New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Culture
  2. Poetry
22 November 2023

The NS Poem: Hoops

A new poem by Erica McApline.

By Erica McAlpine

These hoops!
I am too big to jump through
them – my hips bump into
the sides and oops 

they’ve clattered down 
like fences do in storms. 
Stop sending me forms 
to fill that don’t matter. I won’t be shown 

where to sign 
or feel forced to report 
the details of my falling short. 
I’ll doodle on the dotted line 

dreaming of bars 
low enough to step over 
and laughing at the giver  
of gold stars.

Erica McAlpine is an associate professor of English at the University of Oxford. Her books include “The Poet’s Mistake” (Princeton University Press) and “The Country Gambler” (Shearsman)

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

[See also: The NS Poem: The Girl]

Content from our partners
Peatlands are nature's unsung climate warriors
How the apprenticeship levy helps small businesses to transform their workforce
How to reform the apprenticeship levy

Topics in this article :

This article appears in the 22 Nov 2023 issue of the New Statesman, The paranoid style