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New Poet: Sean Borodale


The Granta New Poets series showcases the best new work by writers who have or are about to publish their first pamphlet or book. Today, along with our guest judge Gillian Clarke, we are delighted to announce two New Poets simultaneously: Sean Borodale and Kaddy Benyon.

There are no rules to know a good poem or discover a fine new poet. The good poem sings its own song. It rings true from its first line, the breath, pause and accent right, the sound word-music. As we listen or read we forget ourselves. We believe it as we believe any fine work of art. At first reading at least a phrase stays, a line sings in the mind, an image returns, because it is well observed, well-heard. The poem’s detail surprises, a familiar thing made new. A good poem becomes our own because it could not be said better.

All this describes the poems from Sean Borodale’s collection, Bee Journal, an apiarist’s journal, a year in the life and death of a swarm, from bringing the bees home in early summer, ‘noise of weight; /we carried this / through our proscenium of grasses’ to their winter silence, ‘in our hands the corpse of a city’. The poems are true, forensic, beautiful. We are startled by the mixture of the known and the new. Like Maurice Maeterlinck’s prose work, The Life of the Bee, this is bee-science as literature, nature poetry at its best.

Gillian Clarke

Photo by Todd Huffman.

by Sean Borodale.

The above poems are taken from Bee Journal which will be published by Jonathan Cape in July.

You can also read New Poet Kaddy Benyon’s poems and Gillian Clarke’s essay ‘Poetry in Britain’.

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