Judi Sutherland – Cultural Exchange

Cultural Exchange

Milo said it had to be a Pilsner,
dry as a saint’s bones; so we invited
Tomasz, the Czech craft brewer,

who brought yeast through Heathrow in a plastic bag.
We used pale malt, a complicated mash,
Saaz hops (minty, grassy, herbal); ran

a slow fermentation, then we lagered it
cool in the tank for weeks and weeks,
but good things are always worth the wait.

On Tyn, a cobbled street in Prague,
we found a bar, with pavement tables,
where the English stag-night boys argued,

steadily drinking Staropromen;
‘We don’t see the benefit of being European.’
I looked around at the painted gables

of Bohemia’s peaceable heart;
‘Well, for one thing, you’re here.
Drinking this beer.’

When we racked it, we were happier
than a lion with two tails. And the yeast,
a lively souvenir from Wenceslas Square,

thriving within sight of Windsor Castle.
Republika – a Prague Spring on the taste buds,
a Velvet Revolution in tall, cold glasses.




I’ve never posted a poem of my own on The Stare’s Nest before but I thought this would fit the bill rather neatly. It was written after a long weekend in Prague, and spending time as Poet in Residence at the Windsor and Eton Brewery in the summer of 2012.

Thank you Fledglings!

The Fledgling Award submission window is now closed. Thank you all for sending your work. I took a bunch of lovely books out to the coffee shop today where I wouldn’t be distracted. A couple of proper contenders already!  I will be conferring with Martin Figura soon about next steps – but he has promised us a reading event at Cafe Writers in Norwich, in October. More news soon…

Two Weeks / Four Weeks

Dear Nesties,

You now have two weeks to enter your poetry pamphlets for the Fledgling Award for first solo publications by poets over 40. Scroll down to the previous post but one for more details. Some wonderful pamphlets have come in so far!

Also, our European Union poems will drop into your inbox from June 1st. I have the Nest filled to the brim with daily Eurogoodies until 15th June – after that there are eight more days until the Referendum and I am hoping against hope that you vote IN with both your hearts and your heads. See the previous post for details. I can see how much you poets love France, Sapin, Italy and Greece, but if you have a poem about somewhere further north or east, let’s have them! We are celebrating all the good reasons for staying European. Whether it is la dolce vita, l’esprit de l’escalier, schadenfreude or duende – we want to know.