24. Proem by Martin Carter - A Friend to Nicholas Laughlin | The Poetry Exchange

24. Proem by Martin Carter – A Friend to Nicholas Laughlin | The Poetry Exchange

In this episode you will hear writer, editor and all-round-champion of Carribean literature Nicholas Laughlin talking about the poem that has been a friend to him – ‘Proem’ by Martin Carter.

Nicholas Laughlin is programme director of the Bocas Lit Fest (https://www.bocaslitfest.com/), based in Trinidad and Tobago, which runs an annual literary festival, a series of literary prizes, and year-round writer development and literary promotion activities for Caribbean authors. He is also editor of The Caribbean Review of Books and the arts and travel magazine Caribbean Beat, and co-director of the contemporary arts space Alice Yard. His book of poems The Strange Years of My Life was published in 2015. He was born and has always lived in Port of Spain, Trinidad. You can discover more of Nicholas Laughlin’s thoughts and writings here: nicholaslaughlin.net (https://gate.sc?url=http%3A%2F%2Fnicholaslaughlin.net&token=c03fc9-1-1692825434890)

Nicholas is one of our first ‘long distance’ visitors and joined us via Skype, from Trinidad. Nicholas is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members, John Prebble and Andrea Witzke Slot, who were together in London for the conversation.

Our thanks to Bloodaxe Books for kindly granting us permission to use ‘Proem’, which can be found in None (https://www.bloodaxebooks.com/ecs/product/university-of-hunger-818)

‘Proem’ is read by both John and Andrea.



by Martin Carter

Not, in the saying of you, are you

said. Baffled and like a root

stopped by a stone you turn back questioning

the tree you feed. But what the leaves hear

is not what the roots ask. Inexhaustibly,

being at one time what was to be said

and at another time what has been said

the saying of you remains the living of you

never to be said. But, enduring,

you change with the change that changes

and yet are not of the changing of any of you.

Ever yourself, you are always about

to be yourself in something else ever with me.

Martin Carter, University of Hunger: Collected Poems & Selected Prose, ed. Gemma Robinson (Bloodaxe Books, 2006).

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Episode link: https://play.headliner.app/episode/8156215?utm_source=youtube

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