Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2021: My Magical Career

One summer I taught myself magic from a book I bought at the school bazaar, spending the long days dropping cards and coins as

my fingers slowly learned the shapes of tricks that looked easy on TV.  By the time September came I could slip the ace of spades into

a sealed envelope without touching the pack, draw flowers from my loose fists, and swallow sixpences and pull them out of

classmates’ ears. With sleight of hand I could summon friends and Christmas invitations out of nowhere and, when the day came, pull

white rabbits from party hats then make them disappear. Back in school, I’d levitate, displaying my empty palms to all as unbelieving

teachers swished bamboo canes through the air beneath me. That spring I sawed my best friend’s sister in half, them when summer

came again, I gave away my books, taught myself to drive, and learned to speak in tongues.


Poem recorded as part of Poetry Archive Now: Wordview 2021. Used by permission of author.

Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2021 Winners

Poetry Archive Now! was established in 2020 to enable us to gather recordings from a much wider pool of talented poets from the UK and ...

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Oz Hardwick

I'm a poet living in York, who leads the postgraduate Creative Writing Programmes at Leeds Trinity University. My tenth poetry collection, A Census of Preconceptions, will be published by SurVision Books in 2021. I originally trained as a photographer and I'm passionate about music, and I think both of these enthusiasms come through in my writing. In a perfect world, I'd probably be bass guitarist in a Belgian space rock band.


A special thank you to our WordView 2021 poets.

Chair of the Judging Panel, Imtiaz Dharker, says: "An idea that began as a response to the world shutting down has, joyfully, become a way to invite the whole world in. It has been exciting to see the entries come in from different countries, from marginalised voices, from people of all backgrounds who now know this space belongs to them. My fellow judges and I were struck by the immediacy of experience and commitment to language in the winning entries. It's also good to think that the rest of the entries will continue to be seen as an invaluable record of our times."

See the collectionWatch the full Wordview 2021 playlist