Confident; mistakable.


The line designed by use.


Something pretending to be something that it is.


The performance of the unsustainable moment.



Years ago, I was given a residency in the kind of place that knows how to throw a party. They gave one for me, and invited, among others, people from places interested in doing the same. Someone from an organisation  about to announce their own poet’s residency took one look at my chic little French suit and said, “Well at least we’re not going to make our poet dress up.” What did she expect me to wear – hessian?

I like a poem that knows how to dress. I like this dictionary  (by the psycho-analyst Adam Phillips and the costume curator Judith Clark)  and what it has to say about dress, which could be said about poetry too.

Originally Published: April 27th, 2010

Lavinia Greenlaw has published three books of poems, most recently Minsk. Her two novels are Mary George of Allnorthover and An Irresponsible Age and she has also published a memoir, The Importance of Music to Girls. Her work for BBC radio includes programs about the Arctic, the Baltic, the solstices...