Party Piece

Winner of the International Poetry Business Competition

What appeals to me most about these poems is their clarity. In a few, often startlingly simple lines, Anna Woodford captures an experience in precise focus.

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Cover design for Party Piece by Anna Woodford Paperback: 26 pages Publisher: Smith/Doorstop (The Poetry Business) Publication date: 1 December 2009 ISBN: 9781906613075

Wood End

was older than home. It was where Dad felt at home. Its cupboards were full of puzzles with missing pieces. It was for ever, for six weeks one summer, when Dad played Mum, and Mum visited at weekends. The rest of the time Dad’s ancient aunties like Dorothy were nearer. Tea was eggs and beans, and beans and eggs and blackberries picked on canal walks blighted by slugs and dark gaps between stepping-stones. The nearby market was hung with rabbits until Mum came on a Saturday when it sold toys and records. Above Wood End, Stoodley Pike perched on a hill like an early god surrounded by sheep and sheep- shit. Its obelisk daggered the air above Dad as he walked towards it, bowed by the enormity of the rucksack like three kids on his shoulders. Sometimes our heads were knocked together. In the evenings we wrote diaries for Dad to look back on when he was stuck at work, and we were quiet during the news. Susan Maxwell was always on telly - her lost face flickered in a far-off corner of Wood End - a girl from up the road, about my age, but dead.