Annie Freud’s Poetry Aloud

Annie Freud, Tim Cumming, Tammy Yoseloff and Bethany Pope: poetry performance…

Saturday 12 January 2013 6.30pm

Tickets: £5 for poetry.  Phone 01308 459511.  Book a table for food and chat later.

Annie Freud

The Mirabelles

A young poet visits an older poet who has enjoyed fame and success.

In the street, a plum tree has scattered its golden fruit all over the pavement.

When it’s over, she’ll come back and fill her pockets with these Mirabelles.

She leaves the older poet’s house; night has fallen; she has forgotten

the plums. But the thought of them, lying so sweet all over the pavement,

comes back to her and she remembers them every day for the rest of her life.

Annie Freud was born in London in 1948. She is the daughter of painter Lucian Freud, maternal grand-daughter of sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein, and the great-grand-daughter      of Sigmund Freud. Freud was educated at the Lycee Francais de Londres and then studied English and European Literature at Warwick University. Since 1975, she has worked intermittently as a tapestry artist and embroiderer, exhibiting work and undertaking commissions from people such as Anthony D’Offay, Jon Snow and Graham Norton. She taught the Advanced Class of the Poetry Writing Course at City University, London.  Her first full collection from Picador, The Best Man Who Ever Was, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation in 2007, and went on to receive the Glen Dimplex New Writers’ Award in the same year. Her latest collection, The Mirabelles, was published by Picador in 2010 and was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize in 2011. She is currently teaching the Advanced Class of the Poetry Writing Course at City University, London. She lives in Dorset with her husband. 

Tim Cumming

The Ripe Charge

Tread carefully,
your ground is not solid.
Shelter from expectation
and select for your fire willow,
juniper, dogwood, birch.
Burn, crush, blend and churn
with sulphur, lead, saltpetre,
and you will have your ripe charge.
Keep it in mind. There are days
like these when we drift
through time, and memory
travels infirm, gathers like kelp,
shapes beneath the tide, time
rubbed in like an aromatic herb,
persistent images knocking
at the brain stem as if they
held the spike of creation,
battering thought in the
grease of self conception.

Tim Cumming
from The Rapture (Salt Publishing, 2011).

Tim Cumming was born in Father Hudson’s Children’s Home in 1963 in Solihull and was brought up in the west country. He has lived in London since 1982. His poems have appeared in magazines including The Wide Skirt, Echo Room, The North, Scratch, Dog, Magma, Poetry London, The London Magazine and the online magazines Boomerang and Limelight.

His first pamphlet, The Miniature Estate was published by Smith Doorstop in 1991, and Scratch published the pamphlet version of Apocalypso the following year. Stride published his first collection Apocalypso (1999) and The Rumour (2004), and Wreckingball Press brought out the book-length cinematic poem Contact Print in 2002.

His work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including three editions of The Forward Book of Poetry, and its 2004 Best of the Decade anthology, and Bloodaxe Books’ major 2010 anthology of poetry from Ireland and the British Isles, Identity Parade. His forthcoming book, The Rapture, was published by Salt in 2011, and a New & Selected Poems will appear in 2013.

His work has been broadcast on BBC radio and TV, and he has been featured in the New Voices season at the South Bank Centre in London.

He writes regularly for newspapers including The Independent and The Guardian on music and the arts and in 2007 he made a film the acclaimed Hawkwind: Do Not Panic documentary for the BBC about the space rock legends Hawkwind.

His film poem Radio Carbon was premiered at the Renoir cinema in 2009 and at Port Eliot Festival in 2010. His blog and his paintings can be seen at the Rowley Gallery in London: Click here for Tim Cumming’s blog and paintings of Dartmoor.

Tamar Yoseloff


Durable, your rough roots, your troops;

your line of destruction

that moles its way beneath foundations –

it will outlive us.

We are coming and going, always lost and losing,

in love with the tug of leaving, the future

cast upon the shaded map, the Alice Universe


all roads are chosen, all roads say come;

your greedy paws claw all for one

to feed your lust for land,

you  grab the lot.

Fleeceflower, the fleet hour of inflorescence

bursts, you drape your skirts

over the earth, tough peduncle,

homunculus. You will not budge

now you’ve found your calling: the felling

of our failing structures.

Tamar Yoseloff was born in the US in 1965. Since moving to London in 1987, she has been the organiser of the Terrible Beauty reading series at the Troubadour Coffee House, Reviews Editor of Poetry London magazine, and from 2000 to 2007, Programme Coordinator for The Poetry School. She currently works as a freelance tutor in creative writing.

A pamphlet collection (Fun House, Slow Dancer Press, 1994) was followed by her first full collection, Sweetheart (Slow Dancer Press, 1998), which was a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation and the winner of the Aldeburgh Festival Prize. She received a New Writers’ Award from London Arts (now Arts Council England, London) for a manuscript in progress, which was eventually published as her second collection,Barnard’s Star (Enitharmon Press, 2004). Fetch was published by Salt in April 2007, at the same time as Marks, collaborative book with the artist Linda Karshan, published by Pratt Contemporary Art. Her most recent collection with Salt, The City with Horns(2011), features a sequence of poems inspired by the life and work of the American abstract artist, Jackson Pollock. Two recent limited editions, Desire Paths, with Linda Karshan and Galerie Hein Elferink, and Formerly, with photographs by Vici MacDonald (the first publication from a new imprint, Hercules Editions)are published in 2012.

