‘The Necropolis Boat’ by Luke Kennard, Published by Holdfire Press
Holdfire Press is a new, small publisher based in Liverpool. Their first 8 pamphlets were released in May 2012, and they aim to continue to publish pamphlets and also full collections by emerging UK poets.
‘The Necropolis Boat’ by Luke Kennard was selected by the Poetry Book Society as their Autumn Pamphlet Choice, which makes it even more surprising then that there there seem to be no descriptions of this intriguing 28-page mystery on the internet (nb. I’ve not searched the whole internet, but little is forthcoming). But as I’m a massive fan of Luke’s work in general, I’m sure he’s a great introduction to Holdfire.
We do get a bit of info about this pamphlet though on Luke’s blog, Planet-Shaped Horse. He writes:
“Luke’s writing reflects his own personal interest in mental health and the way society perceives it, often using humour in his poems.”
The following poem, ‘Chorus’, is a poem from his second collection The Harbour Beyond the Movie. Luke gives us this insight:
“I wrote it about seven years ago, at a time when I was writing these little fourteen-line anti-sonnets which explore a single tragi-comical scene. I wrote over a hundred and my editor selected ten to go in the middle section of the book. The other ninety were terrible. This one I wrote for a close friend who was going through a particularly nasty spell of clinical depression.”
The choir hadn’t left him alone since the first day of summer;
He awoke to find them stationed around his bed.
One day the choir arrived without warning or explanation,
Sang the choir in four-part harmony, handing him toast.
On his first day back at work, the choir stood at his desk,
Singing, The choir are making his professional life impossible.
Two weeks later his partner left him for an osteopath.
Hannah cannot stand the choir any longer, they sang.
That night he pummelled the choristers with his fists;
He beats the choir in frustration, but though they are bruised
And bleeding at the lip, they sing with redoubled vigour, sang the choir.
Then they sang, He cannot get to sleep, he cannot get to sleep,
He cannot get to sleep, in perfect fifths, until he fell asleep.
In time you may even grow fond of us, they sang, quietly.
– Read more on Poem a Month
Buy ‘The Necropolis Boat’ via the Book Depository now for £4.98 (free p&p).
[Day 21 on the Poetry Advent calendar is the very appropriate ‘Solstice’ by Russell J. Turner]