This week, we are excited to feature a new poem by Katrina Naomi. Naomi’s poetry has appeared in The TLS, The Spectator, and The Poetry Review. Her second collection, The Way the Crocodile Taught Me (Seren) came out in 2016, following Hooligans (Rack Press), a chapbook of poetry inspired by the Suffragettes. Previous collections include The Girl with the Cactus Handshake (Templar Poetry), which was shortlisted for the London New Writers Award, Charlotte Brönte’s Corset (Brönte Society), and Lunch at the Elephant and Castle (Templar Poetry), which won the Templar Poetry Pamphlet Competition. Katrina holds a PhD in creative writing from Goldsmiths, University of London, is a Hawthornden Fellow, and has received awards from the Royal Literary Fund and Arts Council England. She lives in Cornwall. Her website is www.katrinanaomi.co.uk.
I wrote “At Noongallas” when a group of us were camping at a friend’s parents’ farm in Cornwall, near where I live, and my friend gave birth that night. I’ve never been interested in children but was amazed at how relaxed she and her partner were, drinking beer and lazing about by the campfire, watching shooting stars with the rest of us. Before anyone else was awake, the following morning, I found myself writing a poem inspired by the birth of this child as the starting point. I’ve borrowed the form of the poem from Julia Copus (see her wonderful “specular” poem, “The Backseat of My Mother’s Car”). I don’t usually write about children/childbirth and I don’t usually write in strict forms like this, so the poem has come as quite a surprise.
for Juliette and Alain