Friday Arts Diary


Somerset House, WC2, Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition, until 20 May
The 5th year of the annual Sony World Photography Awards which showcases the best international contemporary photography. Across categories including current affairs, sport, portraiture, landscape and fashion, the exhibit also includes an opening weekend festival for photographers.


The author and poet, Sir Andrew Motion, gives a reading from his new novel Silver: The Return to Treasure Island. He also discusses this book and his older works.


A miniature "living" installation of a cactus by renowned Chinese conceptual artist, film-maker and activist, Ai Weiwei, in The Box, the gallery’s micro project space.



A day of celebration for the Estonian composer, which includes an introduction to his work and subsequent performances from the BBC Singers and the Guildhall Ensemble.



Bola Agbaje returns to the Royal Court with her new play about a British MP who attempts to escape the political heat of London by fleeing to Nigeria. This is a satirical look at politics and the notions of "home".
Photo: Getty Images
Show Hide image

On Wheels

A new poem by Patrick Mackie

The hills swarm and soften towards the end of the day just as
flames do in a fireplace as the evening
loosens and breaks open and lets out night.
A nasty, grotesque, impatient year ended,
and the new one will be bitter,
tired, opaque. Words wrangle in every inch of air,
their mouths wide open in stupid shock
at what they have just heard every time they hear anything. Venus,
though, blazes with heavy wobbles of albeit frozen
light. Brecht, who I like to call my
brother just as he called Shelley his,
has a short late poem where he sits by a roadside, waiting
while someone changes the wheel on his car,
watching with impatience, despite not liking
either the place that he is coming from or
the place that he is going to. We call it
connectivity when in truth it is just aggression
and imitation writ ever larger. Poems, though,
are forms of infinite and wry but also briskly
impatient patience. Brecht’s poem seems to end,
for instance, almost before you
can read it. It wheels. The goddess is just a big, bright
wilderness but then soon enough she clothes
herself again in the openness of night and I lose her.

Patrick Mackie’s latest collection, The Further Adventures Of The Lives Of The Saints, is published by CB Editions.

This article first appeared in the 18 May 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Age of Lies

0800 7318496