Looking back – Curator’s Pick

During the month of May 2016 we will be looking back at Poets’ Corner’s first year, together with our Guest Poetry Curators. They will share their own poetry, experiences as curator and favourite poems from the platform with you.

Guest Poetry Curator Patrick Sarsfield chooses ‘Wings’ as his favourite poem by Poet of the Month June 2015 Elinor Cole. Patrick explains:

‘ ‘Wings’ is a Heaney-esque exploration of the meaning and understanding of family. It is one of Elinor’s more personal poems, yet she still succeeds in transmitting a broader point about Black Country identity and industrial heritage. The use of dialect, as ever in Elinor’s poetry, lends a lovely sense of authenticity. I particularly like the close of the poem, and the way that the ‘blinking wonderment’ of the father ‘seeing the world for the very first time’ is reflected by the speaker, who is seeing their father in a fresh light.’


‘If yow dad wor a man,’ they told me
down at the Legion one Sunday races,
“‘ed ave wings, yow mark my words”
I looked across to where he stood,
and thought what I had always thought:
that everything about him
reminded me of the earth –
his shoulders of coal, his chest of slate.
Nothing about him longed for the sky
or so I had thought
until the night I saw him climb to the loft
to gather the birds up in his hands
to stroke their feathers with his thumb.
When he released them
I saw in his eyes a blinking wonderment
as if the coal had crumbled away
and he was seeing the world
for the very first time.

Elinor Cole

Elinor went on to get involved with more opportunities to build her skills and share her work. Her collection of Black Country poetry is currently exhibited in ‘Black Country Tales’ by Leaveners and Dudley Museum and Art Gallery. You can read about Elinor’s experience here. Elinor will read her poetry at Dudley Museum on the 28th of May.