A poem by SIMRAN DIVATIA. I stand, firm believer In the concept of self love, A hypocrite. A fraud, Cannot help But compare myself, To ‘prettier’ girls With skinnier waists And smaller thighs, I think we are all full Of positive advice, Until we’re talking To our reflections, And can’t meet our own eyes. Featured image by Flood G, source: Flickr. 

Hypocrite

A poem by CLAUDIO CAMBRA. noise Iʼm used to it. they said, I said, this is how it is. all this noise and everyoneʼs listening. everyoneʼs looking. talk to the ceiling but quietly, the keyholeʼs watching. somewhere out there the keyʼs going to come kill me. twenty thousand seatbelt threads ready to rip and throw me through the windshield and everyoneʼll hear me die. scratches on the wall I hear the nails scraping on the wall counting the times I breathe waiting for the last one to pass. shapeless faces staring through the frosted windows. listening through the blindfolds as I try to sleep. they tell me theyʼre coming. through the vents and through the windows. all I tell them is the same: Iʼm used to it. Featured image courtesy of Claudio Cambra Gomez

Schizophrenic

DIANA MOLDOVEANU explores conflicting voices in Sylvia Plath’s poem ‘A Mad Girl’s Love Song’. Sylvia Plath remains one of the most prolific poets in American literature, renowned for her lyrical genius as well as her tormented adolescence and an even more unsettling adulthood. Like any other art, poetry can be a cathartic tool in the process of self-understanding, and Plath uses it to explore her own internal suffering. ‘A Mad Girl’s Love Song’, written in 1951 and following her semi-autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, discusses the muddling of Plath’s often painful experiences of love and mental health issues. While the novel focuses on the degradation of the protagonist’s mental state, the poem comes as the quintessential expression of the interior predicament, focusing on a young girl’s experience of the first thrills of love. Torn between reality and disillusionment at the loss of her lover, her initial passion unfolds as a traumatic…Continue Reading

Love’s Madness

A poem by A. M. SMYTHE. No one sleeps in this city, no one, no one sleeps, not tonight. Tonight we’ll listen to Zarathustra and read the new Bible. Tonight we’ll walk through the streets of the Old City, though the streets, the twisting, turning, winding, weaving streets, and unlink all the hands that are linked because sleeplessness is found in solitude. Tonight we’ll kick everyone out of our beds and leave them sat on their luggage in Sants Station like tourists without a map, robbed of all identification in the Ramblas, the bars or the beach. We’ll call them Morpheus and refuse to slumber under warm Christmas lights and Coca-Cola Santa Claus, under shiny new blinking iPhones and bottomless beer bottles. This night we’ll celebrate Samhain instead of Halloween and wish the mainstream media happy Hanukkah because our name is not Palinurus any longer and we drowned all the…Continue Reading

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

SAYEH YOUSEFI reviews an event at the British Library delving into Sylvia Plath’s personal letters and the light they shed on her as a writer. Decades after her untimely death, the life and works of Sylvia Plath are regarded as one of the pinnacles of literary curiosity. One of the most acclaimed poets of her generation and a pioneer for women writers, Plath’s personal life is often overshadowed by her grave, her public reputation and her, at times, tragic work. In an effort to gain a greater understanding into the life and thoughts of Plath, editors Karen V. Kukil and Peter K. Steinburg have curated The Letters of Sylvia Plath Volume II: 1956–1963. Published by Faber and Faber, this new volume consists of a collection of letters from the later years of Plath’s life, providing readers and scholars insight into her work and personal life. They give a new look…Continue Reading

Triple-Threat Woman

A poem by XARA ZABIHI DUTTON. (for the boy who goes to the gym after his lecture) His soles step worn pavements, Jumping recognisable cracks Building the palace of the body His soles pad inside the grey obelisk Seeking amber-lit convocation Engineering the palace of the mind One holds a protein shake before his torso The other clutches a leather satchel at his side   Both share a grim demeanor instead of a smile, Lips pinned by unpronounced cases.   Monochromatic concepts strike the lines of his brow Engorge the folds of his eyes,   Yet they are one in inflections which concord: deconstructing Demonstratives by hand Spines exhorted to curvature, by their labour they are hardened. Repeated patterns wear paths into trenches, Intensity transmutes into dogma. Seeking to establish a stable identity, They sacrifice their porousness; calcify. As brittle as they are dog-eared, They close in on themselves, Drawing…Continue Reading

