“The purpose of poetry is to remind us how difficult it is to remain just one person, for our house is open, there are no keys in the doors, and invisible guests come in and out at will.”
milosz 1968 from Ars Poetica
Jessica Mookherjee is a poet of Bengali heritage. She was brought up in Mumbles, Wales. She lived most of her adult life in London. She lives in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. She has worked in Public Health for over 20 years and has a background in psychology and biological anthropology and socio-ecology. Her book Tigress (Nine Arches Press) was shortlisted as best second collection in the Ledbury Munthe Prize in 2021. Her latest book is called “Notes from a Shipwreck” and is published by Nine Arches Press. Jessica is a board member of the Poetry Society and a Co-Editor of Against the Grain Poetry Press.
Jessica has authored 3 full collections of poetry and three poetry pamphlets.
Flood (Cultured Llama 2018)
Buy Flood here:
“Jessica Mookherjee’s Flood is an at-times overwhelming read. It is dense with the loss and longing of mothers, daughters and childless women. This tremendously unified book demands to be read at a single sitting, and is a striking testament to a life lived – and survived.” Fiona Sampson MBE, author of On the White Plain: the search for Mary Shelley, and Limestone Country
Tigress (Nine Arches Press 2019)
Buy Tigress here:
“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
Tigress (published by Nine Arches Press) was shortlisted for the Ledbury Munthe Prize for best second collection in 2021.
Notes from a Shipwreck (Nine Arches Press 2022)
Buy Notes from a Shipwreck here: Pre-order (Publication date 18th August 2022).
“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
Swell (Telltale Press) 2016
Joyride (Black Light Engine Room Press) 2018
Playlists (Broken Sleep Books) 2021.
Journals and Magazines
She has been published in many print and online journals including Agenda, Interpreter’s House, The North, Rialto, Under the Radar, Finished Creatures, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Magma and Poetry Wales. Her poems appear in various anthologies including Bloody Amazing: 123 taboo smashing poems (Dragon Yaffle) 2020, The Emma Press’s Everything that can Happen 2019 and Candlestick Press’s Spring an Christmas ‘instead of a card’ series in 2020. Her Forward Prize highly commended poem; Ursa Minor appears in the Bloodaxe Anthology ‘Staying Human’ (2020).
She has had two poems highly commended in the Forward Prize for best single poem , Ursa Minor in 2017/8 and Skylarker in 2020/1.
Her fourth pamphlet called Desire Lines will be published by Broken Sleep Books in in 2023.
Festivals and Literary Events
Jessica has read and spoken at a number of poetry and literature festivals, notably Birmingham Literature Festival, Aldeburgh Poetry Festival and Hastings Lit Fest and Ledbury Poetry Festival.