Bonjour Tetris

"Bonjour Tetris presents seventeen poems originally commissioned for radio programmes, anthologies and the opening of a concert hall. Both serious and playful, quirky and formal, these poems prove there’s nothing ordinary about writing to order."—Penned in the Margins

The first Penned in the Margins mini-book, Bonjour Tetris is published in a boxed, limited edition with an exclusive poem-postcard inside. Each copy is signed and numbered by the author. It can be purchased here.

"This book might be akin to T.S. Eliot’s idea: ‘not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion… not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.’

Thank Nintendo, then, that Barraclough has personality and emotion enough to respond to so many other escapisms with poetry. Video games, TV, film, radio and other media monsters are caught in his lens until fun shares the screen with intelligence, beauty, and a mischievous wit. And that, if you’re the right kind of reader, will be all the emotional content you’ll need."—Mark Burnhope in Sabotage Reviews (read full review)


Jurassic Coast

The house had grown too small for us and so

we spent that final summer in a tent. 


At first we interlocked our sleeping bags,

each row of teeth zipped into place like cogs,


our limbs and fingers nightly interlaced.

But due to condensation and the dew,


the zips began to snark and twist apart

and you unhooked them, torch between your teeth,


and bundled up your bones in a cocoon

and shifted inches, light years, out of reach.


Your tongue became a pebble, smooth and mute,

mine frayed, a salty beach towel on the strand.


You found an adder’s egg by Durdle Door

and hatched it in your polyester nest


while in the gloom I rode to Casterbridge,

the pages greenly lit by your turned back,


that glowed a weedy hue right through

the segments of your gently humming sac.


I didn’t wait to see what you’d become

but turned my eyes to hard-baked Dorset Knobs.


You scissored your way out. I felt the draught

of autumn winds and newly minted wings.


My heart froze like a goldfinch in its cage

and Chesil Beach began to feel its age.


Bounded in a Nutshell 

Five centuries ago a German acorn sweetened on the branch

until it reached its crucial mass

and blew the bolts to give itself to gravity.


Then all it had to do was dodge the jay’s keen beak,

the hedgehog’s truffling snout, shrug off the weevil’s drill.

This lucky nut was squirreled away,

a hedge fund for a hungrier day

that never came. Planted in the soil, the work began:

the cylinder of shell unscrewed, a taproot dropped,

a pale shoot periscoped towards the light,

extended leaves and rippled out its rings,

trunk thickening as history hurtled by.


Six thousand moons the shadow of the branches flew

around its base through midnight, noon, until the day

that brought the saw that bit into the bark

and turned the tree into an acre of veneer

to line this room, this snug nutshell, replanted in the earth

in which we sit and feel the taproot of the bass notes shift,

hear sonic tendrils lift.


Brian Lara Calls Us to the Things of this World

Eyes open to the roar of binary crowd,

and spirited from sleep the settee-slumping soul

hangs like a wrong ‘un, spinning off the fingertips,

always already waiting to bowl and always on a hat trick.