Charles Boyle

Charles Boyle most recent collection of poems is Sleeping rough. He is employed as an editor for Time-Life Books, for whom he is working on a history of the world in 21 volumes.

Two Poems

Charles Boyle, 20 April 1995

The Expert

An old girlfriend appears on TV answering questions about the homeless. Yes, the new government initiative is welcome as far as it goes. No, it doesn’t even attempt to tackle the root of the problem.

Phones are ringing behind her, colleagues are bent over keyboards ... I want to ask how much she earns, whether she still leaves the cap off the toothpaste and if she has...

Poem: ‘Man in Space’

Charles Boyle, 10 January 1991

No, I said, the title wasn’t sexist, I was thinking about the Russian cosmonauts who were stuck in orbit, and how they hooked up a British princess and an interpreter and got them to make polite conversation.

Then there was Daniel, who wanted a child but whose girlfriend didn’t. After five years of precautions he began sleeping with another woman.

The night he told me she was...

Four Poems

Charles Boyle, 23 November 1989

The Wren

All that day, beginning hot, they'd set out to find Cocteau's grave, he couldn't help seeing the tiny bruise on her throat where her necklace, she said, had got caught.

The weather broke, the grave turned out to be Braque's, her shoes were a size too small ...

Home and dry, she peeled off her socks and showed him the rubbed-red patch, about the size of a farthing, where a blister had...


John Kerrigan, 13 October 1988

August is the cruellest month, breeding tailbacks on the Dover Road and logjams in every departure lounge. Travel reverts to travail, stirring dull roots in trepalium – that classical...

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