The Migrant Ship


My new pamphlet collection of poems, The Migrant Ship is now available from the publisher, Melos.

As well as the title poem it contains other poems on the theme of migration and loss and I hope it represents an attempt to engage poetically with one of the most important of current political issues. Poets sometimes hesitate about writing ‘political poetry’ for fear of appearing strident, or even banal. (We can all think of poems that fit into that category.) But the idea that poets shouldn’t write about politics would have mystified Milton, Marvell, Shelley, Yeats, Auden (not to mention a range of international 20th Century poets from Ritsos to Neruda) even though it was Auden who famously wrote “poetry makes nothing happen”. Maybe it doesn’t, in the sense of provoking events or actions, but it is part of our awareness of the world around us. It expresses a range of imaginative approaches to reality, it can show empathy and understanding, and all the things that the nastier political manifestations of our time seek to eliminate. Poetry, in fact, can be about anything it likes.

The collection has received a very nice review in The Manchester Review by Ian Pople:


“Nicholas Murray, biographer of, amongst others, Bruce Chatwin and Andrew Marvell, is a pamphlet publisher in his own right. He is equally well known as a polemicist in verse; his political satire on the Coalition government Get Real, was described by the TLS as a ‘bravura display of finely-controlled outrage’; written in virtuosically turned Burns stanzas. And, as I unpacked this pamphlet The Migrant Ship, in the office, one of my colleagues remarked on the title, ‘Very topical’. Well, up to a point, Lord Copper. Murray’s lovely, lyrical title sequence might well be a response to the crisis we see happening in the Mediterranean. But, much more than a political gesture, it is a first-person narration from a migrant’s point of view. As such it becomes political in that Murray takes us, with consummate and delicate skill into the mind of the migrant. And the writing becomes hard-hitting in its lovely simplicity, as in the final two verses, I remember my yearning/ for the comfort of sleep/ where I hoped to forget/ the need for this journey.// I remember the box/ that I felt for with fingers/ that knew its hinged lid/ opened on nothing.’ Murray has achieved that very difficult trick of being a prose writer, who writes lovely, beautifully turned, lyrical poetry. “


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