Ten Poems about Rubbish
Selected and Introduced by John Greening
A load of rubbish? These poems are very far from being that! Published in time for Global Recycling Day on 18th March (and supplied with our new brown eco-envelopes), this selection finds that rubbish is far more than merely stuff we don’t want any more.
There’s a poem in which a swing-bin – complete with peelings and old tea-bags – becomes a vivid still life and a moving elegy when a family home is being cleared after a death. Elsewhere, mud-larking explores how what’s been discarded can still give us pause for thought:
“The stones, nails, shoes, this one old mitten;
they all could have some meaning if I listen.”
from ‘Learning to Listen on the Thames Beach’ by Anna Robinson
‘Rubbish’ might once have been a throwaway word, but these days it reminds us how we have cluttered the planet with our leavings – something that is powerfully explored in Carolyn Forché’s poem of protest.
Cover illustration by Hugh Ribbans.
Donation to Surfers Against Sewage.