'Damp' by Andrew McMillan

'Damp' by Andrew McMillan

Here is an unseen poem from Andrew McMillan. Andrew was the first poet to win the Guardian first book award with his intimate collection of poems 'Physical'. His poetry assesses the state of modern masculinity.

Talking to us about writers that inspire him, Andrew said: “Thom Gunn was the poet I first fell in love with, but aside from him, Sharon Olds, Mark Doty, Geoff Hattersley- the list could be endless. Robin Robertson was a phenomenal editor for the book and he made my flabby, rambling manuscript much tighter and more direct, and much much better. New poets, get ready for when Seán Hewitt and Mark Pajak have their first collections (Mark has a pamphlet coming out later this year I think), they seem to me to be two very exciting poets. I just finished reading a new collection of short stories by Danielle McLaughlin, 'Dinosaurs on Other Planets' which I thought was stunning.

“Allen Ginsberg was one of the first poets I read and HOWL in particular had a huge effect on me, which I think it can do when you read it at a certain age, when you're a young man. I like Ginsberg's quieter stuff too, that gorgeous short poem called 'Message' for example. And Kenneth Patchen too,  who I think is often forgotten or overlooked- he seems to me to be quite beautiful, and his love poems get away with moments of high poetry and language that I didn't think would be possible.”

 

damp

 

the day you left for good I let you fall

onto the quilt made you keep the football

shirt on started where the hem rode up

from the boxer rim and drew my wet tongue

up from the sponsor to the crest up past

the logo of the kit designer

to your armpit where the smell like wet leaves

drew me in deeper and the musk and hair

seemed like all of the mulched world

half hidden by the cuff of the sleeve

and the tongue never quite getting in

and the rain impatient at the window

and your eyes never quite wanting to meet mine

 

Andrew peforms at Bluecoat tonight. 

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