How Old English Works

A poem by SOPHIA WALLS. I stumbled then fell, the water’s surface a door closing everything behind me. I banged, pulled, slammed, thudded, dialling numbers, numbers, numbers. But the surface was fading away. Answer, answer, answer, answer, please. Hannah, Amanda, Peter, Fred. Who would answer? Someone get me out of here, get me out: Drown out these voices drowning out me. Who will accept me into the world above? Bring me back to the surface? Who? Who? Who? Let me out. Beeps and ‘’sorry your call is not available right now’’. Why should anyone answer my desperate cries for acceptance when these worlds of mine, will not? Name after name and number and loud speaker and red, unhopeful hang-ups, glaring all the hope out of me. Where was my existence? Where the was it? Get me out of here so I can find it amidst the long, long chats, the…Continue Reading

Mute

A poem by Iago Vendrell Kudos! Now it seems we have fulfilled our Technological dreams: a bright future Wrapped in plastic debree & drifting Along the sea. Does our madness See, hear, smell, feel or taste?   What a waste!   Right now, there it is… Guess what we’ve achieved With our lovely fast food dreams And this ‘superior’ human decency? Plastic sea doesn’t feel like paradise to me.       This content is published to coincide with UCL Climate Action Society’s flagship event The Sustainability Symposium. The Sustainability Symposium is taking place on 16 November 2018.  Featured image source: Real Salt. 

Toxic Dreams

FATIMA JAFAR reviews the poetry of Sandra Brown Springer and Remi-Lyn Brown, performed in an event celebrating black queer womanhood. DISRUPTION, an event marking the end of this year’s Black History Month, was held on campus last week. UCL library assistant and poet Sandra Brown Springer, and her daughter Remi-Lyn Brown read their poetry to an audience made up of UCL students, staff, and their close family and friends. Brown is a self-published poet, and part of the creative collective SXWKS, while Springer is doing her Masters degree in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, and is currently working on a short story and poetry anthology. This was the first time they had performed their poetry together, but, as they said, it will definitely not be the last. Their poetry focuses on the navigating of space and identity in today’s society as black women, and coming to terms with their queerness. Both…Continue Reading

DISRUPTION

ALICE NELSON reviews British Library event ‘Leonard Cohen: The Flame’ Leonard Cohen, prolific singer-songwriter, poet and novelist, passed away on the 7th of November 2016.  Nearly two years after his death, the British Library event ‘Leonard Cohen: The Flame’ offered a chance to be surrounded by fellow Leonard lovers, in what felt like long-due and well-needed group therapy for a passing we’d all not really dealt with. Part of the British Library’s Season of Sound, the evening was hosted by Will Gompertz, the BBC’s Arts Editor. It featured readings, music and discussions, celebrating Cohen’s life and works with a focus on The Flame, a recently published posthumous poetry collection that spans Cohen’s literary life. The evening was intimate and often exceptionally moving, underpinned with an omnipresent admiration and affection for Cohen – his work, life, character and soul. Cohen has so much artistic insight and pleasure to offer us, and the…Continue Reading

Leonard Cohen: The Flame

A poem by ANONYMOUS. How many times will I go through Gower Street looking for you again?   In between the trees, And the Quad, And the faceless smiles, of every stranger that locks eyes.   How many times will I miss you again? In the library spot you liked With the panini you always ate Small memories are pointless I know. But they form a bigger picture of something else, something that hurts a little less.   All the places you once were, Are now empty and silent. I don’t know how to deal with it yet,   Your silence.   Our lives are part of other lives. Cobwebs made of cobwebs, Piles of red string tangled together, The best mess was our paths crossing in between it all. Despite it all.   I keep looking for you everywhere. Not in the trees this time, but in the sunny flowers…Continue Reading

Gower Street Missing