It is perhaps no surprise during this seismic period that our March 2020 Pick of the Month should focus on that technology which holds us all together even when it drives us apart. Voters found Sanjeev Sethi’s ‘A Factory of Feelings’ moving, relevant and resonant!
Sanjeev is published in more than 25 countries with over 1200 poems. Wrappings in Bespoke is Joint-Winner of the Full Fat Collection Competition-Deux (Hedgehog Poetry Press UK). It’s his fourth book. It will be issued in 2020. He lives in Mumbai, India.
A Factory of Feelings
Your biog is your own, wash it with as many adjectives.
Entitlement and empathy are opposites. Dissimulation
is elementary to past lovers, like dissemble to ex bosses.
Facebook and Twitter are placeboes for amour proper.
Drapes of familiarity hang when socials happen. If you
are a turophile there is space for another helping in a
hero sandwich. Tonight my sky is crowded: sulfur and
saltpeter from crackers have eroded its nostril and mine.
With you gone umpteen poems are astray.
More voters’ comments included:
The poem talks about the current scenario of social media and its impact on culture. A sharp poem.
I am a fan of Sanjeev Sethi’s work. He never disappoints me as a reader.
Sethi’s play with language leaves me longing for more.
The way he uses brevity in poetry is unlike any other poet I know! The novelty of thought, and the sheer relevance of imagery require recognition too. Also, find me a poet with a vocabulary that even comes close to his. I’ll wait. 😉
I kept thinking of it, long after I had read it.
An outstanding poem.
It has all the elements off fine writing.
Sharp usage of language and the metaphors cleverly give it a kick.
Not one superfluous word.
This poem adds to the human experience. This quote tells of how poetry goes beyond words to make people feel something, whether it be strength, unity or another, indescribable feeling.
It’s contemporary commentary on our Facebook of things.
deep, incisive and engaging poem and really stands out for its word play and nuanced expression.
THE REST OF THE MARCH 2020 SHORTLIST
In the shower with Gerard Manley Hopkins by Jo Bratten
Bless me father for I have sinned again
Rejoice in soapy foam-fleece fountain furled
For I have lied and cursed and fucked with men
Flashing quenching sing-shower curtain-curled
In hurting self and friend have careless been
Water of world of self-dew flesh-dew whirled
I wish to be blessed with some peace amen
With shower shining all sin stanched and swirled
Teach me the secrets of your skin so fine
Fresh-fire flashes off face fling soft and sing
The healing balms that help the hair to shine
Thirst quails parches quelled in the steam-sweet spring
I’ll wash your bruisèd back if you wash mine
Wet wind-washed lovescape manshape rinse and wring
Jo Bratten is a writer and teacher. Originally from the USA, where she grew up off-grid on a farm in eastern Ohio, she completed a PhD on the modern novel at the University of St Andrews before settling in London. Her poetry has been published in Acumen, Ambit and Fire.
The moon is a cannibal: by Kitty Coles
she consumes her own body.
Flat-footed in her fatness,
she sweats and lumbers,
ashamed, in the pure of night,
of her vast heft.
She nibbles her flesh:
the taste is oily, repellant,
but she swallows it down:
the gulps rise in her gorge.
In a couple of weeks, she is half
the woman she was.
Then one night she wakes
and is nothing, a beautiful absence.
What sickness makes her suck
the darkness in and grow herself,
by increments, again?
The stars disdain her,
arrayed in their small perfection.
They are bundles of corners,
Kitty Coles’ debut pamphlet, Seal Wife (2017), was joint winner of the Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize. Her first collection, Visiting Hours, will be published in 2020 by The High Window. www.kittyrcoles.com
Homing Pigeon by Patrick Deeley
From the high window ledge of the house next door,
he looks down into our kitchen.
Two days since he landed, and whether we dance
to the radio or open a newspaper,
whether we chatter about nothing or argue over
whose turn to cook, whose to dish-wash,
our routines seem to matter more because he is there.
Nightfall, the iridescence braceleting
his neck, the rings – one pink, one emerald –
on his feet grow dim. We puzzle the compass of his
iron-tempered beak, said to catch
the magnetic register of the world, imagine him
blown off-course, or as a spy, or taking time out
to develop the photos he snapped
on the wing, to embellish the traveller’s tales he will
regale his friends with. Is he lonely
for a family we don’t know, whose resemblance
he sees behind our window? Or maybe
there’s a message he intends for us, about the fleeting
nature of everything, the tricky business
of enjoyments and how, late or soon,
we’ll feel at a loss on glancing up to find he has flown.
Patrick Deeley‘s seventh collection, The End of the World, recently appeared from Dedalus Press. He is the 2019 recipient of the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Poetry Award. His best-selling memoir, The Hurley-Maker’s Son, was shortlisted for the 2016 Irish Book of the Year Awards.
A Sudden Shaft of Light by Moyra Donaldson
My demented mother
who doesn’t know me anymore,
looks up as I come into the room.
Ach – there’s my wee darling Moyra
she says, such love in her voice
that everything falls away but love.
The slate is clean,
and I, new born again and perfect,
know myself beloved daughter
before the darkness closes in again.
Moyra Donaldson from Co Down has published eight collections of poetry, most recently Carnivorous, Doire Press, 2019, and is a recipient of a Major Individual Artist award from Arts Council Northern Ireland.
The Opposite of Pygmalion by Gillie Robic
She’s breaching the limits
climbing the scaffolding
hauling herself up poles
rolling over the lip of the kick-board.
My hands race like a card sharp
trying to confuse the eye
not wanting to let her off the plinth.
I don’t want to release
this unlovely construct into the world
slithering over edges and ladders
filling space with clammy earth.
As fast as I squeeze her
between my fingers
she gobbles air
grows out of my reach.
I try stuffing what I can
back under the cloth or into the bin
but she stretches
breaks away like over-rolled dough
till I sit in a litter of ripped tarpaulin and gobbets of clay
coated to the elbows in grit-pitted fleshly slip,
cold with guilt for the future.
Gillie Robic was born in India and lives in London. Her first collection, Swimming Through Marble, was shortlisted and published in 2016 by Live Canon, who also published her second collection, Lightfalls, in October 2019.