Anvil Press Poetry

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Founded in 1968 by Peter Jay and now based in Greenwich, south-east London, Anvil Press is England’s longest-standing independent poetry publisher.

We specialize in contemporary English poets – with a leavening of Irish and American – and in a range of translated poetry, from ancient classics to modern and contemporary poets.

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Ruth Silcock has died at 87

Ruth Silcock has died at 87. Her three collections of poems, all published after her retirement, take their subjects from her large extended family, her professional work with children and adults and a deep concern for the problems, medical, social and personal, facing old people. They are much more enjoyable than that may make them sound. Her poems are laced with what one reviewer described as a 'dark, close-to-the-bone humour'; they have a jaunty air which goes well with their unsentimental, clear-eyed and compassionate observation.

'There is a potentially popular poetry in England which does not talk down to people or appeal to their self-consciousness, and it is being written by people like Ruth Silcock. Larkin, Betjeman and Stevie Smith would have approved of her poems. To say that she is a readers' rather than a poets' poet may define her limits, but is also high and necessary praise.' – George Szirtes, reviewing Mrs. Carmichael

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Poem of the month rss

Ruth Silcock

The Widower

‘After you died, those friends of ours
Invited me to stay,
So I came here, beside the sea,
To watch the waves all day.
Everyone’s kind, the weather’s mild,
And I am well, but why
Should I live here alone, while you
Alone should have to die?

The dogs run races on the sands,
The children splash and play,
Our friends lie basking in the sun,
Sharing their holiday.
We eat, we talk, we watch TV,
But I would rather be
Asleep with you, than waking here
Beside the dazzling sea.’



We are sorting her chest of drawers –
This for me, This for you, This was so much hers –
‘I’ll never have a friend like that again.’
We are meeting the jaunty lawyer
And signing his forms and discussing the weather.
‘I’ll never have a friend like that again.’

She used to play cards at this table,
Now it’s covered with cake-crumbs after the funeral.
‘I’ll never have a friend like that again.’
We wash cups in the broken sink
And it’s time to go and she rings me. ‘I think
I’ll never have a friend like that again.’

And now it’s winter and snow,
She’s no light, she’s no heat, she is ill, did I know
She’ll never have a friend like that again?
She spent Christmas with cousins, she died there.
I cannot remember her face, but I hear
‘I’ll never have a friend like that again.’

Our featured books

A Wonderful View of the Sea cover

Ruth Silcock: A Wonderful View of the Sea

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Biographies etc. cover

Ruth Silcock: Biographies etc.

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Mrs. Carmichael cover

Ruth Silcock: Mrs. Carmichael

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