Poem of the Week: ‘In which I practise happiness’ by Joe Dunthorne

20 May 2024

Our Poem of the Week is ‘In which I practise happiness’ by Joe Dunthorne, from his debut collection of poetry, O Positive.

In which I practise happiness

I love pigeons even
when their claws are stumps
and they walk as though in heels.
I love guinea pigs
for the idea they are in some way
a pig. Their heartbeats make their bodies
vibrate. I like to pretend
to answer them: ‘whom may I say is speaking?’
I love football. More people love football
than love social justice
but that doesn’t mean football
isn’t brilliant. Whenever I head the ball
I feel a poem evaporate.

I hate the bit of the poem
where you’re obliged
to hate something.

I love the piano.
I love true crime.
I love the sun
when it arrives
like a tray of


Copyright © Joe Dunthorne, 2019. Used by permission of Faber & Faber Ltd. All rights reserved.

‘In which I practise happiness’ by Joe Dunthorne appears in O Positive.

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Joe Dunthorne

The long-awaited debut collection from the multi-talented and ‘superbly economical writer’ (Guardian).