Snapshot: Jessica Mookherjee
The best place is the beginning. Take a deep breath and put some words down on some white space. Go on. Breathe and go on.
Start with what you know. Read. Read about things you don’t know… keep learning.
I started working with Susan Wicks, who taught me bravery and discipline, I was selected for a masterclass with Gillian Clarke and Carol Ann Duffy at Ty Newyedd, I looked for teachers like Ros Barbar and Mimi Khalvati. Find a community. Build one.
In the beginning .
I was shortlisted for the FairAcre first pamphlet competition in 2016. Then I was shortlisted in a Templar anthology, and for Nine Arches/ Poetry School opportunities, and also shortlisted for Indigo Dreams. Keep going. Write Poems.
Swell : Telltale Press 2016
In April 2016 I was asked to join TellTale Poet’s Collective. I liked TellTale Press, watched them for a year, hoping to attract their attention. They are my kind of people. A poet’s collective, as advocated by Carol Ann Duffy herself. “do it yourself,” she told me, “the indie press, it’s punk, it’s rock and roll and it’s the future”. Well why not? The poets are shining, talented and respected and finally – they asked me, so happy.
Happy to be a TellTale Poet, and a pamphlet – “The Swell” was out in October 2016. Launched in Tunbridge Wells. Telltale Anthology “Truth” out in 2018.
Moving Forward 2017
I was amazed and delighted to be nominated twice for the Forward Prize best single poem by The South, for “The Drowned Girl” and The Journal for “Ursa Minor”. To my surprise I was highly commended for “Ursa Minor” and am in the 2018 Forward Prize Book, next to Paul Muldoon.
Joyride : Black Light Engine Room Press 2017
The Summer – life took on a new, heady flavour. Life first, poetry second. Write it all down. P.a. Morbid, the editor of BLER Press asked me to put a pamphlet/chapbook together for his Incidentals series. JoyRide was born. November 2017. ‘Fly, my pretty’.
Flood: Cultured Llama 2018
My first full collection will be published in April 2018. I changed the name of the collection at the 11th hour. I added poems and edited right unto the submission date. I’m very proud of my Debut.
‘vividly immediate, with its own rich culture, distinctive rhythms and striking imagery. The separate stories in the poems of Flood flow together’ Susan Wicks.
‘Jessica Mookherjee’s Flood is dense with the loss and longing of mothers, daughters and childless women who are nevertheless also both. This tremendously unified book demands to be read at a single sitting, Fiona Sampson
Co-Editor: Against the Grain Press
New venture – to midwife new and beautiful poetry into the world. A poetry press editing alongside my hero poets Abegail Morley and Karen Dennison.
Where can you find my poems?
Rialto, The North, The Poetry Saltsburg Review, Agenda, Interpreter’s House, Ink Sweat and Tears, Obsessed With Pipework, Brittle Star, Lampeter Review, Prole, Paper Swans Anthology: Chronicles of Eve, The Journal, Lunar, Gold Dust, Three Drops in the Cauldron, Clear Poetry, The Poetry Shed, Black Light Engine Room, Antiphon, Amaryllis, Elbow Room, Ebracce, Moth, New Welsh Review, South, Under the Radar.
To understand modern poetry –
This is quite good: http://www.modernpoetry.org.uk
To know where to look for magazines and competitions –
Try this: http://www.poetrykit.org
And I am…
Jessica Mookherjee is a poet of Bengali origin. She grew up in Wales and now lives in Kent. She has been published in many print and online journals including Agenda, Interpreter’s House, The North, Rialto, Under the Radar and Antiphon. Her pamphlet “Swell” was published by TellTale Press in 2016, JoyRide was published by Black Light Engine Room Press in 2017. Her poems appear in various anthologies including Templar 2016, Eyewear’s Best of British and Irish Poets 2017 and Paper Swans’ Chronicles of Eve. She won the Paragram Prize in 2016 for her poem The Beast. She was ‘highly commended’ for best single poem in Forward Prize 2017. Her first full collection, Flood, will be published in 2018 by Cultured Llama. Her second collection is forthcoming in 2019. Jessica is a board member of the Kent and Sussex Poetry Society and Co-Editor of Against the Grain Poetry Press.
How I started…
Look for stanza groups… I’m in the Kent and Sussex Poetry society, I’ve been in various writing groups, always strive to be around people who you think are better poets than you (they might not really be – but it helps if you think so). Find good teachers – they are out there. Read and start or join a poetry reading group. I have helped out in two local arts and literature festivals and that is great fun. I have started and been part of a number of local collaborative projects.