Question & Answer 1 – Sarah Cave

Question 1

When I think of you
and remember past poetry performances,
I always think of polar bears
artic. Ice sheets progressing through harmonies
as they shrink under the feet
of crystal clear Fox’s glacier mints.
Why is this? Why would I associate
you with such imagery? Do you associate others
with ideas you can’t quite pinpoint?
I’ve no chords for you, but a freedom and space to
hear things falling softly into outer space.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 1

I am a seer in clown-costume, so the joke goes, and I befriend a polar bear playing an accordion
on the underground. We make our way to St Paul’s, there

she and I fall in love

somewhere between the Southbank and the City
both of us ex-patriots – our lands for sale – –

in the turning doors of the cathedral I weep
………………………………………..and the bear
…….well, the bear
she prays
in the Lady’s Chapel

incense is our unknown musk of ox

she pays the fee and says ‘everywhere is a city.’
I appropriate her sentience, lead her to the altar,

I am Honest John – a fox in man’s clothing –

I try to sacrifice her

to say something
………….about myself………………..she begs for alms
her paws reveal a poem that shows me all

our poems are untranslatable

a taut geometric web
of ice
that grows and melt

a chord structure

she lumbers up the aisles shredding the books of common prayer as she goes

I stroll – taking note – sketching her mad-bear outline

o, bear open thou my lips
and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise
o, bear make speed to save me

(cutupprayersandbearnoises) (cutupprayersandbearnoises) (cutupprayersandbearnoises)
(cutupprayersandbearnoises) (cutupprayersandbearnoises) (cutupprayersandbearnoises)
(cutupprayersandbearnoises) (cutupprayersandbearnoises) (cutupprayersandbearnoises)

..I collect the words ………………. the triptych that falls between us………….in an empty bag
of Fox’s glacier mints.

– Sarah Cave

Question & Answer 3 – Charlie Baylis

Question 3

Tertiaty horizon, events
subsequently uneven now.
I swim
my youth
malevolently. Are stars sewn across cruel reeds? Effortlessly?

‘The sun is my massacre’ and I burnt it through these words.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 3

i see your question and the hymn of its letters (your name beginning with a mine ending with e)
i see your lines sewn with stars and cruel reeds in glittering illuminations spanning galaxies
i see our children wild eyed and delirious hunting with wolves under the burning sun
i see the new planets lana discovered by being young and in love (her name ending with a
your name beginning with a)
i see the cliff i jump off jumping off a cliff and landing on a new cliff
but what do you mean, aaron? night is approaching. where do these questions lead?
the sun you burn drips ultra violet in the multicoloured rays of my mind
my own youth
swam by peacefully, suburban, no heartbreak, blue light on the water
harder for me is the loneliness of the adult world
the empty weekends where i can find myself with words or lose myself in
yellow moons and dreams, peach trees dazzled with amber, injections and constellations
i hate most of the people on this planet
i love most of the people on this planet
my only despair is i have not seen heaven yet.

– Charlie Baylis

Question & Answer 3 – GFOTY/Polly-Louisa Salmon

Question 3

I saw La
Louvre in 2k9
the memory burns into my mind
with images


and the inevitable heat death
of a relationship
two Kay nine.
……………………and all I have to show of it is

a flat where the next tenants
two paramedics laughing about a heart
and being manipulated into staying in a relationship
emotions of a teddy bear. Baloo. From the Jungle Book. A teddy bear. Me. Staying in St Austell. Joining the Navy. Too Kaye Nein. Unable to get free. Because of a Teddy. That’s ridiculous. What was wrong with me? I was the ghost you write of Polly. I was that spirit. That spectre. Tu Que Nigh-n. Do you have these things? These moments you should’ve grabbed? Ran? Quit?

A year I regret taking part in.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 3

I presumed

I’ve been running away from my life since this morning I presumed

I regret telling anyone how i have ever felt There were better days I presumed And until forever ends Its hailing outside

I presume I hate myself i feel it in my heart its the one thing i will forever feel

Please tell me that yesterday was just a poisonous dream gone long by a dream where we existed amongst, but not alongside, the blackened souls of those who had once been as pure as when they arrived. I presumed We didn’t need to enter this.

