Highly Commended: Claudine Toutoungi,
‘The marmots are suffocating’
Claudine Toutoungi’s poem ‘The marmots are suffocating’ has been Highly Commended in the 2020 Newcastle Poetry Competition.
The marmots are suffocating
J’admire votre hérisson
you tell the woman in the artisanal cake shop
because it isn’t every day you see a chocolate-sculpted
and in the forest glade
upon discovering that all wild bees
are welcome at the bee hotel you ask the hive
and what about les abeilles domestiques?
the hive makes no reply
likewise the mountains
filling the void with topic after random chitchat topic: le kilomètre vertical, the recipe for tartiflette, the conjunction of the sirocco and foehn that blew a little bird straight through the restaurant, the cat Macaroon (perdu ou volé) and the writing on the wall in the tunnel under the bridge:
ici les marmottes suffoquent
Claudine Toutoungi’s poetry is widely published in publications including Poetry, PN Review, The Guardian, The New Statesman and her plays for radio and stage include Slipping, Deliverers and The Inheritors. Her first poetry collection, Smoothie, is published by Carcanet, while her second, Two Tongues, also from Carcanet, is forthcoming in 2020.