Shortlisted for the Ledbury Munthe Poetry Prize for Second Collections
Date: 25th July 2019
Extent: 76 pp
Jessica Mookherjee, highly commended in the 2017 Forward Prizes, presents her second collection of poems, Tigress. Mixing myth, magic and migration, these poems explore the impact of choice upon our lives and concentrate their magnificent, kaleidoscopic imagination on the intricate and often fraught nature of childhood and family, selfhood and womanhood.
Fierce, often funny, always charged and revealing, Mookerjee’s acute attention to detail tracks lives lived between Bengal, Wales and London. In exploring the intense displacement and loss that marks the experience of migration, the poems move into territories of danger and safety, illness and heartbreak, and ultimately into self-discovery; a rich and sensual moonlit menagerie of bears, big cats, wolves, and ‘forest mothers’. At every step, Tigress is wildly inventive, elegant and utterly distinctive.
Praise for Tigress:
“The poems in Jessica Mookherjee’s Tigress are born out of families, migrations, transformations and the intimacies of altered lives on shifting ground where the everyday meets the deep myths by which we measure ourselves. The poems speak plainly but break against oceanic complexities that continually surprise us.”
– George Szirtes
“In this second collection, Jessica Mookherjee’s often startling voice has found its true range and material. From her Bengali parents’ ‘first flight’ to the UK, through her own Welsh childhood to adolescence and the difficulties of adult relationships, the poems propel us breathlessly from ‘What is this?’ to ‘Yes!’ in the time it takes to cheer and raise a fist.” – Susan Wicks
“The Tigress’s bright pelt glimmers in a Welsh landscape as Jess Mookherjee sings of the richness, lack and longing of growing up between two cultures. Here is magic and sadness, myth and kitchen utensils, the imagination at full pitch and the search for self in a fractured mirror.” – Helen Ivory
Jessica Mookherjee is of Bengali Heritage and grew up in Swansea. She has been widely published in magazines, including Under the Radar, Agenda, The North. Rialto, Antiphon and Ink, Sweat & Tears. She is author of The Swell (Telltale Press) and Joyride (Black Light Engine Room Press) and Flood (Cultured Llama). She was highly commended in the Forward Prize 2017 for best single poem. Jessica works in Public Health and lives in Kent. Tigress is her second full collection.
Abegail Morley's The Skin Diary explore loss in its many forms, with unwavering, fierce and astonishing brilliance. Here are imperfect hiding places, imaginary sisters and near-impossible burdens fill carrier bags and archives. The Skin Diary explores the fragility and strange windfalls of being alive; through tough times and thin ice, these poems are darkly wry, brimming with and alert with Morley's sharp and lyrical lines.
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