Wordview 2022: In Copenhagen

“Do you see me?” Adie asks me, 

“because no one else does.” 

We exist only for each other, 

Syria to Italy to Denmark, where 

we can never get warm enough 

in our semi-heated rooms—sink, 

shared toilet in the hallway, 

meals an extra 500 kroner a week. 

 

Soon I will be fish-belly white 

like my grandfather in Damascus, who 

became thinner and paler until 

his lips were cracks, his skin icy, 

his scalp hairless, and his wrists 

like a gull’s broken wings. 

 

I had your picture in my wallet, 

Fatim. Seeing it reminded me 

of our old life, but they took it 

in Lampedusa. I begged them: 

“Keep the money. Just give me 

the photos of my family.” 

 

One day I will return to that place 

and find what they took. 

There was no need: 

we had already lost so much. 

Jamal didn’t make the crossing. 

Soaked with seawater and gasoline 

his skin peeled off, his screams 

nearly as loud as the planes 

bringing tourists to the beach. 

Wordview 2022 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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Lisa Mulleneaux

Lisa Mullenneaux is a poet, translator, and professor of writing for the University of Maryland. She is the author of the critical study Naples’ Little Women: The Fiction of Elena Ferrante and lives in Manhattan.

Glossary

A special thank you to our WordView 2021 poets.

Chair of the Judging Panel, Joelle Taylor, says: "We were thrilled by the range and scope of the poetry and techniques explored throughout the wide submissions. I have said before that to write a poem is an act of resistance but to then perform it as well is a revolution. It takes a bravery to face the page, and a further one to stand by your words. While we’ve all become more used to filming ourselves over the pandemic, all of us were deeply aware of that courage.

Often when on a judging panel we find ourselves faced with impossible decisions. If you can imagine, after sifting, it’s as though a hundred people have crossed the finish line at precisely the same moment but there are only three medals. How do we come to these decisions? Through the objective unpicking of the poems, through our individual passions, through a consideration of narratives, especially those lesser heard. We come to it through uneasy negotiation and through heart, and above all through our shared love and understanding of the possibilities of poetry.

Our honest applause goes to all who submitted, and I hope you can hear it.

Congratulations to those we selected. We hope to see you all again soon."

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