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Mab Jones is a daring wordsmith and "unique talent" (The Times). She has read her poems all over the UK, in the US, Ireland, France, and Japan; at festivals such as Green Man and Latitude; on BBC Radio 4; and supporting television's Phill Jupitus at the Edinburgh Fringe.
She was the first Resident Poet in the National Botanic Garden of Wales, and has also been Resident Writer at the Dylan Thomas Boathouse. Mab is the winner of many awards and accolades, including the John Tripp Spoken Poetry Audience Prize, the Neil Gaiman Word Factory Short Story Competition, and the Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival Grand Jury Prize. She was the recent recipient of a Creative Wales Award.
Her first collection, Poor Queen, was published by Burning Eye Books. She has also been published in various newspapers and journals e.g. the Spectator; has appeared on Made in Cardiff TV; is the founder editor of Black Sheep; has blogged for Mslexia magazine; and organises events, which have included the first Welsh editions of Pecha Kucha Night (from Japan), Literary Death Match (from the US), 100,000 Poets for Change (worldwide), UK Slam! Championships (London) and more.
Currently, Mab runs International Dylan Thomas Day, is a freelance writer for the New York Times, and teaches at Cardiff University Lifelong Learning Centre.
Cover art by FRAN WILLIAMS
138 x 216mm
£7.99 + P&P UK
PUB: 22 JULY 2016
"These gorgeous poems tell the fairytales of love, shadows and all. Mab Jones has a light touch and a bold voice. Her best poems take my breath away."
"In her accessible and powerful writing, Mab Jones’s great gift is to take experiences common to us all – childhood, love, the family – and, through her highly original re-imaginings, to allow us to see these things in a new way.
In her excavations from childhood and her ability to speak for everyday experience, there is much here to remind readers of writers like Carol Ann Duffy.
Tender, funny, deeply-felt and well-crafted, this is a collection to re-invigorate readers with a sense that poetry is for all of us."
Take your experience
and peel it. Pull back the skin
and drop it to the floor
like a skirt.
Next, the pulp,
firm and glistening as a heart.
Finally, find the pips,
as smooth and honest
as bullets. Swallow them,
Writer, you are ready.
Poem for the Lost Ones
Written after the murder of my aunt, who is referenced in the poem
O lost one, cruel heart,
I want to tell you that you are loved.
You, with the vestiges of sin
smeared around your greasy chin –
yes, you. I want to tell you
that there is a place where these things
do not matter; where all will be, finally,
forgiven. Yes, I am speaking to you,
sinner – you who stole the gold from
your mother’s mouth, the warmth
of her final breath still rasping on your hand;
You who last night had your hand inside a till,
or foraging between the legs of a child.
Heartless, taker – I am telling you
that you are loved. That there is a love
which sees beyond the blood on your boot-heel
after you stamped that woman to death.
The alleyway you followed her down
was filled with love. You swam through it
like a fish caught in a stream. Rapist,
you have already been hooked.
Yes, there will be a judgement but it will not
come from this. This which in fact is everything:
the hand, the heart, the eye, the blade;
this which embraces you like a lost child;
which, in the end, will carry you home.
Some Things I Have Been
I have been a doormat,
a footstool – a thing to
wipe your feet on, rest your
toes. And I have been
a comfy chair, a waiting
seat, a throne to any passing
fool (frog bodies squatting on
me, my arms and legs their home).
And I have been a bed
at times, a soft and silky
place; a sanctuary of pillows
soothing salivating heads.
A lampshade and a bathtub,
a cupboard or a shelf. Come
kiss me and caress me,
and I would be a thing
for you. I would be that thing
you call a woman.
take your experience and peel it
THE GEOFF STEVENS MEMORIAL POETRY PRIZE 2015
Inspired by wild swimmer and artist Natasha Brooks
The human woman peels away the layers.
Jacket. Gender. Jumper. Class. Something
like an onion, slipping loose of skins;
the stitches of each drape, dissolving;
identity itself unfastened, shimmied out of
like a skirt and left at the side of the lake.
Having shed these skins, then, the human
woman dives, into the earth’s blue eye,
as numinous as milk. The swaddling dark is
soothing, makes of her an infant; croons her
to a baby; sings her from her cradling bones;
hymns her to an atom. In the un-sun, star-less
dark, she is herself no more. Eventually, naked
spark, she rises; regains what was shriven;
identity’s cloak enfolding what was freed.
Patella jewelled with salt; beads of fluid at her
neck, she surges back to being. Reborn, the
human woman stands, and learns herself again.
That white paper, wafer-thin,
names the thing the doctor says
will help with recent moods.
I’ve been up and down like a yo-yo.
A simile you used to smile at,
before that toy went wild and wound you
up within its string. Now, whims
fill you, make you giggle one minute, clutch
razors in your palm the next, sweet
silverfish which you let nip and
slice at skin. Red graffiti marks
your palms, veins jump, rope-like,
from your wrists. I ask
what’s been prescribed but you can’t
read the doctor’s hand.
It begins with a Q, you tell me,
ends with the word ‘line’. I suggest a name
and you’re hysterical –
It sounds like a kind of eastern dance!
I don’t know how you’d know.
You hopscotch to the next topic,
girlish despite your age, trusting
the prescription with its curling, looping
pen, the pill you cannot name.
This collection was a joint winner of The Geoff Stevens Memorial Poetry Prize 2015 with
Purchase both winning collections and save £4.00