Posted by: Corri van de Stege | April 16, 2008

Granta – poetry month


In this month of poetry, I signed up to reviewing one poem, or a book of poems, in April.  Kate is hosting this.

Well, I’ll never manage a book of poems in any one month, but I do read poetry when I come across it, and enjoy it.   Recently I rediscovered Granta ‘the Magazine for New Writing’ and its 100th edition has a number of gems, ranging from poetry, to fiction and life writing, as well as some beautiful black and white photographs.  It’s a real treasure throve.



I keep coming back to two poems in this edition though, reread them, and after every reading love them more.  Yes, I know, we should be thinking of spring and flowers and sun, but this poem about snow is just wonderful: 


 How snow falls by Craig Raine:


Like the unshaven prickle

of a sharpened razor,


this new coldness in the air,

the pang


of something intangible.

Filling our eyes,


The sinusitis of perfume

without pefume.


And then love’s vertigo,

love’s exactitude,


this snow, this transfiguration

we never quite get over.




Don’t you think it’s beautiful, this transposition from snow, the surprise and freshness of it, to love and how it changes us?  So few words and so recognisable.


The other poem?  Well, some other time – it’s quite a bit longer and it’s by Alice Oswald: Eel Tail.  This  reminds me of my childhood, looking into those muddy pools of water. 





  1. And here I’ve been complaining about snow, rain, and winter weather in general…

    You’re right, though – it is a beautiful poem.

  2. Oh it’s just perfect! “this transfiguration we never quite get over…” “this pang of something intangible”
    Even I, who loathe winter and only suffer to live in it because the love of my life is exuberant over it…even i have felt this magic and poignancy, this magnetism and this beneficence of snow.

    I used to buy Granta once in a while but have complete forgotten about it in recent years. I’ll check it out again. Thanks! Deborah@Exuberant Reader

  3. Ex Libris, Deborah:
    Oh my – I’m behind with my responses. Lovely to see you both and so glad you like the poem too. Granta is back in favour even with the Sundays it seems (see my next post)

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