Monkey Reviews The Dead Queen of Bohemia

THE DEAD QUEEN OF BOHEMIA by JENNI FAGAN

An ex-girlfriend had a tatty book that gathered dust in my old flat. It was called How Poetry Works. I flicked through it a few times but it could’ve been a computer manual from the 1980s for all the sense it made to me. I don’t know how poetry works. I don’t know how computers work either. I couldn’t care less; as long as they do. Music’s the same. Ray Davies onArenathe other week got all tetchy about documentary makers wanting to over-analyze artists when people “either like the song or they don’t”.I like Jenni Fagan’s poems. They live at the dark end of the street, across the tracks, on the outskirts of town in a world inhabited by junkies, winos, weirdoes and whores. And they’re only the harmless ones. Fagan doesn’t romanticize them but is empowered by her own experiences and wears them proudly like a rusting pin badge rescued from the rain. Out of the human wreckage come phrases like “…the schizophrenic knew fifteen different ways to bring Satan through a crack in the wall like a great vagina of doom” that instantly leave their words stamped in the brain. But there are two sides of every coin and on the flip of Jenni’s feisty confrontations are glimpses of vulnerability and tenderness.

They work for me. They should work for you too.

The Dead Queen of Bohemia by Jenni Fagan is published by Blackheath Books, priced £7.50.

Blackheath Books Website.

posted by monkey at 12:07

We All Thought We Were Forever Once – Urchin Belle on Kilmog Press

Urchin Belle is out now in New Zealand. It can be purchased from Kilmog Press for $45.00 plus $10.00 for international postage. It is an extremely limited edition and is currently on sale in bookshops and galleries in Auckland.

Urchin Belle has began to have its own life that is nothing to do with me in a way and I like that. I think about how some French philosopher wrote that the breakers of automatons would be people who exist on a periphery that no authority can subjugate. I don’t know about me personally now, but I know the people in Urchin Belle fitted that description to extremes. A few people I love who are in there were some of the best friends I have known and most of us didn’t make it. We all thought we were forever once. I was lucky to know them when I did. For me personally, that is part of what makes this collection the antithesis of commodity. It’s too personal to parade. It is a collection I have at times found difficult to read from, especially later, when drunk, thinking about why it is I am standing doing poems that are a bit absent in the old, crowd pleasing, heart warming, funny funny vein that a lot of poets go for? I guess this book was just never about that, it’s for those who never were, for the dreamers, for the closet poetry readers of this world, it is for all the Urchin Belles of ever, and it is for anyone who ever got the ugly beauty,  stood outside and looked in.

I have always abhorred style over content in words and music and stuff. Thanks to Dean at Kilmog Press and Geraint at Blackheath who first published it in the UK, Urchin Belle has style to match its content. I salute it on its way. I like that it is going places I have never been, long may it continue to do so.

Thanks to anyone who bought the sold out UK print on Blackheath books. To purchase a copy from Kilmog please contact Dean on kilmogpress@hotmail.com

Kilmog Press

Urchin Belle on Kilmog Press

Urchin Belle debuts in New Zealand this month. After selling out in the UK on Blackheath, a new hardback edition of Urchin Belle is to be released by Kilmog Press in NZ. They will be selling it in bookshops, galleries etc over there. To order a copy e-mail kilmogpress@hotmail.com each book is $45.00 plus a further $10 for international postage.

Urchin Belle on Blackheath Books

My first published collection Urchin Belle came out last summer on BlackheathBooks. The run had three editions in red, grey and gold which sold out in a few months. I got some really nice responses to it, a favourite being a guy who bought it and carries it around to dip into whenever, kind of like a poetry Ipod he reckons. I liked that. I did some readings over the summer with it including Edinburgh Festival at Wordpower Booskhop. I read alongside two great writers, Kevin Williamson and Darran Anderson. Darran’s collection Tesla’s Ghost came out recently on Blackheath and is a great read, one I highly recommend. I will be doing another collection with Blackheath books this summer  for my new collection The Dead Queen of Bohemia.