Wordview 2022: In Spite
by Julia Deakin
On the first walk after the invasion of Ukraine, the landscape I had got to know and love even more during Lockdown, suddenly looked more vulnerable: overlaid with images of devastation. In the face of tyrants the foundations of peace in Europe, established at the Treaty of Versailles, are as fragile as the products of civilisation... as illusory as mirrors.
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Wordview 2022: In Spite
In spite of spring, in spite of myself
I keep seeing through crosshairs:
blowing the roof off my home, off yours,
smithereening the given and taken-for-granted
furniture of this land. Learning the language,
terms that passed under my radar, I process
the landmarks within striking distance:
Horbury’s spire, Wakefield’s town hall
and twelve-storey flesh-coloured flats,
Barnsley’s ghost-white hospital and all
West Yorkshire’s saw-topped sprawl
as infrastructure, hideouts, flashpoints,
contested strongholds wasted, razed.
Restless in the small hours, I shatter
each stately pleasure dome: St Pancras,
St Paul’s, the Paris Opera, to stumble
through Europe’s bones: Versailles smoke
and rubble, bare feet crunching those mirrors.
Poem recorded as part of Poetry Archive Now: Wordview 2022. Used by permission of author.
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."See the collectionWatch the full Wordview 2022 playlist