Snapshot: Jessica Mookherjee
Where to Start?
And the best place is the beginning. Take a deep breath and put some words down on some white space. Go on. Breathe and go on.
I started… I started in faltering steps when I was 19 years old- crazed and full of muse, I sent off a whole book of terrible ramble to Jonathan Cape, who wrote back kindly and gave me advice I never followed.
Somehow I stopped writing, but never – thank Sappho – stopped reading. I started performing poetry at local spoken word SLAMs and twenty five years after my first attempt got my first poem published, and then another and then another.
I started working with Susan Wicks, who taught me bravery and discipline, I was selected for a masterclass with Gillian Clarke and Carol Ann Duffy at Ty Newyedd, I looked for teachers like Ros Barbar and Mimi Khalvati. I bothered poets for their love… gave it, they returned it.
I was shortlisted for the FairAcre first pamphlet competition this year – in 2016. Close but no cigar. The winner was extraordinary.
I was lucky, in April I was asked to join TellTale Poet’s Collective. I had eyed TellTale Press hungrily for a year, hoping to attract their attention. They are my kind of people. A poet’s collective, as advocated by Carol Ann Duffy herself. “do it yourself,” she told me, “the indie press, it’s punk, it’s rock and roll and it’s the future”. Well why not? The poets are shining, talented and respected and finally – they asked me to dance. So happy.
Happy to be a TellTale Poet, and a pamphlet – “The Swell” out in October.
Where can you find me?
Agenda, Interpreter’s House, Ink Sweat and Tears, Obsessed With Pipework, Brittle Star, Lampeter Review, Prole, Paper Swans Anthology: Chronicles of Eve, The Journal, Lunar, Gold Dust, Clear Poetry, The Poetry Shed, Black Light Engine Room, Antiphon, Amaryllis.
To understand modern poetry –
This is quite good: http://www.modernpoetry.org.uk
To know where to look for magazines and competitions –
Try this: http://www.poetrykit.org
And I am…
A poet from Kent. I lived in London for 25 years. My childhood was spent in Mumbles, Wales and the place still exerts a pull on me. My heritage is Bengali. I have a background in Biological Anthropology and currently work in Public Health.
Too extraverted to be a poet…
Look for stanza groups… I’m in the Kent and Sussex Poetry society, I’ve been in various writing groups, always strive to be around people who you think are better poets than you (they might not really be – but it helps if you think so). Find good teachers – they are out there. Read and start or join a poetry reading group. I have helped out in two local arts and literature festivals and that is great fun. I have started and been part of a number of local collaborative projects.