A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose

Claire Askew’s

work has been featured in The Edinburgh Review, Poetry Scotland and The Cadaverine.

In 2008 she was awarded the Grierson Verse Prize, the Sloan Prize for Writing in Lowland Scots Vernacular, the Lewis Edwards Award for Poetry, and the William Sharpe Hunter Memorial Scholarship for Creative Writing.

One of her poems was also selected to appear in the Scottish Poetry Library’s 20 Best Scottish Poems of 2008 anthology.

Claire currently works as a Lecturer in English at Edinburgh’s Telford College, and her first chapbook of poems is due from Red Squirrel Press in 2009.


—Back to Orsorum Contents/Issue Links—


I like to bend them to my will
turn their spines inverse like gymnasts,
crack their skin ’til it’s crazed and veined
like an old lady’s palm. I deface the pages:
marginalia scattered and stark as a rash,
corners folded, fingered thin and soft
as a cotton fiver, circled
with the cold, grey footprints of tea.

I like them lived in as a marriage bed,
loose enough to open of their own accord
and shock me with a lucky-dip of verse.
The chatter-spit of ancient binding:
pages coming out in chunks like teeth.
They wait for me on bookstore shelves,
asleep, stiff as exclamation marks
and my fingers itch to break in every one.