What does it mean to be human? Poetry asks this question. The answer, if one looks in any anthology—from any country or era—would appear to be that humanity consists of hopelessly doomed romantics, variously-religious spiritual seekers, or soldiers. It takes a lot of searching to find a poetry about the most universal and human of activities; that of parenting or of being parented. In recent years, poets such as Bernadette Mayer, Alice Notley, and Anne Waldman have all written long celebrations of motherhood, but there has never been a poetry written by fathers about the father-daughter relationship. Tim Atkins’ ON FATHERS < ON DAUGHTYRS changes this.
ON FATHERS < ON DAUGHTYRS is a long poem which rolls up its sleeves, puts on a waterproof apron, and dives head-first into this messy world. From being thrown out of museums for throwing too much paint around to marching through London (repeatedly) on political demonstrations, Tim Atkins casts a warm eye on the many and various pleasures of being the father of two daughters. In a brand new poetics of the transcendent domestic, which combines the styles of The New York School and Britain’s Tom Raworth, slapstick and tragedy coexist on every page.
Philip Larkin wrote that your mum & dad fuck you up. ON FATHERS < ON DAUGHTYRS is a poem with plenty of fucking around but very little fucking up. Poet George Oppen asked the question; "My daughter, my daughter, what can I say of living?" Atkins’ happy poem is a 120-page answer. "Come down here right now/ & get your snot off the ceiling."
Tim Atkins is an internationally-published and reviewed poet and translator. He is the author of many volumes, including To Repel Ghosts, 1001 Sonnets, and Horace. His 600-page Petrarch Collected Atkins was a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year for 2014, and was a selected book of the year on the widely-read American literary site Salon.com. Folklore was one of the Daily Telegraph’s poetry books of the year for 2008. His work has been anthologised in The Reality Street Book of Sonnets, Faber’s The Thunder Mutters, and Foil. Since 2000, he has been editor of the online poetry journal onedit, which was selected by The British Library as one of the key poetry websites in its poetry archive. In 2013, he was a member of the summer faculty at The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. Other projects include the creation of a sound installation for the Science Museum’s Exponential Horn show: this was also broadcast on Resonance FM. His play The World's Furious Song Flows Through My Skirt was performed at the PolyPly Innovative Writing series and was published by Stoma in June 2014. A celebration of his work at which 24 writers read took place at The Rich Mix Arts Centre in East London in July 2014. A film collaboration with Graeme Maguire, Mother, was a finalist at the Rabbit Heart Poetry Festival. His work has been translated into Latvian, Japanese, Spanish, Arabic, and Catalan. A novel, The Bath-Tub, is due out from Boiler House Press in 2018.
On Fathers < On Daughtyrs by Tim Atkins