The Two-Way Poetry Podcast: Rob Hindle

Posted on 30th October 2023 in News

In this episode, poet Rob Hindle discusses William Blake’s ‘The Sick Rose’ and how reading this work influenced the writing of his own poem ‘The Sick Rose’. 

In the interview, Rob reflects on Blake’s political convictions, and touches on psychoanalytical readings of Blake as a means of understanding the original poem. He goes on to reflect on what his own position is regarding poetry and the world, poetic form, and how his poem fits into the collection Sapo as a whole.

Rob Hindle’s poetry has appeared in books and pamphlets since 2006. His first, Some Histories of the Sheffield Flood 1864, won the inaugural Templar Poetry Pamphlet Competition, and was followed by Neurosurgery in Iraq, his first full collection (Templar, 2008). An extended sequence, The Purging of Spence Broughton, was published by Longbarrow Press in 2009, marking the beginning of a fruitful relationship which has seen the publication of two further collections – The Grail Roads (2018), shortlisted in the Forward Prizes, and Sapo (2022), in which ‘The Sick Rose’ appears. In 2013, Yoke and Arrows was published by Smokestack.

You can read a text version of William Blake’s (1757-1827) ‘The Sick Rose’ (with modernized punctuation) here: The Sick Rose (text version).  You can read another version – with accompanying images – here: The Sick Rose (text and Image)

You can find out more about Sapo, and buy copies here on The Longbarrow Press website: Sapo (Longbarrow Press)

‘The Sick Rose’ by Rob Hindle
(from the sequence Songs of Experience & of Innocence)

Up in the night I creak my way to the bathroom.
The sky has wheeled its stars round; where the moon was
a faint smear of orange burns on the moor line.

The cat flap snaps. Ours jumps from her sleep.
A black shape wanders down to the gate, job done.
Back in bed I picture a plane stalling over Sheffield,

ploughing into the moor, a brief flare, thunder.
I see the tom cat crossing the abandoned street,
unhurried and undeterred. The rest is sweat,
imagined steps on the stairs.

During the interview, I mention Philip Larkin's poem 'Sad Steps' as a possible influence on Rob's poem 'The Sick Rose'. You can read Larkin's poem here: 'Sad Steps'. In turn, I also briefly noted that Larkin's poem alludes to Philip Sidney's poem 'With how Sad Steps, O Moon, thou Climb'st the Skies' which you can find here.