David Clarke, 2014 Recipient

David-ClarkeI was born in Lincolnshire in 1972 and now live in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. I work as a teacher and researcher. My first pamphlet of poetry, Gaud, was joint winner of the Flarestack Poets pamphlet poetry competition in 2012 and subsequently won the Michael Marks award in 2013. I am currently working on my first full collection of poetry.


Gaud (Flarestack Poets, 2012)


Selected Poems

(From Gaud, 2012)


(after Karl Weschke)

I’ve seen the god in the prey of my husband’s hounds,
how it leaves muscle and breath as beasts are felled
like a breeze that shudders out of a sea of wheat,
its only trace a wake of stillness. The courtiers
who sharpen their steel for the quarry, the nobles
who cast snagging nets in the forests, are all too brute
and blunted to know what they kill, what never dies –

a drive from deep in the world, it sparks black
in the swan’s eye, it cocks his head, ratchets
his body’s feathered mechanics. The dead glass
of the lake is leaden as fate, bears no reflection.
I hold the neck, stay wings with my fury.
Mouth all feathers and blood, I tell him
tonight our terror will beat at the palace walls.

The Night Before We Left

While we undressed
the light drew moths
from the fields.

They spun above us
as we lay for a time
facing each other in silence

on linen that seemed cut
from the warm afternoon.
When we finally put out the lamp

they rebounded from walls and windows
drumming their tiny distress
on our pillows –

like the hollow crack-cracking
of sporadic gunfire
in the copse beyond the lake.

In the morning
they lay furled on the floorboards
wrapped in their papery selves.

Rolls of apocryphal scripture.
Smuggled prison missives.


View Clarke's film-poem ‘Caliban and the Film Crew’ at Verse Kraken.

Explore David Clarke’s Blog


A brief comment from David Clarke about being in Greece, in 2014

My two weeks in Greece were immensely stimulating. Apart from being exposed to unique historical sites in the company of local experts and having the benefit of taking part in seminars on ancient cultures delivered by scholars teaching the Harvard summer school in Olympia, I had the opportunity to learn more about Greek poetry and meet contemporary Greek poets. Everyone was so generous and helpful, the whole experience was a genuine pleasure. And there was plenty of time for relaxing and writing, too. I drafted a series of poems inspired by Greece’s landscapes, people and history, some of which I hope will find their way into my first full collection. I wrote a little more about my time as a guest of the CHS here

Cover of the awarded pamphlet Gaud:

CHS GR Clarke pamphlet cover