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Samuel Tongue: a poem

A poem is like a hedgehog

After Jacques Derrida’s essay "Che cos'è la poesia?"

because it sashays across the road under its thatch of spikes,

burbling fearlessly with the wet tarmac's suck. A poem disappearing

into its soft animal pleasure, quilling through the sluggardly bushes

knowing one important thing: itself. Glorious occasional

binmen warbling like the first big-eyed blackbird and the poem curls into itself,

self-anointed under the blue ceanothus bush. It makes a home

inside its rolled toilet-brush of rose petal and chewed roots, its quiver

of arrows slung across its chest. A poem will sleep through its abandonment.

Samuel Tongue is a widely-published poet with a debut collection, Sacrifice Zones (Red Squirrel 2020), and two pamphlet collections: Stitch (Tapsalteerie, 2018) and Hauling-Out (Eyewear, 2016). A selection of poems is to be published in an Ukrainian translation by KROK in 2021. His work has been featured in journals and newspapers including And Other Poems, Butcher’s Dog, Blackbox Manifold, Envoi, Finished Creatures, Magma, Northwords Now, Gutter, The Herald, The Interpreter’s House, The Scotsman, The Compass and the anthologies Be The First to Like This: New Scottish Poetry (Vagabond Voices) and 100 Poems to Save the Earth (Seren). He is former poetry editor at The Glasgow Review of Books and works as project coordinator at the Scottish Poetry Library.


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