Poem introduction

There is a place in Norfolk called Wells-Next-the-Sea that has a poetry festival, and I was invited to speak at their poetry festival. When the bloke phoned to invite me I thought he must have some kind of strange verbal tick since he kept saying ‘Wells-Next-the-Sea and I thought it can’t be called that, that would be ungrammatical, it must be Wells-Next-to-the-Sea. When I drove to Wells to do my reading I saw the sign saying ‘Welcome to Wells-Next-the-Sea’ and realized that actually he was quite right and it doesn’t have a ‘to’ in it. Afterwards, when I wanted to write about my experiences in Wells-Next-the-Sea, I thought that for the sake of consistency I would leave out the word ‘to’ wherever it should occur in the poem.



I came this little seaside town
And went a pub they call The Crown
Where straight away I happened see
A man who seemed quite partial me.
I proved susceptible his charms
And fell right in his open arms.
From time time, every now and then,
I hope meet up with him again.

from First of the Last Chances (Carcanet, 2003), © Sophie Hannah 2003, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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1Don't Say I Said

2Rubbish at Adultery

3One Track Mind


5The End of Love


7Skipping Rhyme for Graduates

8An Aerial View

9Lusing Afte Walter Knife

10Hotels Like Houses

11When He's At Home

12The Sight of Mares

13Pink and the Gang

14The Good Loser

15Occupational Hazard

16In Woking on Boxing Day at the Edinburgh Woollen Mill

17If People Disapprove of You...

18Next Door Despised

19The Norbert Dentressangle Van

20Long for this World



23The Cancellation

24Now and Then

25Postcard from a Travel Snob

26Your Dad Did What?


28In the Chill

29Pessimism for Beginners