Without a dog

Julia Deakin

There's a real linguistic adventurousness here, a refusal to accept the parameters of the 'well made' poem. Julia combines a poetry of place with one of internal landscapes to produce writing greater than the sum of its parts. A difficult feat to pull off, Julia does it beautifully.
- Ian MacMillan

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Julia Deakin was born in Nuneaton and taught at the University of Bradford and is current editor of Pennine Platform poetry magazine. Her work is widely published and she has read on Radio 4's Poetry Please. The Half-Mile-High Club was a Poetry Business competition winner and her first collection, Without a Dog impressed both Anne Stevenson and Simon Armitage. Julia's second collection, Eleven Wonders is also published by Graft Poetry in 2012.

Competition wins include the Yorkshire Open, the Torriano, the LIPPfest and the Elmet.

I read Julia Deakin's book straight through at a single sitting, feeling at home in every one of her poems. She writes with a mature wit and wisdom that suggests that, despite her empathy with those who suffer, she finds life constantly worth celebrating.
- Anne Stevenson


We call them lost, our loved ones, but if they are
just that - lost - wandering among the stars, faint
as our faith in heaven or hell, knowing other fates -

like that recurring dream of being lost in an echo
of a place where nothing's recognised and no one
recognises you, of wandering without a haven,
without welcome, without knowing where you are
except that you were, once, on earth but where is that,
oh mother, father, child, if you are more lost there
than you were here, what then?      What then?

Small dreams of a doormat

I shall do such things... what they are yet I know not
- King Lear

Go on then - don't make eye contact
just walk all over me, I know my place
among the lowest of the low, pushed into doorways
under everything and everyone;
you'd put me right out if you could, except - I have my uses.
Wipe yourself off on me then call me dirty? We shall see.
It's murder here: the wind whistles viciously under the draught excluder
and I bear the brunt of every booted stranger like a scar.

Smutty bastards, lady mucks! I harbour grime:
caked and hardened to a crust its dust becomes me
and my filthy mind. Biding my time, dreaming low-down dreams
of multicoloured silken-tufted flying carpets
morning and evening, from your going out until your coming in
night after night, year after year
I lie here, bristling.

© 2008 Julia Deakin

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