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New poem by Harry Man

Earlier this year I was on a Poetry School course in Lambeth and met Harry Man. I really liked his work and I think he and I were two of only four participants who completed the course (out of about 15).

I came across Harry’s name again recently and had a snoop around the internet, discovering all sorts of things that he’s far too modest to shout about, for example he won 3rd prize in this year’s Cardiff International Poetry Competition. Wowza!

Harry’s agreed to be an open mic buddy when I take my first tentative steps onto the London poetry scene next year. Can’t wait! Plus, I asked him for a poem and he very kindly sent me this…enjoy!


Hiromi Miyake
Japanese 56kg International Women’s Weightlifting Silver Medalist

The audience at the front; dark white bread in an oven,
each of them had expressions uncompressed as lakes.
Snatch, and nostrils of Mingjuan, trembled, flaring
pleased and quiet like a mirror, a muscle, a whistle string.
Arrow root lifting-powder poltergeisting about the place.
Wang Mingjuan was a slow motion cat leap into red towels –
happy to be here, happy to compete, happening,
Hiromi Miyake, Hiromi Miyake – not City, Red Army,
The just so so beautiful tonight ArcelorMittal Orbit,
“but works in a bank part time to fund her appetite
for lifting weights…”
the bar is seven reds, retinas, clean, high over heads
of state.

Published inPoemsReadings

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  1. Quite a startling poem – certainly shook me awake! Great to read something out of the ordinary. Interesting that so few of you finished the Poetry School course, though. Why was that do you think?

  2. I don’t know for sure why so many people on the course didn’t seem to stick around, I think some might have been put off by the high numbers at the first meeting. Plus not everyone could make every week, there was one session I couldn’t get to myself.

    Also, as is probably the case on a lot of open courses, it maybe wasn’t what some people wanted. I was aware of at least two people who only wanted to read and have critiqued (by Jack) their own poems. One was quite pushy and even left as soon as the poem had been read, a bit rude I thought. On the whole it was fine though – I think a certain amount of drop off is probably common.

  3. […] A pamphlet that set challenges for the typesetter! Rather like Sarah James, whose book Be[yond] I reviewed a few weeks ago, here’s a poet who likes to play with layout, word order and the convention of line. This collection bristles with electricity and experimentation. Its broad themes are space travel, time travel, human flight, technology and a good deal of ‘what if’. I’d read ‘Lift’ when it first came out and Harry kindly allowed me to reproduce one of my favourite poems from the book, ‘telesue’, which you can read here.  […]

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Robin Houghton 2021
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