Chris’s poetry page

I live in London and have travelled widely in Africa, Asia and Europe. I write poetry and my poems have appeared in many magazines including Poetry Review, Stand, the North, The Rialto, Rising, Smith’s Knoll, Tears in the Fence, Acumen, Agenda, The Interpreter’s House, Orbis, the Frogmore Papers, Wasafiri, Pennine Platform, 14; and in anthologies, for example the Forward Prize Anthology and The Isles of Greece, (from Eland in their Poetry of Place series). Some have won prizes in the National Poetry Society’s, London Writers’ and other poetry competitions.

Poems and more information can be found at greatworks.org.uknthposition.compoetrypf.co.uk/chrishardypage.shtmlpeonymoon.wordpress.compoetrylibrary.org.ukink-sweat-and-tears.blogharbor.commorphrog.comsnakeskin.org.uk

My second collection, ‘A Moment Of Attention’, was published by Original Plus Press in 2008. My third collection, ‘Write Me A Few Of Your Lines’ , was published in July 2012, by Graft Poetry, www.graftpoetry.co.uk (see below).

Comments on my second collection, ‘A Moment Of Attention’, (Original Plus):

Chris Hardy’s poetry is by turns restrained and exuberant, suggesting a delight in the power of words .. in this collection he roams far and wide but the unifying quality is the unflinching eye with which he regards his subjects.
(Jeremy Page, The Frogmore Papers).

Chris Hardy writes with a style that is spare, economical, chaste yet capable of images and turns of phrase that strike like a pang because of their truthfulness.
(Nicholas Bielby, Pennine Platform).

Chris Hardy’s poems are grounded in the interconnectedness of people and things and have a vision that veers from the tender to the brutal and blunt.
(David Caddy, Tears In The Fence)

Comments on ‘Write Me A Few Of Your Lines’

CH is the ideal poet as observer. Whether writing about foreign parts or reporting on what could be called the home front, his poems are not those of a distanced, disinterested onlooker. Instead, his gaze, exact and almost painterly is warmed by a regard now tender, now wryly witty, one that’s well served by a keen ear and a sure-footed sense of how to pace a line and indeed a whole poem. ‘Write Me A Few Of Your Lines’ is an intensely enjoyable collection.
(Prof. John Lucas, Shoestring Press).

Chris Hardy does a good line in titles, as often as not providing a tantalisingly ironic hint at what is to follow.  And, in this substantial collection, what follows proves to be extraordinarily varied, though the poet’s voice is a measured, consistent one.  There are poems in which a sense of place is seemingly effortlessly evoked, often through recourse to tiny, telling details.  Others reflect on experience gained over the years, offering insight and sometimes wisdom.
(Jeremy Page, The Frogmore Papers).

I found wonders in many of Hardy’s easily read lines. He allows his gift for observation to flow naturally in short lines and unrhymed stanzas. I like his way of giving the world he’s experienced a lasting life in words, and his humanity is in evidence in poems like ‘No Boots In The Hall’ and  in the title poem, which in a few poignant stanzas charts the rise and fall of a song-writer.
(Anne Stevenson).

MUSIC

I have made a CD of my acoustic guitar music, ‘Health To Your Hands’, http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/chrishardy which has been well reviewed:

Comments on ‘Health To Your Hands’

Listening to this collection of 18 tracks you can easily imagine his name being mentioned in the same sentence as John Renbourn or Eric Anderson .. well worth checking out,
(Guitar Magazine, September 2008).

The playing slides into a mellow groove .. a good one to unwind with,
(RocknReel, October 2008).

The picking is glorious and the songwriting excellent,
(Acoustic magazine October 08).

Stamp on his hands before he gets any better,
(John Renbourn 1968).

