Brigley on new technologies

Quantum Entanglements
Kashif Sharma-Patel on Mei-mei Berssenbrugge and Fred Moten

Delicate Fierceness
Billy Ramsell on Alan Buckley, Katrina Naomi and David Morley

Corvid Song
Chris Cusack on Matthew Welton, Crispin Best and Geraldine Clarkson

Swelling the Flock with Voice
Becky Varley-Winter reads six new pamphlets

Wounded Houses
Laura Maw on poetry of domestic claustrophobia

Multiply Masked
Nia Davies on Anne Carson and Taliesin

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