I presumed

When will we go right? Is that the idea? That IS the idea right?

And to think I thought the beginning was the answer for the rest of our splendour years

I presumed

I am old again

did it all go wrong?

– GFOTY/Polly-Louisa Salmon

Question & Answer 3 – Angela Topping

Question 3

I’m clinging onto the belief
that genius comes from working
with all of the lights on. POWER.
Creating a monster needs blood
on the leaves of paper. Do you
build your work on sight? Or
are you bound to other conventions?

– Aaron Kent

Answer 3

I buy the salted popcorn, bring a blanket
settle down in the best seats
to watch the movie with my inner eye.
Not just sight but a feely, smells and taste.
My mind’s eye is a quality cinema.

But most often, the poem comes
like a lover, to whisper in my ear
teasing phrases I can barely catch,
then runs away laughing.

I need all my skills to interpret
the other side of my brain, pin down
the wriggling, tantalising words.

– Angela Topping

Question & Answer 2 – Charlie Baylis

Question 2

I can’t speak my own tongue, Charlie,
can’t form Kernowek syllables
with the barely one percent of
my identity who can. I am a failure
in a family of Brittonic stalwarts.
Do you feel that link to your home?
I am carved from granite in the Red
Ford, chiselling in Three Roads, but
will never walk the mines from
the Court of the Crossroads to the
Holy Headland.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 2

i try not to think about success
or failure: sharks circle the city
my mouth fills with snow
when the world ends i will leave wearing my hat

do i feel a link to my home? no, aaron, no
i’m lost in channel orange as the taps run cold
i’m in warsaw watching the skaters on the vistula
spiralling backwards like decommissioned satellites

allow me to rephrase: how much do you want for that red ford?
for the memories that made you you?
i’ll swap a sweet summers evening in the parks of paris
for the silver knife pointing at my back

a fine mist smothers the sodium street-lights
i try not to think about success or failure
………………………………………..though often I find I do

– Charlie Baylis

Question & Answer 5 – George Szirtes

Question 5

You and I, George, seem to always return
to Buda, to Pest, to our fathers and the shape of their pasts.
Either the recreation of men we create stories for,
or the loss of them in lives
we lead without their input.

Mine still burns my eyelids
and causes the crow on my right hand to squawk sweet nothings
of trauma and tertiary colours into my sleeping ears.
I swallowed sleeping tablets for the last week,
and all I got was a memory of a suicide attempt
when I was 13.

I wanted to fling myself from a balcony
in a British-colonised tourist trap in Spain.
I told my djömoðirullin
and she laughed in my face.

How’s that for comedy?

– Aaron Kent

Answer 5

We return to what returns. Our ghosts proceed
down streets they lately inhabited.
We meet them in parks and cafes,
in restaurants where we once glimpsed them eating
and where they now look out to see us pass,
recognising something of themselves.

But which of us is which confuses them,
and so they rise, dazzled, from their chairs
and head outside in hope of following us
to a home they might belong to.

Our eyelids burn.
We sense the vertigo they suffer.
We suffer with them. We explode with laughter
Then we wake and rise.

– George Szirtes

Question & Answer 1 – Anthony Desmond

Question 1

You and I both spent time / walking the boards of internet / chat room /poetry shops / where I could never grow/ because of the sycophantisms / a long kino with no soundtrack / we declared our homes / nuclear-free zones / and ate in carved granite halls / where each wall reflected stunted growth / and no hope / and like for a like please / do you think you found something in the comments of blogspots / or did you just delay the beauty I find so strong in your work / I leave a broken cigarette in a figure 8 by Michigan Avenue / and know it’s ok to embrace your idols / but not to inherit your friends

– Aaron Kent

Answer 1

Like a fallen tree floating
no will no curiosity
no force, yet moving
forward with nothing
to look forward to.
This was my position:
on the edge of splitting
with no one to count
my growth rings.

– Anthony Desmond