I knew the poem before I learned about the poet. British poet Susan Utting’s work has won many awards, including a Poetry Business Prize for the collection Something Small is Missing. She has won the Berkshire Poetry Prize, was a winner in the Academi Cardiff International and has twice been short listed for the Arvon Poetry Prize. Her second collection, Striptease, was published in 2001 by Smith/Doorstop Books. Her latest collection, Fair’s Fair, was just released last month.Utting runs poetry workshops throughout Britain and has taught poetry and creative writing at Reading University. She is the founder of Reading’s acclaimed Poets’ Café, and is a member of Thin Raft Poets and Late Shift Poetry Ensemble. She has read and performed her poetry at arts venues and festivals including Edinburgh, Stanza at St Andrew’s, Ledbury, and for the Poetry Trust at Aldeburgh 2007.
She is my choice for today, and I’m adding one of her poems below.
Today’s blue’s nothing turquoise, it does not
shift in the light from duck-egg bright to aqua,
it is not a patch of sky to mend a sailor’s trousers
or the uniform of girls let out in crocodiles, on pre-set
routes through Mellor’s Park on Wednesday afternoons.
It’s not indelible on children’s tongues, or carbon
smudged on sweaty palms and touch-type fingertips,
nor is it jazzy/sad mood indigo for something small
you’ll always miss but never really had; today’s blue
is a memory of worsted cloth, tacked long and loose,
worn inside out, marked white with broken lines
of tailor’s chalk. It is a man cross-legged on a table
in a backroom; it is not my father, though he’s there
and with me and would understand the weft and warp,
the mesh of yarn, tight-woven to a blue so dark
you’d call it black; that he’d call midnight.