By Glyn Maxwell b. 1962 Glyn Maxwell
They tin-opened his head.
Apparently it said
CALAIS across his brain
in red. Which should explain
the puzzlement and pain
and focus that he felt,
that afternoon he smelt
its fuel-and-fishy air,
then mulled it over in a square

like one whom little girls
untasselling their hair
in French and combing it to curls
adore when he’s thirteen,

who wonders what on earth they mean
and guesses and is wrong,
goes pink and carries on,
finds the ferry gone.

Glyn Maxwell, “Calais” from The Breakage: Poems. Copyright © 1999 by Glyn Maxwell. Reprinted by permission of Glyn Maxwell.

Source: The Breakage: Poems (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1999)

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Poet Glyn Maxwell b. 1962


Subjects Activities, Travels & Journeys, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

Poetic Terms Mixed, Rhymed Stanza

 Glyn  Maxwell


Born in England to Welsh parents, Glyn Maxwell was educated at Oxford University and Boston University, where he studied both poetry and theater with Derek Walcott. This simultaneous training in two disciplines has enabled him to create innovative work across genres. Maxwell has written numerous verse plays as well as long narrative poems. The Sugar Mile (2005), a verse narrative set in a Manhattan bar a few days before . . .

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SUBJECT Activities, Travels & Journeys, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life


Poetic Terms Mixed, Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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