Three poems by Carrie Etter


There was a canoe missing an oar.
There was a stretch of pristine shore.

Colour broke into sound,
one mindless gasp
predicated on so much
prior consciousness.

Daughter of my daughter yet to be—
a glint on a distant wave,
a window without a wall—

O hovering cab, O sureshot marble—

(previously published in Hayden’s Ferry Review , US)

The ceremony props up the accomplishment.
The wind in a gown of linen, in the overgrown field.

Canapés champagne speech applause.
Wildflower and weed in one ebullient arc.

Otherwise, who will call it a triumph?
Her dress is the thrill of it.
Leaning with Torque

Leaning toward a memory, leaning with torque

The torque of hindsight, perhaps, or emotional distance

Imagine the beloved walking toward you down a long street

First the height, the build, a couple colours—his dark green coat, khaki trousers

My tightening calves, my hands opening and closing

More precise detail—the wave of his hair, his gait

Lips already parting for words

With such intense watching, the shock of the whole, of precision, of gaze and grin

A memory a bead on a string, connected yet independent

Which is to say when I look at it again, again the word: pure

Just the word, without quotation marks, without italics, that’s all I’m asking

(‘Recognition’ and ‘Leaning with Torque’ previously published in Handsome, US)
Originally from Normal, Illinois, Carrie Etter has lived in England since 2001 and taught creative writing at Bath Spa University since 2004. She has published three collections of poetry: The Tethers (Seren, 2009), winner of the London New Poetry Prize, Divining for Starters (Shearsman, 2011) and Imagined Sons (Seren, 2014); additionally, she edited the anthology Infinite Difference: Other Poetries by UK Women Poets (Shearsman, 2010). She also publishes short stories, reviews and the occasional essay. It was announced today that Carrie Etter has been shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry for Imagined Sons. Read three poems from the collection here. Buy the book direct from Seren here.