Claire Trévien

© Sophie Davidson

the poet

Claire Trévien is a Breton-British writer currently living in Brittany, France. The author of The Shipwrecked House and Astéronymes (both from Penned in the Margins), she has most recently published her pamphlet Brain Fugue with Verve Poetry Press. Claire founded Sabotage Reviews, and now co-runs the unique Verse Kraken writing retreats in Brittany.

  • Website
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

the poems

Daytime Drinking Brain

00:00 / 01:17

I hope it doesn’t end up

in one of your poems,
he says.
Give me a coaster
and I will create   
strange confetti, a dagger.
Rape is so cliché.
Oh I had a bad experience
and now it fills all my words

with paralysis and smoke

and the trauma of it
Yes, I agree, quite enough

already from other …
The pub is intricate like
a chocolate box – and
just as lacquered
and you came back
wrong.

[end]
[your poems]
[he says]
[give me]
[I will create]    
[a dagger]
[so cliché]
[experience]
[my words]
[smoke]
[of it]
[quite enough]
[from others]
[like]
[a box]
[lacking]
[and]
[wrong]

That was the summer that slates

fell off my body like dandruff

00:00 / 01:59

every brick of me dismantled and scattered, I found my arm in the roof of a church. The neighbours collected my fingernails and brought them to me in a glass jar “for when the time is right”. That summer exploded my insides out, was I the city? I felt myself in every street, but nowhere either. My blood was draining down the pavements with the rain. Each bullet in the wall echoed back into my skin. I poked my bones. All of us haunted down the streets looking for our missing limbs. The weather grew so angry with us, we started spitting hail. Every Tuesday to the market, we gull-gathered from stall to stall. It was a miracle the way our legs could carry us from place to place. Our wings clipped and useless. We opened our mouth to speak and only rain came out, dull, grey, roof-like. We are forgetting the names of colours, the way they used to bubble out of our bodies and wriggle through the windows. Our footprints leave ash if anything at all. We must press ourselves into the very walls, hide our feathers from them. A flash of red and all is lost. There is still so much to lose.

Sick or Sad?

00:00 / 01:27

Since we cannot speak of the landscape of the crowd,
             how it turns from hot to cold in a blink, 
             drains my veins dry, makes my body a ghost of itself, 
you ask me if my absence was due to being ‘sick or sad’?

I use the euphemism ‘not well’ to blanket over the trees, 
             the hills, the path that stops being a path, the carpet 
             of burned leaves catching the wheels of trains, 
the snow duvet that protects the flowers, or kills them 
             (I can never remember which it is).


My sadness is sick, my sickness is sad. 
             My sadness has been unplugged from triggers 
             you could relate to and lives in a different city now. 
             My sickness is so connected to my sadness that I cannot 
             tell you which is the chicken, which is the egg.

Here is an ankle sprained after it gave 
way on a flat surface like plastic lit by a lighter.
See how it sent my sadness flying and cracked its screen.
             Here is my stomach full of rams fighting about fleeing.

Publishing credits

Daytime Drinking Brain / Sick or Sad?: Brain Fugue

  (Verve Poetry Press)

That was the summer that slates fell off my body

  like dandruff: exclusive first publication by iamb

© original authors 2020

inspired by

Poetry Archive.png