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The Year of Not Dancing

Hours passed languid as the flap of a hawk’s wing
in a last July before the awkward initiations
of fifteen and lifts to far-afield jiving.

He’d work for an uncle, cutting hay, fixing
shingles with bradawls and hot, smoking pitch —
evenings, hung round with fairground hands

till the sideshows lit at eight. Then he’d sidestroke
from the main pier, alone, on a full tide as far
as the bobbing Perpetua, its line of cork floats

with dock and fairground small as a snow-bubble town,
bull-horns carrying Frank Ifield’s When the angels ask
me to recall out across a calm, irredentist blackness.

C.L. Dallat
…from The Year of Not Dancing (Blackstaff Press, 2009)

C.L. Dallat, poet, musician & critic, (b. Ballycastle, Co. Antrim, Ireland) lives in London where he reviews literature & the arts for the TLS & Guardian, has been a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4’s weekly Saturday Review since 1998, & is regular house-musician (piano, bandoneon, mandolin etc) at Coffee-House Poetry’s events in London’s famous Troubadour folk’n’poetry’n’jazz cellar-club ( He won the Strokestown International Poetry Competition, & his latest collection is The Year of Not Dancing (Blackstaff Press, 2009).

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Anne-Marie Fyfe’s fifth poetry collection, House of Small Absences (Seren Books) has just been published. Born in Cushendall, County Antrim, Ireland, Anne-Marie now lives in London where she works as an arts organiser. She has won the Academi Cardiff International Poetry Prize, has run Coffee-House Poetry’s readings & classes at London’s leading live literature venue, the Troubadour, since 1997, founded the prestigious Troubadour International Poetry Prize (, is a poetry co-ordinator for the annual John Hewitt International Summer School in Armagh City, & is a former chair of the UK’s Poetry Society.

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