Poet of Honour: Fiona Sampson


Fiona Sampson

March Lapwings




Now everything
begins to move
and everything stays
where it is
each ash tree
and each hummock
shifts against
itself even
the grass shifts
and the electric
lapwings cry
change change
because the common
melts and flows
even the earth
flows like thawing
ice how lost
the senses are
in this disturbance
here it comes
again the new
electric cry
change change
as it moves past us

This poem is from Come Down (Corsair), published during lockdown

Fiona Sampson is a leading British poet and writer. Published in thirty-seven languages, she’s received international awards in the US, India, Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Fellow of the English Association and Fellow of the Wordsworth Trust, she’s received an MBE from the Queen For Services to Literature and published twenty-seven books. National prizes include the Newdigate Prize, Cholmondeley Prize, Hawthornden Fellowship, and numerous awards from the Arts Councils of England and of Wales, Society of Authors, Poetry Book Society and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Her works are frequently selected by national periodicals as Book of the Year. She’s also a broadcaster and newspaper critic, librettist and literary translator, and was editor of Poetry Review 2005-12. Her biography In Search of Mary Shelley was internationally critically acclaimed and shortlisted for the Biographers Club Slightly Foxed Prize. She recently received two major European prizes, the 2019 Naim Frashëri Laureateship of Albania and Macedonia, and the 2020 European Lyric Atlas Prize, Bosnia. She holds the Chair of Poetry at Roehampton University, and recently completed a new biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Lapwing Image:“RSPB Buckenham Marshes” by PaulR1800 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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