Sunday Poem – Em Strang

Evening folks.  This is again, going to be a short post but you can find out more about what I’ve been getting up to if you head over to The Poetry School Campus.  You can find the transcript of a webchat discussion with Hannah Lowe, Amy Wack and Neil Astley here –

but if you would like to know more about what I’ve been getting up to on a day to day basis, have a look at Part 2 of my logbook which you can find here

I’ll be putting Part 3 of the logbook up in the next few days or so and there will be news of an online workshop I’ll be running as part of my residency as well – so do keep your eyes open!

Today’s Sunday Poem is by Em Strang who I met last weekend when I headed up to Lockerbie for a rehearsal.  Em is co-organiser of ‘Carrying the Fire’ festival which you can find more information about here.  Along with a violin player called Simon and Rachel Amey, another poet, we have put together a poetry performance exploring what ‘Re-wilding’ means.  There are still a few tickets left for the festival – as well as us, there will be music, storytelling, lectures, all sorts going on and obviously a bonfire.  It would be lovely to see some of you there!  If you would like more information about the festival have a look at the website which is

I was really impressed with Em’s poetry last weekend.  It lifted me out of a bit of a rut I was in – don’t know if you have ever got into a mood, when you have listened to too much bad poetry and it has finally got to you and you are left wondering whether you will ever love poetry again – too many bad open mics and poets who read for double the length of time they are supposed to etc etc.  Anyway, this wasn’t the poem I heard Em read – I hope she has bigger plans than this blog for that poem and I’m sure she will succeed – but Em was kind enough to send me some poems to choose from and I decided on this one.

I don’t often put poems in a particular form on this blog for some reason but I thought the form in this poem was so well handled.  I don’t think there is a line that really puts a foot wrong – I like the rhymes and their slippage into half rhymes – I love the title which just says so much without over explaining.  I love the little aside ‘(god it was insane)’ and the self realisation the poem is filled with – and the suprising ending, with the woman with small hands who walks into the poem and out again, like a cat walking into a room and ignoring everybody before leaving.

Em Strang also has a website and blog which is

You can find news about an upcoming workshop that she is running here which looks really interesting and still has a couple of places left.  Em has published work in New Writing Scotland, The Glasgow Herald,  Dark Mountain and Poetry Scotland amongst other places.  She has also recently been commended in the Wigtown Poetry Competition and the McLellan Poetry Prize.  She has a Phd in creative writing (ecological poetry) from the University of Glasgow.

I hope you enjoy the poem.

Sonnet Without Shouting – Em Strang

It’s true the door no longer fits the frame
and the windows are blown out.
Someone’s been in and torn both our names
out of the curtains, the bedclothes, even that stout
little dresser we bought in the driving rain
that day I suddenly knew it was my fault –
that if I hadn’t loved you so much (god it was insane)
you wouldn’t have left. No doubt
I learnt something valuable. Perhaps I finally overcame
the need to be near you, to decorate the house
with travel photographs and books, that quaint
framed poem you wrote one summer, the one about
the woman with small hands from Lastur in Spain,
who said the only way to make you listen was to shout.

1 comment on “Sunday Poem – Em Strang

  1. The world turns and everything is fine. Here comes The Sunday Poem, and nothing can go wrong. I really like this one that works like a song. The rhymes look obtrusive on the page, but if I treat it as a song and say it, it’s got a great tune. For some reason, I tried it in an approximation of a West Coast accent (think young Liz Lochhead) and it sounds brilliant.emotionally streetwise and smart as a whip. Where do you find them?

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