She was the editor of A Room to Live In: A Kettle’s Yard Anthology, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge (Salt, 2007) and the Poetry Editor of Art World magazine from 2007-2009. She holds a MPhil in Writing from the University of Glamorgan, and a PhD in Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University. She teaches for a number of institutions, including Birkbeck, Spread the Word and the Poetry School. In 2005 she was Writer in Residence at Magdalene College, Cambridge, as part of their Year in Literature Festival. She divides her time between London and Suffolk.

Bethany Pope

Bethany W Pope is an award winning author of the LBA, and a finalist for the Faulkner-Wisdom Awards. Originally from the Southern United States, she lived in an orphanage for three years before dropping out of high-school, but later continued her education at Mary Baldwin College where she earned her BA in English Literature. Later, she received her PhD from Aberystwyth University’s Creative Writing program. Bethany has worked as a farmhand, a midwife for cattle, a keeper at a children’s zoo, a veterinarians assistant, and a restaurant car-hop, all of which have contributed to her art. Her work has appeared in: Anon, Art Times, Ampersand, Blue Tattoo, De/Tached (Parthian), The Writer’s Hub, New Welsh Review, Every Day Poems and her work is due to appear in the next issues of Planet, Poetry Review Salzburg, Tears in the Fence, Anon, and The Screech Owl. Her first poetry collection, A Radiance was published by Cultured Llama Press in June. Her second collection, Persephone in the Underworld has been accepted by Rufus Books and shall be released in 2016.

The Altar

This is a story my grandfather tells me.
He worked many years
in vocational rehabilitation, which was I imagine,
something like fishing. Fishing for men,
or their fragments, casting out a strong line, a net,
into the depths of mental illness, drawing something
up to breach the crest and bathe in the light,
or flounder in air, drowning. This story
is not about the drowned.
He worked among broken minds,
broken bodies, learning his own medicinal grace.
One morning he found a man in his net,
ready to clean, or release, ready for judgment.
He said, to me, ‘The man was an idiot.
Dribbling. Completely degenerate. I left him fiddling
his fat fingers on my desk. I asked my supervisor,
why bring him to me? He understands nothing.
What can I do for him? He’s too dumb to be trained.
I couldn’t even teach him how to lay down upholstery.’
When he gets to this part, my grandfather
leans across the table top, grinning at me
black gummed, over his black twine-bound Bible
which smells of his sweat, in-ground from decades
of long morning readings. He tells me more in Kentuckian basso,
‘Well, my boss finally talked me back into the office.
I gave in and went. Know what I found?’
I know well by now, he knows I know. I tell him, ‘No.’
He laughs at me, Nana laughs with him, scrambling
the grits in the never cleaned pan;
You never soap iron. It takes on the flavour
of the years of your cooking, passes it on
through butter and meat. A meal in endless
re-iteration. We never get tired
of this morning telling.
‘The idiot was drooling. It spilled down
all over his chin. He sucked it back up, liquid,
Hur, hur, hur! Like that. Snorting pig-like,
a sow that turned up something real
My grandfather takes a sip of paint-stripping coffee.
‘But damn it, Bethany,
he’d taken apart my radio and laid the parts out,
all across my desk. He was careful, but was I mad?
Was I ever.’
‘It took a minute, but I remembered my business enough
to hold it all in. I sat down in my chair
and started talking to him. The fella ignored me.
I might not have been there. But I was.
And I am telling you now the thing that I witnessed.’
‘The idiot put my radio back together in under
five minutes. He fixed it better than it ever was.
Or ever had been.’
‘Eventually I got the story.
His mother didn’t want him, and she dropped him off
on the doorsteps of the Retardation Center.
The doctor’s brought him in and since he was there
and so young, no one ever bothered testing.
People depend a lot on instinct in this sort of thing.
Even doctors. More than they admit.’
‘He grew up in that wasteland, and since he was smart
he took to acting like the people around him.
He learned their behaviours, but he couldn’t stop thinking.
He was good at it. Thinking.
The white coats only figured him out
when a night nurse caught him
fixing the television. Said it played better once
he’d been at it than it ever had.
So they brought him to me.’
We break for grace, a ritual that is the best kind
of familiar. Nana serves herself last, takes
less than any of us. Is the last to sit down
the first to rise up. A real Southern lady.
We taste a bit, salty pork,
baked apples, I fiddle the grits round the plates,
‘He never did use words. I got him a job
as an electrician. Couldn’t ever get him to talk.
But you’d better believe he sung with his hands.’
A sigh over a plate this time, the Bible closed
on the sideboard. ‘Never forget, girl,
in your life,
the things that you can learn from an idiot.
Don’t call another man defective
till you’ve tried to reach him
from every side.’
This is how we start our morning,
in laughter, in light.
This is the story my grandfather tells me.
Now I’m telling you.
Some things get better with the telling,
like the flavour in an unsoaped pan.
Bethany Pope


2 Responses to Annie Freud’s Poetry Aloud

  1. Pingback: From Powdermills To Wistman’s Wood | Frames of Reference

  2. Pingback: wonderful winter evenings | Sladers Yard

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