The poetry of Angela M. Carter

Part of the joy of writing is reading and so I wanted to share a few poems that I enjoyed reading from American poet, Angela M. Carter.

Angela was born and raised in a tiny farming town in Virginia, she had a five year spell in the UK and she is now living with her husband, daughters and dogs back in Virginia.

Her full-length poetry memoir, Memory Chose a Woman’s Body (Unbound CONTENT) has been published today (31 May) – so big congratulations to Angela and I’m sure we’ll see her performing in the UK some day soon!

I like these two pieces because I found Angela’s voice to be one of strength, and I admire that quality in her as a writer, and a person. I believe that poetry should be powerful and though some take powerful to mean confrontational, Angela presents a more honest and rational front in this work, encouraging people to face up to what makes them uncomfortable.

Thanks For Not Understanding

If it ever happens to you
(which I hope it does not)
you will look at me differently.
You’ll swallow your own salty tears out of a foggy glass;
the mirror will reflect two eyes, prematurely dead.
At night, the sheets will feel too close,
so intimate that you believe the fabric is trying to choke you.
You’ll call me, recognizing my reflection in your own–
you’ll ask
how’d I handle the pitiful stares
from even the neighborhood dog.
If it ever happens to you
(which I pray it never does)
you will need patience that even religion cannot give.
You will need to remember to groom your nails,
and brush your teeth twice a day in case you decide to smile.
Each day will be a year, dragging you behind the miles of each minute,
uncaring and deaf to your pain’s moans,
you giving blank stares to your own injured body.
But these things you may never understand
(and I hope that is always the case).
I used to want someone to understand me
(and now I only wish that no one ever does).

Hotel Song

Friday afternoon
we’d wait, noses to hot window pane
for the clicks and dust of mama’s car
to disturb the driveway.
Hurry up before it overheats.
Hurry up because if I turn it off
I can’t turn it back on.
Our weekend homes
had bibles in the drawer;
some I read, and many that I
used as ashtrays.
Sometimes we’d buy a pool for the night
the blue water was our summer beach trip–
we’d dance underwater like we belonged;
like we more alive when nearly drowning.
One night as I left a pool
bathing suit still on,
a man offered me $250 to go back to his room.
I ran away like the hunted, and screamed all the way back to safety.
When I arrived back to the room it dawned on me that
it didn’t matter how many monsters I ran from:
When I’m breathing, I carry the scent of prey.

You can find out more about Angel M. Carter on her website and you can get her book online now.




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