Liz Berry is an accomplished new voice. Her poetry is full of energy and surprise, with images and lines that entice the reader into a world of sensuous imagery and sultry, dark humour. the patron saint of schoolgirls pamphlet was published as the winner of the tall-lighthouse pamphlet competition.
Liz Berry was born in the Black Country and now lives in London where she works as an infant school teacher. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway and received an Eric Gregory Award in 2009.
This short selection of poems by Liz Berry is a completely satisfying achievement – packed with intelligence, sharp observation and a clever innocence – but also leaves us hungry for more. It marks the emergence of a compelling new voice –one that will continue to grow in range and authority. Andrew Motion
the patron saint of schoolgirls
£5 ISBN 978 1 904551 82 9
The A1 is the loneliest. Four hundred
and nine miles down the spine of the country,
only the firefly of a fag tip to keep you steady.
A man needs some company,
an eye on the map, a hand on the radio.
Ten four, hammer down, breaker breaker.
He made a man of me, rubbed me
smooth with engine grease, taught me how
to pull a flatbed, take an unsigned route,
draw the curtains against the prying eyes
of headlights. As other lorries trundle home,
we push onwards, the road a romance.
I was a kid that first night. Birmingham
to Folkestone. The junctions looping
and racing above us, his hand on my leg.
In the woods beside the lay-by, I pressed my tongue
into the sap of a pine tree as I pissed;
already half in love with him.
Now belly to back in the cab, his vertebrae
like cat’s eyes guiding me down,
I think of the M6 Toll, lined with two million
pulped Mills & Boons; how love is buried
in unlooked for places, kept secret like us.
In the darkness his breath hums like an engine.