Emeritus Fellow Clive Wilmer published the first of his nine collections of poetry, The Dwelling-Place, in 1977.


Clive is a poet, critic, literary journalist, translator, editor, broadcaster and lecturer. His New and Collected Poems were published by Carcanet Press in 2012. Urban Pastorals (Worple Press) followed in 2014.

He is the Editor of Penguin selections of writings by John Ruskin (Unto this Last, and Other Writings) and William Morris (News from Nowhere, and Other Writings), and has written and lectured extensively on both Ruskin and Morris. From 2009 to 2019, he was the Master of the Guild of St George, the charity for arts, crafts and the rural economy founded by Ruskin in 1871. In 2023, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ruskin Society of North America.

For World Poetry Day 2024, we are delighted to share, with Clive's permission, a small selection of his work.

In the Library

You at your book. Me unable to read,

supposing that I get between your words

as, fingers twined in your hair or stroking your neck,

        you nonetheless read on.


Since you will not answer letters or calls

or nod to me in the street, I will write to the moon

or else to the image I have of you in my mind,

        which is all responsiveness.


Either way, fearing that I may touch,

you fend me off by scowling into a book;

but I'm there among the words, wanting to be,

        like them, read into you.

The Kitchen Table

in memory of my Mother

Making a home was
what you could do
best; and cookery

(the ritual at
the heart of it) you had
a kind of genius for.

So what I first
recall, thinking of you,
is a creamy table-top,

the grain etched
crude and deep, the legs
stained black, and you

at work, with rolling-pin
or chopping-board or
bowl; then, later,

presiding over
guests or children at each
day's informal feast.

Your homeliness
displaced now, what survives
for me of it

is this: which
now becomes a model
of true art:

bare boards scrubbed clean,
black, white,
good work as grace, such

purity of heart.

The Goldsmith

To stay anxiety I engrave this gold,

Shaping an amulet whose edges hold

A little space of order: where I find,

Suffused with light, a dwelling for the mind.

You can hear Clive's recordings of a number of his poems, with his introductions, at the Poetry Archive.

If you have something that would make a good news or feature item, please email news@sid.cam.ac.uk