Publication date: 18th August 2022
DCF: Poetry Collections
Cover art by Jason deCaires Taylor
Notes from a Shipwreck, the third collection of poetry by Jessica Mookherjee, is a richly detailed and illuminating voyage of dislocation and longing. By turns evocative, unsettling, and full of ‘small acts of magic’, Mookherjee simultaneously finds the past, present, and future in the tempestuous, lyrical tides that flow through her poems.
Here, seafaring lore and shanties interweave with wreckage and survival, drawn by strong currents of history – where migration, colonialism, pandemics and climate change shape the course we are on. The sea is a territory of grief and transformation, alluring and dangerous, where safe harbours and landfall are not always certain. Mookherjee’s enchanting, salt-sharp poetry encompasses the many journeys embarked on – whether seeking refuge, escape, or into exile – and consider not only the deep blue sea and its myriad mythologies, but to understand ‘what makes a land and person,’ – the keen human instinct to seek belonging.
Praise for Notes from a Shipwreck:
“‘We were first born in the jetsam of burning ships.’ Freighted with loss, the vessels of Jessica Mookherjee’s questing third collection navigate complex oceans within the self. Here are islands of memory where fantastical transformations take place, where brown feathers sprout from skin, cutlery gossips and a body is ‘made of icebergs and disaster’. Then, amid the strings of gorgeous imagery, a small detail expertly snags the reader’s heart and won’t let go. Vigorous and magical as a flask of crisp salt wind.” - John McCullough
“Notes from a Shipwreck is a miraculous and – I think - important collection of poems, written with inventiveness and extraordinary phrasing. Each poem is a magic box of language: surprising, transforming, and always wonderfully disquieting.” - David Morley
“These poems emerge, salt-fresh and barnacled, each one a treasure dredged from reality and its violent oceanic churnings. By using myth, history, and image rich memory, both personal and collective, Jessica Mookherjee includes her readers in the process that only imagination can offer, helping us find our land legs in alienating times with her transforming powers of language. Her poetry is authentic, original and alive with its own music.” – Sophie Herxheimer
Jessica Mookherjee lives in Kent. Her work appears in many journals including Agenda, Poetry Wales, The North, Rialto, Under the Radar, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal and in various anthologies including Bloodaxe’s Staying Human. She was highly commended in the 2017 and 2021 Forward Prizes for Best Single Poem. She is author of two full collections, Flood (Cultured Llama, 2018) and Tigress, ( Nine Arches Press 2019) which was shortlisted for the Ledbury Munthe Prize for Best Second Collection in 2021. She is a joint editor of Against the Grain Poetry Press.