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Robert Hampson

Robert Hampson is the author of a number of works including seaport (pushtika, 1995; Shearsman, 2008), an explanation of colours(Veer, 2010) and reworked disasters(KFS, 2014), which was long-listed for the Forward Prize. Stride published Assembled Fugitives: Selected Poems, 1973-1998in 2000. He was Professor of Modern Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London, where he taught with Redell Olsen on the MA in Poetic Practice, and is currently a Research Fellow at the University of London Institute for English Studies.



we have taken control of the airport

though runways & terminals are destroyed

& bridges across the river collapsed

there’s spare capacity in the eastern camps

& with an easement across private lands

the mismanagement of water supplies

provides perfect vectors for infection

how much pain must any person suffer

flash-floods delays & cancellations

the clean power plan the climate action plan

food goes to waste while foodbanks multiply

fashions an index of the nation’s wealth

what we are doing is keeping them safe

with chopsticks to pick bones out of the ash


hit list

a snakecam from the apartment next door

rented unseen under another name

the transmitter inserted down the spine

sucks the information out the airwaves

perhaps an unexpected delivery

an indistinct shape in the hallway

darkness the other side of the door

who knows what passport he had in his pocket

the watchers watch all the stars are aligned

small-calibre semi-automatic

the soft sound like a pat on the head

& always the question: ‘you know why we’re here,

don’t you?’ the professionals double tap


positional asphyxia

sirens wail the tv hangs off the wall

nothing is fixed except the fakery

while our true rights are termed a poet’s rage

& art made tongue-tied by authority

bankers & businessmen fall to their knees

filled by grace of quantitative easing

professors of ethics with dirty hands

click like dislike monetize their eyeballs

mature green assets once were known as trees

we don’t need no education

underfund devalue then privatise

that is the grammar of possession

humanity condensed into a sugar cube

we feed the meter & watch the credits



4 nancy gaffield

whether honey gall vinegar or salt

refined & refined & then again refined

more lasting than Memphis or Babylon

& wherever Roman power extends its sway

not the casual record of the day

the massage parlours & dodgy nail-bars

the bookshop closures & housing market

impacts of peer-to-peer rental sites

not the cry of a particular voice

that claims to harness for its own purpose

the basic power of the universe

& makes itself a motley to the view

these lines hold up what is not written yet

this points this shows this stakes its legal claim



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