Illustration ‘Angel” by Jane Storybook Burn : from Joyride by Jessica Mookherjee
I have recently re-connected with one of my oldest friends, an ex-boyfriend, someone who was one of the most important people in my life and who I lost touch with 27 years ago. Through the wonders of the internet – we re-connected in March this year. We have now embarked on – as he calls it – ‘a unique social experiment’ of getting to know each other all over again. Noticing how people change – or don’t change – over the decades has got me thinking about the core of what makes a person. My friend is completely recognisable to me, so familiar and yet with a lifetime of life changes experiences that I must get to know all over again. The same goes for me. Once upon a time we were so similar, just kids, and now?
Below is a picture of me aged 20- it’s all a blur!
Poem and Song
When my friend and I first lived together in 1989, when we were just starting out on the full catastrophe of adult life, I was a budding poet and he was starting off as musician and rock star. I spoiled it all by getting a full time job and going to night school. Ah well. I gave up poetry dreams for science and education. It took up all my years. Meanwhile – on another planet, he was having his own adventures. Only four years ago I picked up the muse and the pen again and found poetry. Since then I have been published. To him, meeting me after 27 years, it was obvious I would be a poet as that was pretty much where we both left off. On the other hand, he had almost 30 years of song writing knowledge, surpassing me by miles and it’s been amazing to see the expertise in action. I sat mesmerised in my sitting room as he sang me a song he wrote about me – that I hadn’t heard for almost 30 years. It got me thinking about who we think we are and who we become.
Debut Collection: Darshan http://www.culturedllama.co.uk
March of this year gave me my friend re-united, that was a blessing because it was a welcome disruption from writing two years’ worth of poems about my childhood and my mother and the experience of growing up with wounded parents. The realisation that wounds can be blessings – if you let them. March of 2017 also got me signed to funky publishers Cultured Llama, for my debut collection: Darshan. It builds on my 2016 pamphlet “The Swell” and will be published in March 2018.
‘Darshan’ by Jessica Mookherjee will be published by Cultured Llama in March 2018.
New Pamphlet : Joyride https://theblacklightengineroom.wordpress.com
One of the great things about meeting my old friend was re-uniting with a person who I could share artistic ideas with. He was very kind about my poems but suggested ways I could think and write differently. In his memory I was influenced by music and lyrics and he reminded me that once I was 20-year-old music fan. The recklessness of youth can ebb and flow, there are times in our lives when we put the breaks on and other times when we accelerate wildly, occasionally jumping the lights. A good metaphore for art, I thought. So I teamed up with another old friend, Morbid, the Black Light Engine Driver from the Middlesbrough press, Black Light Engine Room – Incidentals series, to create a new pamphlet I called “Joyride”. This collection was written quickly in an exciting and frenetic pace and tells of lost loves and tragedy, of moving on, rediscovery and becoming. It is unashamedly inspired by my friend. It will be published and launched in November 2017.
‘Joyride’ by Jessica Mookherjee will be published by Black Light Engine Room: Incidentals in November 2017. Launches in Tunbridge Wells and Middlesbrough.
Art : Fractals
I was quite mesmerised this year about the patterns our lives make. However hard and insane life can get, when looked at with enough distance, the patterns are beautiful. This year myself and wonderful group of poets, photographers and artists put on a fabulous art exhibition and poetry reading, called Fractals. The idea was Ekphrasis, art inspiring art, and we did it. It was held in the Summer at Trinity Arts Centre Gallery and had brilliant feed back.
Fractals: Art and Poetry. https://fractalsproject.co.uk/about/
To be nominated once for best single poem in the National Forward Prize was something – but twice? I was so honoured and frankly chuffed to be put forward by The South Magazine for “Chagall’s Drowned Girl” and by the wonderful The Journal Magazine (ed. Sam Smith) for “Ursa Minor”. I then thought no more of it until I got a wonderful email from Sam saying that I was ‘highly commended’ for best single poem by Forward Prize Judges. So I’m in the 2018 Forward Prize book with some of my poetry heroes. I simply could not believe it.
On the Road
This year I have had the pleasure to read at great events, from local readings in Tunbridge Wells Library, Tunbridge Wells Unfest, to the South Downs Poetry Festival and taking part in the Poetry Café ‘s Poem-a thon.
The Elbow Room : Issue 18 Launch @ The Harrison in Kings Cross, with doors opening at 7.30 and readings starting at 8pm.
Agenda Magazine’s Poetry Festival @ 6th October 2017 in Mayfield Girl’s School, Mayfield. http://www.mayfieldgirls.org/Agenda-Poetry-Festival
Swindon Poetry Festival @Sunday 8th October:13:30 to 14:30 READINGS, RJ Museum Tent-Palace with Jessica Mookherjee, Rishi Dastidar & Camilla Nelson http://www.poetryswindon.org/festival
Loose Muse@ Monday 9th October 2017 Winchester Discovery Centre 7.30pm