Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2020: The Lie

Once, I had a name as smooth and clear

as all the streams of Poland; it poured through ears

like melting snow; but over here


it warped to ugly consonants

which clattered off your tongues

like Scrabble tiles.


In the local coffee shop last week,

baristas pounded on their war drums

bashing out the grit of coffee grounds.


What name? said the Recording Angel at the counter,

poised with a tattered ballpoint and plastic cup;

the queue behind me snorted in frustration.


I stared straight through my spectacles and hers

into brown eyes. Jim, I said, biting

a suddenly unwieldy tongue.

Recording provided as part of Poetry Archive Now: Wordview 2020. Used by permission of the author.

Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2020 Winners

Welcome to the Poetry Archive Now! WordView 2020 Collection. For the first time the Archive opened its doors wide to poets from around ...

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Nairn Kennedy

Nairn Kennedy is a Leeds-based poet whose work has appeared in Ambit, Orbis, Ink, Sweat & Tears and The North. He's been a prize-winner in the Ilkley Litfest Competition and has also been longlisted in the National Poetry Competition.


A special thank you to our WordView 2020 poets.

Chair of the Judging Panel, Imtiaz Dharker, says: “The hundreds of entries we received blew in to the Archive like a breath of pure, unpolluted air from all over the world, revealing something of the time we are living in, some telling it straight, some slant. It was exciting to check in to the Poetry Archive’s Youtube channel every morning and come upon one unexpected voice after another."

See the collectionWatch the full Wordview 2020 playlist