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Internet Poetry Workshop, Guest Editor 2009
(Sudeep Sen, Internet Poetry Workshop Guest Editor,
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Michael Brett attended Adrian Henri's Arvon class in 1976. He won the
Iolaire Poetry Prize in 1983 and is one of the 2010 Winners of the
(South Asian Arts) International Writing Competition (his two poems,
London, Bangladesh and London- from Aqaba to Zem Zem
will be published in the Sampad anthology Journeys, October 2010).
During the Civil War in the Former Yugoslavia, Michael worked in the Press
Section of the Information Centre of Bosnia-Herzegovina in London, promoting
US and NATO military intervention in the Civil War in the Former Yugoslavia.
He believed that it would stop the widespread massacres of mainly Muslim
civilians that were taking placing at the time.
Michael was born in Accra, Ghana in 1955. He was educated in England at Cranbrook
School and the University of Reading, where he read English. He worked in
the City of London for ten years, writing poems on his desk in the trading
room during lunch breaks, which really used to irritate his boss.
He is currently Head of English at Homefield School in Surrey.
'Michael Brett turns edgy metropolitan experience into beauty and wit.'
Dr Thomas M Woodman, Senior Lecturer, Department of English and American
Literature, University of Reading.
'A unique and compelling odyssey which I would thoroughly recommend.'
Richard Wachman, columnist for The Observer, on an unpublished book of poetry.
Web Sites which feature Michael's Work:
War Poetry and Anti-war Poetry. The wide selection of contemporary war
poetry on this website is vigorous, moving, opinionated and heart-felt. It
is by both soldiers and civilians. -- David Roberts (Editor)
details of the Sampad International Writing Competition (deadline
Journeys...a real or imagined journey, back to your roots, homeland,
or a journey of the heart.
Consider the circuitry of a bomb. Like you
It works with a telephone call.
A circuit board has political independence.
It has its own batteries, its own power.
It is as pretty and clever as a tube map.
Its parts are ancient books and modern coins.
A bomber is an artist, an electric surrealist
Who sees towers as gibbets, forests as fish bones.
On the black print of his newspaper, he solders
Semtex to gold, timers to copper.
He can write in the smoke over cars and buildings,
Sketch with the trails of planes and speedboats.
He can arrange death like a tub of flowers in the street
As a work of art, a Goya bullfight with bands and costumes.
Barbed wire is the Esperanto of repulsion:
A written language of jags and scribble -
But no words -
That everyone understands.
It is a ribbon of the Underworld,
An Ariadne's cord, leading
Through war's wreckage, its hovels
Its songs, its hum
Stalk in gloomy triumph through hospital corridors,
Orphanages, special schools.
They breed and populate in second hand bookshops.
But barbed wire itself is tonsured, naked.
Its arguments are ascetic, saintly.
It finds virtue in uniform,
A holiness in rust and rain
On aerodrome perimeters
And battle fronts.
It despises chatter.
It regards as effete
All soft modernity: especially,
The smooth-faced Internet connection
In the pink office that looks down upon the clouds
Through Veuve Clicquot.
Barbed wire holds women, men and clouds in check.
It shreds them-and landscapes-if they try
To kiss like Renoir nudes or dream
Like Turner sunsets.
It is an artist in its own way,
A Pierre Faberge, making
The little barbed eggs of the future.
Here comes trouble.
LATEST PUBLISHED POEM:
The Sunken Cathedral, Dunwich, England
This is where wars and histories end: my
Old Europe dreaming of lost fortunes,
Lost coins of Latin scattered on the sea floor.
I can see it through the doorless doorway, ruined,
Or the space where it should be, below the shoreline
Where the old road goes to drown its head
Below the surf in fleeces.
There the Cathedral nests among tibia and ribs,
Among the bladder wrack, ships and landing craft.
Its towers, dolphins, its choirs drowned
Where the senile sea addresses itself in rumours.
I have seen it in a divers face mask, trembling
With dim fanfares of shoals and tumbling walls.
There mosaic Christ kosmokrator has his finger
And Bible raised towards the muffled, inverted din
Of fishing boats.
Somewhere in the mind, the cathedral bells still beat
Submerged in caverns. Their tongues are bone. In stone,
An armoured head peers through sandy layers, extinctions, deaths
That lead like ladders to the present.
My great-grandfather knew this place and cycled here,
Filled with the certainties of factories each one stamped
With Queen Victorias face and an empire
Whose milestones were chimneys. Now,
There is no withdrawing Arnoldean roar but a simple sense
Of plodding on between the breakwaters
And the wrecks, torpedoed, weeping rust,
On little pathways between magnificence and folly.
May 31, 2010
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