Poems by Valerie Laws
Valerie Laws, infamous for attracting Arts Council funding to spray-paint poetry on sheep, is always keen to break down the boundaries of science, art, literature, such as with her commissioned computer-controlled electroluminescent poems on St Thomas’ Hospital windows. In 2006 she won the Northern Writer’s Award for current project, forensic / pathology poetry collaborating with artist Susan Aldworth. She is the 2006 Ilkley Literature Festival Poet in Residence. Her previous collections are: Moonbathing (Peterloo Poets, 2003), For Crying Out Loud (with Kitty Fitzgerald, Iron, 1994), Star Trek – the Poems (ed/ compiled, Iron, 2000), & Hadaway (Iron, 2003), one of her six commissioned / performed plays. She won the Northern Promise Award for first crime novel, The Rotting Spot. She is a disabled mathematician, creative writing tutor, and a fanatical swimmer.
‘The poem “I didn’t want to do it” is just right – no quibbles possible. You’ve made me see Hadrian’s Wall in a new way, and that’s what poetry does.’
U.A. Fanthorpe on ‘I didn’t want to do it’ in Moonbathing
‘Well shaped poems with rich imagery . . . wrily funny . . . vulnerability and readiness to express emotions. If the job of the poet is to keep the reader intelligently entertained, this book succeeds admirably.’
‘This train has a no smoking policy. In addition,
Coach C has been allocated as a quiet coach, in which
Mobil phones and personal stereos are not allowed.
Passengers who suck their fingers, one by one,
With noisy and overtly sexual relish
After eating crisps
Are asked to use Coach E; while those travelling
With bright, overstimulated children talking
Particle physics in piercing high pitched voices,
Are advised Coach H is designated for their use.
Coach I is for passengers who ingest
Their own bodies, viz. cuticles, fingernails, nose linings,
Spleens etc. May I remind such passengers the buffet
Is open for the sale of hot snacks and beverages,
Marginally more nutritious and vastly more profitable.
Obese passengers intending to wobble or sweat
Are asked to use Coaches J and K, and further,
To refrain from blocking the aisles. All window seats
Are reserved for passengers who will be noticing
The late sun igniting the hawthorn berries, silvering
The rose bay willow herb seed fluff, and turning to amber
The occasional basking fox. Thank you.’
Price £7.95 per copy
Cover Illustration: Peter Kinley, Four Sheep, 1970 © TATE, LONDON 2006
Publication NOVEMBER 2006 (laminated paperback).