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Rebecca Goss

©  Natalie J Watts



the poet

A poet, tutor and mentor who lives in Suffolk, Rebecca Goss is the author of four full-length poetry collections and two pamphlets. Her second collection, Her Birth, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2013 – while in 2015, she was shortlisted for both the Warwick Prize for Writing and the Portico Prize for Literature. Rebecca is the 2022 winner of the Sylvia Plath Prize, and her newest collection, Latch, was published by Carcanet in 2023.

the poems

The Hounds

00:00 / 00:48

                                    It’s as if something 

                                    calamitous is coming. 

                                    Their lament 

                                    rising across fields, 

                                    its claim on the dawn 

                                    keeping all the birds silent. 

                                    I want to know what stirs them, 

                                    the force of this pack. 

                                    What causes them to stand, 

                                    muscled frames trembling, 

                                    throats full of baleful song. 

                                    I am wakeful, rapt 

                                    and disrupted, their bays 

                                    sonorous against glass. 

                                    Should I slide the thin pane, 

                                    push my upper body 

                                    into emerging light 

                                    let them scent out my sex, 

                                    and tell them 

                                    we are all afraid. 

                                    O this night, this bidding, 

                                    claws at the latch,

                                    pure thunder of them running, 

                                    my mouth opening 

                                    to the cool 

                                    and agitated air. 

At the Party I Shadowed Susie

00:00 / 01:02

            who  was  happy to  slip away walk with me  into the  back field 

            where  I  drank   her   17-year-old   wisdom  could  look  at her 

            hair  the  opposite colour of mine  her  blue  jeans  convincing 

            myself  my  twelve years were not an issue both of us  plucking 

            at grasses  when we got  almost to the oak we ventured back to 

            the  adults  neither of us  missed I lost Susie in the  drunken stir 

            of my  parents’ garden until  night got ready to  flood the  party 

            I  thought I  might go in  search of her  or the  cats so  went  to 

            the  furthest  barn and in  the black that  had rolled inside I saw 

            Susie  being held by Richard  the boy I’d ignored  because his 

            punky clothes  confused me now  his  left  hand inside  Susie’s 

            back  pocket  as  they  sought  each other’s mouths  air  urgent 

            unfamiliar standing  there considering  myself betrayed  waiting 

            until breakfast  to  utter it the sudden turn of  my parents’ heads 

            curious  to  know  what  I  saw  my mother sensing  something 

            flicker staring  at her  daughter so  full of heat and  blood  and 



00:00 / 00:27

                                    Here she comes, 

                                    hair a stream, 

                                    path home, dog’s 

                                    ears pricked

                                    to the latch,

                                    and I’m in the 

                                    garden, pear tree 

                                    spilling, day of poems 

                                    behind me, hiding

                                    my stored dark,


                                    I must look old

                                    and not extraordinary, 

                                    her skin the truest surface 

                                    wanting to kiss her

                                    as she drops

                                    her bag, turns, 

                                    every atom of her 

                                    near me, and I 

                                    make my slight 

                                    gesture, feel

                                    the quickening.

Publishing credits

All poems: Latch (reproduced with gratitude

  to Carcanet Press for its kind permission)

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