Jay Barnard's Urban Poetry

Jay Barnard
Jay Barnard's poems are often set against an urban backdrop, and in ‘Migration’ she imagines London’s tube system as a human body – “The tunnels were arterial,/ the intermittent lamps like a spinal constellation/ and each station was a throbbing heart” – and its buildings linked to human history, as in “the blank menace of so many windows,/ imagine the fear of the first people huddled, haunted/ one hundred, thousand years ago.”

Who is she

Jay Bernard was born in London in 1988. She was a winner of the Poetry Society’s Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award in 2005, and of the Respect Slam in 2004. Her poetry has appeared in Poetry London, Chroma, The Guardian, The Independent, and in several anthologies. The Guardian named Bernard as one of the UK’s most inspirational 16-year-olds in 2004. Her first collection of poems, Your Sign is Cuckoo, Girl (tall-lighthouse) was published in 2008 and was selected as the Poetry Book Society’s pamphlet choice.

She authored two poetry books, English Breakfast and Your Sign is Cuckoo, Girl.

Read more at www.poetryinternationalweb.net


Tuesday Morning
I wake earlier than usual,
    startled suddenly from dreamless sleep.
       One eye opens. Wet cheek. Crook neck.

Damp sheets tangled round my feet.
    Except, I do not turn and stretch, yawn,
       as when I wake into full dawn –

air-blue, crystal June mornings
    when the room is webbed as though
       I’d slept in a milk-grey fog now rising;

Read the full poem here