Penelope Layland

Penelope Layland is a poet and editor. Her most recent book is 'Beloved', a suite of poems in the voice of the 19th-century diarist Dorothy Wordsworth.


First Begin badly. Bring every thing forth— alive, dying: wormy apple, stale bread, fresh flesh, cheap vodka. These early, windy hours leave their marks. Plant frail hopes. Water. Third Later, alone: going about bends while skies flash—white, black, white black …

Posted in 110: POP | Tagged


The blank surface wakes to a slow roil of lips and flanks as the carp rise from suspension. From bridge-height it’s a blistering that suddenly stretches whale-wide and moves with one brain, many mouthed. I have seen koi meander skewbald …

Posted in 91: MONSTER | Tagged

Blue Poles [Number 11, 1952]

I’m lost in dense bush seeking a register of familiarity: the mandarin of flame, white of bled light, cold char black. There’s a harmonic of invisible birds: lucid bell, bleb of whip, the mimic lyre. Son of Wyoming somehow knowing …

Posted in 79: EKPHRASTIC | Tagged