Christopher Reid

Christopher Reid’s poetry is published by Faber. Katerina Brac is out in paperback.

Two Poems

Christopher Reid, 1 September 2005

Neddy and the Night Noises

Neddy Bumwhistle jolts awake in the dark. Insomnia’s big comic-strip exclamation mark twitches like defective neon above his head. At least he’s in the familiar slum of his own bed: no body beside him; nobody, perhaps, for miles around . . . But hang about, what’s that weird, squeaky-bedspring sound? He’s heard it before....

Poem: ‘Bollockshire’

Christopher Reid, 18 October 2001

You’ve zoomed through it often enough on the long grind north, the grim dash south –    why not take a break?    Slip off the motorway at any one of ten tangled junctions and poke your nose, without compunction,    into the unknown.    Get systematically lost. At the first absence of a signpost, opt for the least...

Poem: ‘Flies’

Christopher Reid, 24 May 2001

After Machado

Dear common flies, ubiquitous and greedy, how well you conjure up those times that have gone.

Old flies guzzling like bees in April, old flies launching raids on my new-born head.

Flies of my early homebound boredoms, those summer afternoons when I first learned to dream.

And in the hated classroom, flies that whizzed past as we hit out at them for love of their flight –


Poem: ‘A Perversion’

Christopher Reid, 10 January 1991

In the Proceedings of the Royal Institute of Anthropophagy (last year’s Spring number, page 132), there is a most unusual instance recorded of a man and woman who conspired to eat each other – and would have done so, had not the laws of nature prevented it. I heartily agree with the writer of the article who denounces the whole affair as a ‘flagrant travesty’, a...

Poem: ‘Your Biographer’

Christopher Reid, 26 July 1990

Inevitably your biographer is getting it all wrong.

His little screen recapitulates the few known facts.

With rapidly dabbing fingertips he coaxes a workable pattern, till

there it is – the truth at last! And you stand condemned

to centuries of ignominy, your well-polished plea unheard.

Between leaving school and going to Cambridge, Ted Hughes did his National Service in the RAF. Writing from RAF West Kirby, in the Wirral, to a friend, Edna Wholey, in 1949 –...

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John Redmond, 28 November 1996

Born at the end of the Seventies and in decline at the beginning of the Eighties, Martianism, as a movement in British poetry, was shortlived, and as a descriptive term, misleading. Largely the...

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Christ’s Teeth

C.K. Stead, 10 October 1991

‘Dates, dates are of the essence; and it will be found that I date quite exactly the breakdown of the imaginative exploit of the Cantos: between the completion of the late sequence called...

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Dialect does it

Blake Morrison, 5 December 1985

Poetry written in dialect seems to be undergoing a resurgence. Tony Harrison has made extensive use of Northern idioms. Tom Paulin has been busy raiding Ulster (and, I suspect, Scottish)...

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Decorations and Contingencies

John Bayley, 16 September 1982

Decoration in poetry traditionally has a purpose: to embellish the story of the Faerie Queene or of Venus and Adonis, to ornament with appropriate curlicues the exposition of order and harmony in...

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A Martian School of two or more

James Fenton, 6 December 1979

Craig Raine’s second collection follows swiftly upon his first, The Onion, Memory (1978). It is as if the poet had been waiting impatiently over us, while we picked ourselves up off the...

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