Selected Publications

To read selected reviews and press items click here.

"Stung", Mslexia 87, 2020. READ HERE.

"Neanderthal in New York", Tears in the Fence 72, 2020. READ HERE.

“Snowball” and “Confidences”, Obsessed with Pipework 90, 2020.

READ HERE

A Beautiful Way to be Crazy, Verve Poetry Press, 2020

“Cayton Bay” in Waymaking: an Anthology of Women’s Adventure Writing & Art, edited by Helen Mort, Claire Carter and Heather Dawe: Vertebrae Publishing 2018. 

READ HERE

“Thank You for Driving Carefully Through Hope” in Now Then Issue 121, April 2018

“Embrace”,  The White Review

“If You Know What I Mean” and “Waltzes”, in Wordlife 10: An Anthology, edited by Joe Kriss: 2016.

READ HERE

“Playa Zicatela” and “A Week Spent Leaving You”, The North Issue 56, August 2016

READ HERE

“Ravenglass for Eskdale”, Envoi Issue 169, February 2015

READ HERE

“Cider Pressing”, “Her Heart” and “The Writing on the Wall”, Iota Issue 94, July 2014

Poems

Stung

 

 

The rock pools shone like lanterns

the bodies on the beach became    frag men ted

the barking of a dog an impatient knock

on the door of your bedroom last summer

all the grains of sand were different sizes

the Frisbee or the dog was the wrong size

the castle on the cliff fell down and rebuilt itself all wrong

the old dead king inside woke up and declared war on Bridlington

we spoke openly    because I might die    we laughed

I dreamed of crowded streets and shouting

I said I’m sorry I haven’t had the time

I dreamed of soft brown tentacles

I wondered if things    we    I

might be different after the swelling subsided.

Neanderthal in New York

 

 

The cave entrances are fireless / the darkest parts are artless / there’s little to hunt but fat black rats / I scavenged a carcass from the oblate floor / boneless and sea-tasting / let me tell you something about caves / the magic is song-spun but you’ve forgotten the tune / strip-lit noise / I caught a show in Broadway and I couldn’t see the sky / I gave it three stars / I went to Ground Zero and glued my ear to the earth / respects are something you pay but you can pay in other ways / I walked through Central Park and somebody shouted flat-chested bitch / when I learn about war I will assume this to be one / the donut I liked at first - that cloudberry tang - but all too quickly sick-making, far too much.

 

 

Confidences

 

 

When I was eleven my mother bought me a set of worry dolls;

six little listeners rendered in pink and green thread

from a market stall in town.

 

I told them about the names I was being called at school

and about my irrational fear of the dark

and about why I wasn’t actually so sure it was irrational

and about dying – yes, even then it was a concern

 

and later on I told them about my nose

being so embarrassingly the wrong shape

and about how I was going to Hell

but before then I’d have to sit through Purgatory

 

and the five of them just took it in – perhaps there were only ever five –

and they didn’t pass judgement so I told them some more things

 

like about the Yangtze River dolphin

and the man on our street who shouted fucking Thatcher

into the wheelie bins and wore Tesco carrier bags on his feet

 

and axe-murderers and rare tropical diseases

and how people didn’t like me because they didn’t take the time

to get to know me properly

 

and the four of them nodded their little cotton heads sympathetically.

 

I told them about the Global Climate Emergency and they didn’t even seem surprised

and when a politician who campaigned for peace was shot dead in her home town

they said we know, we know, we know and they gazed up at me

like the three magi in a knitted nativity gazing up at the sky.

 

We shared a bottle of Jim Beam and I began to talk

about losing bits of myself; sending vital parts off in packets

addressed to publishing houses and forgetting to include an S.A.E.

 

and about waking in the night to check if I could still use a pen

in case I found I’d been extinguished, like a firefly softly stifled

beneath the surface of a lake

 

and about advertisements for makeup and breakfast cereal

that are meant to make you worry about the lines in your face

and the overspill of your gut when really you should be worrying

about something useful like the housing crisis         

 

but you are worrying about the lines in your face

and that means you’re going to Hell

 

and they both looked tired

 

and one said listen, I can’t take this anymore

and shuffled off right out the living room door

 

and the other one just stared at me and shrugged.

Cayton Bay

 

 

I’d argued with myself the whole way there

not joining in with the B-Movie script you all rehearsed

across me    the hot car constricting my innards

I climbed out of the rear window

and strapped myself to the roof with the surfboards

the 1960s pastiche we couldn’t shake off

I stared up at the conflicted sky and waited for rain

to wash me onto the moss-tufted cliff

shrug me from its chalk-bald scalp and into

silk-grey tears as far as the eye can shed

feeling no more real than the bloodshot limestone wreck

squinting out over the gambling, sugar-scoffing town

the wellied walkers with their creatures    pointless

pointlessly I stared up at the conflicted sky and waited

for waves to rip the sickness from the pit of me

the melodrama I couldn’t shake off

silk-grey tears as far as the eye can shed

I’d argued with myself the whole way there

and lost.

Waltzes

 

 

I wanted to tell you about how I like

waltzes. But something interrupted

us like a bleating phone or late for work and

 

I never finished what I was saying.

It’s really nothing

just that it must have been nice

 

to stop all that prancing about

and look someone in the eyes

for three whole minutes

 

and gently sway

as I say

doesn’t matter anyway.

 

One

     two

            three.

A Week Spent Leaving You

 

 

You read a lot of books.

Or perhaps it's just the one book, but you read it a lot.

I go running, leave my high-horse in the garage, drinking salt water.

The coastline is being sick all over itself.

There are hairpin bends all across the bed.

The weather happens all at once.

Don’t you know it’s mathematically impossible

to photograph a rainbow. Physically, then.

Just like you can’t photograph someone’s face

while they are sleeping, or they die.

I try with yours, but you just keep on waking up and living

and now I’ll never remember the curve

between your eyelids and your nose.

The TV is being sick all over itself.

All those bright colours. In Spanish, too.

Foreigners bombing the shit out of each other.

I make bets with myself.

If Clinton wins the primaries then I’ll leave you.

I make bets with your life, but you just keep on reading.

We stand on the cliff and watch the rocks take a battering.

You look me up and down as if you’re trying to photograph

the slant of my neck, but you can’t.

Your eyes are made of glass.

We will always remember the angle

of the rocks reaching the sea, despite the battering.

Let’s have a cup of tea and talk about our future.

I make the tea with salt water.

Our conversation is sick all over itself.

We can’t leave Spain like this,

skid-marks all across the finish line.

Someone will have to clean up.

Ravenglass for Eskdale

 

 

Alight here for memories of grandparents,

mudflats, and sweat under Gore-Tex.

 

Strap on your walking boots, wrap up

the flapjacks in two layers of cling film,

 

take your laminated Ordinance Survey map

and follow the hachures until you reach the sky.

 

Go down to the beach, dip in a toe and gasp

then surrender yourself  to the ocean,

 

let it wash you out and up again

from Corkickle to Seascale.

 

Forget the bullies at school,

they have been drowned in Selker Bay.

 

Get lost in Skalderskew woods and emerge

in Younghusband. Die among the leaves

 

and let your flesh become mulch.

Your funeral will be at St Bees

 

and the cathedral chasm will hum with bees

or monks or friends who will miss you.

 

Passengers from Manchester may wish

to hold on extra tight, there’s colours here

 

you’ve never even seen. Slow down,

or you’ll smudge the ink of the hills.

 

Take care to leave your personal belongings

on the train; you won’t be needing them anymore.

In The Press

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Arts Council England