Don't Get Piles, Get Piles of Poetry!!

Three poems to read on the loo - by Abi Palmer


"And how do you 'use' a poem?" 

Asks the university interviewer, squirming with delight at my fascinating verbage.

"Well," I say... 

I think back to my toilet bowl. A stack of beloved books only ever a short (but sanitary) distance away,

"I use them to move something inside of me.”

A poem is the perfect size for a brief spell of contemplation: a necessary episode of catharsis. "A good one should leave you wide open," I say. "Exposing your very being." You are not supposed to clench as you toilet.

Reader, I got the job...

1. Blank the in / in the Blank
Hannah Silva, Forms of Protest, Penned in the Margins
Two palindromic poems on opposite pages. Read and re-read again and again, to discover new language and meaning floating to the surface as it churns. A toilet bowl classic.

2. Seizure, or Seduction of Persephone
- Laurie Clements Lambeth, Veil and Burn, University of Illinois Press

'I convulsed so hard I broke / open,' begins the concrete, spine shaped ode. A gorgeously frank and explosive discussion of disability and sexual encounter. Its entire form is designed to leave you wide open, with shuddering departures.

3. Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form
-Matthea Harvey, Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form, Alice James Books

An intense examination of the relationship between bathroom and human, leaving you sadder, yet more attached to humanity, and the ceramic throne on which you are placed. I am always moved by the incredible line structure, which carries us to a splashing crescendo.


A toilet is perfectly suited for the distraction-free silence a poem should command. The bathtub is the best place for writing one. Get yourself a hygienically placed shelf and quit playing Tetris on your smartphone. That's disgusting.

Bonus tip:

Always keep a copy of Tim Wells' longtime zine 'Rising' kicking around for a quick flick. You'll come for the poetry but you'll stay for the Jackie Collins.