Top Menu

Narrative Poetry – Adam Foulds , The Broken Word

I have just spent 12 days in Italy, and I immersed myself in narrative poetry – there was one that made me question why they or their publisher had decided to describe it as poetry, albeit prose poetry and it made me wonder…. I have listened to radio discussions, read books – all discussing what is poetry? what is narrative poetry? and I guess my conclusion is very personal to me, and you will have your own opinions. And my conclusions are likely to change

What I do recognise is when a book speaks to me. And The Broken Word by Adam Foulds is definitely in this category. The description in the book… “Set in the 1950’s, The Broken Word is an extraordinary poetic sequence that animates and illuminates a dark, terrifying period in British colonial history.”… doesn’t sound like my cup of tea…. but oh…..

from DINNER (1):


Frank was dead and he was very tired.

Frank was dead, dishevelled in his chair,

one ear falling away,

nose tip and lower lip gone,

dress shirt dyed plum.


Even through the thumps and flashes

of his own attack Charles had heard

with peculiarly greater concern

the chit chit of panga blades

into Frank’s back

before the servants had retreated.


Frank was dead and Charles was exhausted.

He’d crawled up all the stairs,

the slow, successive risers,

gripping their tops,

pushing them down.

the last few almost too tall to scale,

to get to the shotgun under the bed.


It felt as if his fringe kept coming loose

but it was wide drips of blood

that fell everywhere. His hands

were syrupy with it,

also the two pieces of gun

that wouldn’t shut together.

That catch… he couldn’t:

it needed a fingertip that was gone.

, , ,

Comments are closed.