Robert Hampson: Piazza dei Signori

(Top Dog 3)

Piazza dei Signori


I think Beatrice has stood me up again

blame the juice blame the hip-hop beat

blame the bells of the Torre dei Lamberti

never doubt my faith nor my mournful steadfastness

the sentence of death set upon my exiled head

the ladder that offered access to paradise

the statue erected at mid night in the square

these possible futures evaded or fulfilled

the sick man changes his posture to ease his pain

may misfortune befall all those who serve tyrants

my lines are free why should all end at Ravenna

a new life beckons the new world calls

come hangmen come vultures tomorrow I’ll write

my liturgy of love in the Chelsea Hotel


Robert Hampson was Professor of Modern Literature in the English Department at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is currently Research Fellow at the London University Institute for English Studies. During the 70s he co-edited (with Ken Edwards and Peter Barry) the magazine Alembic which, among other things, was instrumental in introducing North American LANGUAGE poetry to England. More recently, he has edited another poetry magazine, purge. He also co-edited (with Peter Barry) New British Poetries: The Scope of the Possible. His collections of poetry include: Degrees of Addiction, A Necessary Displacement, A City at War, Seaport, and C for Security. His selected poems, Assembled Fugitives, was published by Stride in 2000.Covodes 1-19 will be published by Artery editions later this year.


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