LINKS

greatworks.org.uk
nthposition.com
poetrypf.co.uk/chrishardypage.shtml
peonymoon.wordpress.com
poetrylibrary.org.uk
ink-sweat-and-tears.blogharbor.com
morphrog.com
snakeskin.org.uk
www.graftpoetry.co.uk

Write Me A Few Of Your Lines

Published July 2012, by GRAFT POETRY,
ISBN 978-0-9558400-4-3
£7.95
www.graftpoetry.co.uk

Nicholas Bielby, Editor, GRAFT POETRY,
FRIZINGLEY HALL, FRIZINGHALL ROAD,
BRADFORD, BD94LD.

SOME POEMS…

 

MAP READING

We got lost by the harbour.
The directions were wrong
but we followed them anyway.

The sacred way runs along the shore,
at dusk hulks lean in the rocks,
gas plumes burn from iron heads.

Behind us the moon steps left
or hides between towers lit
like upright dominoes.

Though the map says something must appear
the dials say something must run out.
We cross an upland plane in half a night

and stop before a wall of shining glass.
Inside four men sit before a screen
watching their side lose.

One sings loudly into another’s ear
as if insisting on a point
or inviting a blow.

From our room the castle on the peak
glows in the moonlight.
For years the Franks made it their home,

where they kept their water to themselves.
We have a brief option on this space,
our names are in the book,

bolts slide in the dark,
we know why we are here,
our map is on the table.

IN HER ELEMENT

He shows me
a black and white scan,
a tadpole skeleton

in a bowl of bone,
like Nelson in his eau-de-vie
but flickering restlessly,

as mosquito larvae do
trying to reach the surface,
I did not tell him

your future is chromatic.
No one saw my daughter
until she was evicted

and lay there panting,
a wet blue
fish out of water.

Now she is
at home in the air,
safe for the present

from fire and earth,
enlisted in
the ranks of breath.

HIS OTHER HALF

As we drove towards
the crater and
volcano she explained

that if the driver,
next to her, had not
got a ring on her finger

before he left
for Normandy
she’d have married some

other man, maybe
a Destroyer captain
who she met.

So I’d have never
been born
or only half of me

perhaps and that half
not knowing where
his other half was,

and all the while
my father held the wheel
and steered us

safely north.
I could not see
his face

from the rear seat
as he looked ahead
into the past.

WRITE ME A FEW OF YOUR LINES

English singer Shirley Collins and American folklorist Alan Lomax ‘discover’ delta-blues musician ‘Mississippi’ Fred McDowell, September 1959, Como, Mississippi.

Holding a tractor straight
between the cotton rows
gave you that tireless
51 Highway grip.
As your foot tapped the brake
and you looked across the fields
to the horizon
an endless beat
gathered in your hands.

When you walked from the trees
one evening in your work clothes
carrying a guitar by the neck
like a goose,
sat down on the stoop
and began playing
shimmering metallic
heart stopping,
the glass on the left hand
riding the right hand’s motor,
your voice an old door
opening

Lord when you get home babe
sit down and write me
a few of your lines

she heard
what we can all hear
if we listen, the sound
of the world rolling.

Writing later she regrets
you died before your time
and wonders if she was to blame,
thinking of your few years
of acclaim, after fifty
unheard summers
in the back country,
and the silver lamé suit
the Glimmer Twins gave
that now you’re wearing
in the grave.

DOUBLE CROSSING TIME

Summer 1966,
I was taking cash for deckchairs
on the beach.

Annie
came to see me
in loose blue shorts,

carried my satchel,
helped me
flip the deckchairs shut,

stack them,
wrap the chain and
close the padlock.

Later
pulling me to her
against the side of a shed

facing away
from her mother’s
kitchen window,

or on her straight
and narrow bed
with her boots still on

and the house
outside the door
silent.

Her boyfriend learned to play
Double Crossing Time,
copied Slowhand’s haircut too,

and dived from a window
onto railings
thinking he could fly.

None of us read saw heard
spoke cared
about the other game.

                                      Double Crossing Time – John Mayall’s BluesBreakers – 1966