David Harsent

David Harsent’s A Broken Man in Flower has just been published.

Poem: ‘From ‘Stones’’

David Harsent, 13 April 2023

Stone hides itself in itself and thinks itselfInvisible. Its breathing is the near-death rhythmOf hibernation. There is nothing of this in the word stone; and everything. The word of God is stone. Your lover’s last look back is stone. You take stone to your heart. You lift a stone from the beach and it fits your hand –

Fits just so, is sure to find its matchIn the way your fingers...

Poem: ‘From ‘At the Window’’

David Harsent, 23 September 2021

How this pale dawn light floods in from the skyline.How it seems almost at times to fail as if it mightfall back to midnight’s deep blue-black: as if it should.I am given over to dreams that say what’s mine is mine.

I dreamt I was at this window and here I am:not dreaming, or so I think, though something stays.Dream has its flow, pain its own song to sing.

Rain sets a long graze on...

Poem: ‘From Loss

David Harsent, 7 March 2019


This room now: papers and books: a long drift over tablesover chairs to the floor. She said: ‘You’ll find him hereup to his arse in the tar-pits of poetry: find him lostin some landscape of the mind: the mind’s perfect drearsalt-marsh-as-moonscape-as-snowscape-as-white-over-whitewhich is limitless from skyline to skyline.’ She said: ‘Thereare ghosts here that...

Thirteen Poems from ‘Salt’

David Harsent, 20 October 2016

Her sudden, silent prayer was commonplace: to betray but do no harm, to admix guilt with love and that way get the best of it, to let each salty lie roll on her tongue, to gamble with heartbreak, to give an account of herself that would seem most like herself.


There’s a shadow in from under the door. Can you see it yet: shadow of slow-onset, contagion’s mission-creep....

Poem: ‘Pain’

David Harsent, 3 July 2014

Let’s say a gallery. Let’s say ill weather. Let’s say you’ve movedfrom L’Arbre de Fluides to La Fenêtre. Let’s say you’re not Marie,not one of the Corps de Dame. Let’s say you’ve been better loved.Let’s say that one of these, for sure, is what you came to see.


Red and black. Heart and hand. Sand and salt. You make a note.The...

Venisti tandem

Denis Donoghue, 7 February 1985

A year or two ago, Geoffrey Hartman urged literary critics to declare their independence. They should not regard criticism as an activity secondary to the literature it addressed, but as an art...

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