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Emily Cotterill



the poet

Emily Cotterill is a Cardiff-based poet originally from Alfreton in Derbyshire. Her pamphlet The Day of the Flying Ants was part of Carol Ann Duffy’s Laurate’s Choice selection. Emily has been published in a variety of print and online publications, including Poetry Wales, The North and The Waxed Lemon. She's currently working on a first full collection about celebrity, storytelling and pop culture.

the poems


00:00 / 01:12

                        I have loved coal,

                        like a teenage girl loves an older guitarist

                        with a rough black smudge of eyeliner.

                        I have built my life on it,

                        screamed down decades for it,

                        COAL NOT DOLE – bared my soul for it,

                        but old women gossip about the pit.

                        I know the world has had enough of it.

                        Coal – with its head full of history,

                        strong arms, filthy engines, heavy,

                        the small town sex of it.

                        Broken bodies, white knuckle wives,

                        the silence of canaries – has risen

                        from slag heaps and pit heads to thick air

                        spluttering into anyone born

                        late with an old miner's lungs.

                        I have loved coal but recently,

                        when I sit in the fresh place built

                        on the scar of my grandfather’s pit,

                        I have loved birdsong, greenspace,

                        the safety and hope of it –

                        wind turbines, rising white beacons,

                        sharp armed, slicing clean paths

                        to a future.

The Greatest Punk Album
In The World Ever (Disc 2)

00:00 / 00:44

                        I am consciously, consciously

                        picking up women: to carry

                        in my pockets, to throw at

                        rough walls in moments

                        when something might make

                        them stick. I have lined my

                        back teeth with Viv Albertine,

                        replaced my extremities

                        with Patti Smith. I have built

                        a soft curve around a sad razor,

                        there’s blood in my mouth

                        that’s familiar. I do the things

                        men do, just better. I have

                        swapped my memories for the

                        future, but when I whimper,

                        hear Debbie Harry scream.

The Cheeseburger
Love Song

00:00 / 01:26

            At the window is a woman you have loved despite your diet,

            gorged on the look of her with the guiltiest parts of hunger.

            Her deft hands dance on the wax wrap paper, forearms

            flecked with a hundred spitting oil scars. The fast food tattoo.

            She is always here, and you suppose that she remembers you,

            from her un-kissed acne years and all the warm paper bags between.

            You, who would surrender your torso to the drive-thru window,

            to take her by the faded polo-shirt collar and to have her.

            Her lips would have the cherry pink taste of market stall gloss,

            her mouth drenched in free fills of fountain cola and the thing is,

            she has seen you, all your faces in those repeated flash cars.

            She could make you in a minute. Plunge your heart and her hand

            into the deep fat, feel nothing. You are ruined, crisp and bubbling.

            She scrunches your wrapping, she throws you away.

Publishing credits

Slag: A Change of Climate (Illingworth)

The Greatest Punk Album In The World Ever (Disc 2):

  exclusive first publication by iamb

The Cheeseburger Love Song: The Day of the Flying Ants



S h a r e

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