Bearing in mind that Denmark and Scotland are the locations for two of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies, what could be more appropriate than asking Lady Macbeth to give today’s team talk?
‘I have given suck,’ she explains, threatening the Shakespearean equivalent of the hairdryer treatment, ‘and know/How tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me…
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have pluck’d my nipple from his boneless gums
And dash’d the brains out, had I so sworn as you
Have done to this.
… screw your courage to the sticking-place,
And we’ll not fail.’
Thanks for that, Lady MacB. With those fury-flecked words of inspiration still echoing from the dressing room walls, it’s time to meet today’s Poetry World Cup contenders.
Representing Denmark are the ‘words, words, words’ of Amalie Smith, a writer and visual artist who made her literary debut with ‘The next 5000 days’ (Gyldendal, 2010), a hybrid text which brings together prose, poetry and photography. A second collection, ‘I CIVIL’, is currently being translated into English by Paul Russell Garrett.
Ryan Van Winkle comes from Connecticut, but has been based in Edinburgh for over a decade and represents Scotland in our world cup. He is currently Poet-in-Residence at Edinburgh City Libraries, and he records a weekly podcast for the Scottish Poetry Library. The Glasgow Review has described his poetry as being ‘at the forefront of a shift to something new, it is on the way to a perfection of some new movement.’
April is the loveliest Now it’s light out, before I wake I experience it as overexposed ~ Amalie Smith, trans. Paul Russell Garrett Wait, Listen, If If you are reading this
of the 48 months,
we’ve known each other
I wake up when the sun appears
from behind the house
as if it had slept in a box…
I hope you are going slow,
that the gulls have clasped
their constant beaks. If
the roads are icy, test
the brakes when you are alone
see if you slide. Leave
the fools and cowboys
to their wreckage
April is the loveliest
Now it’s light out, before I wake
I experience it as overexposed
~ Amalie Smith, trans. Paul Russell Garrett
Wait, Listen, If
If you are reading this
~ Ryan Van Winkle
RESULT: Scotland won by 9 votes
Editor’s note: If, for any reason, you’re unable to vote in the poll, please leave the name of the poem/country you’d like to vote for in the comments.