‘Pirkei Avot’ by Zohar Atkins

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EVENT: We’re celebrating Carcanet’s New Poetries VII with a reunion event at the Bookshop on Tuesday 18 June, featuring poets Zohar Atkins, Rowland Bagnall, Isabel Galleymore, Lisa Kelly and Phoebe Power. Book tickets here. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be featuring a poem from the collection by each of the poets who’ll be reading – check back regularly for the next one.

‘Pirkei Avot’ by Zohar Atkins

My father used to say:

Reader and writer are like two fugitives
Examining the shade of an egg.

But my mother would always counter, an olive.

Now, my children taunt me:

For what did they examine?
A place to rest? A secret measure?

The ward in which they question me
Becomes a palace I can almost see.

I strain towards the meagre light
In search of something to say.

Look! The light is the size of an egg!
No, they reply. An olive!

New Poetries VII’ is published by Carcanet, price £14.99. Zohar Atkins, Rowland Bagnall, Isabel Galleymore, Lisa Kelly and Phoebe Power will be reading from the collection at the Bookshop on Tuesday 18 June. Book tickets here.

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