Kiran wrote... Scavengers

Scavengers, poetry book cover

Scavengers is a pamphlet of twenty poems and paintings by the poet Kiran Millwood Hargrave and the painter Tom de Freston. The works respond in different mediums to the plays of Shakespeare. The publication includes a foreword by Dr Abigail Rokison and an essay by Sir Trevor Nunn. It accompanied the unveiling of the full collection of paintings and poems at the Cambridge Shakespeare Conference in September 2011. A Japanese translation is due to be published by Waseda University Press in 2014.

Available here or to view free here.
Scavengers was published in September 2011 by the Cambridge Shakespeare Conference.


‘She’s dead as earth’ King Lear
Beneath the sandstone conduits and veins of quartz
That stripe my side like impossibilities
And lower still to the earth’s end and the beginning of the unknown
Lies my base. Solid, heat, imagined black and cuppable
In a palm, rubbed smooth like obsidian. Then iron courses
Writhing, drawn round like a clock face – there is no
Stepping through but if you do – my mantle, de-furred
And unyielding – break this and I come open with words words words
Igneous basalt granitic amphiboles schists granulites like
Great cysts waiting to be spurred. Nose your way up further still
And find the sea in me, marinas crystallised into sandstone, shale,
Auden’s rock, his praise still audible and ringing around
The frozen bubbles caught hard and still – a silence here,
Many moments
Push further and clasp the soil,
Shifting through tree roots,
Sifted by grasses and earthworms
A thin wrapper layering me in;
And perched on top,
Two fools shouting at the wind.


Extraordinarily original...Kiran's language is immediate and totally contemporary, more Beckett than Shakespeare in its tense, spare economy, revealing a wit and clarity without which this project could not have been achieved.

Sir Trevor Nunn,