An Amateur Review of Sunfish, by Shelby Eileen

First published on Patreon on 14th June
I follow Shelby on twitter (@briseisbooks), and I really enjoyed her first collection Soft in the Middle so when she put out a call for anyone who wants an ARC, naturally I said yes.
I’m not a poetry reviewer and, despite writing so much of it myself, I know precious little about what makes one poem good or bad. But I do know that Sunfish is good.
It’s easy to read in that none of the poems punch you in the face (unlike Donika Kelly’s amazing collection Bestiary) but this is a good thing. It’s gentle, patient, meets you where you’re at rather than forcing to look.
When I’m reading Sunfish it’s not like talking to a friend, because I don’t know Shelby like that and it’s much too honest a book for that kind of presumed familiarity. It’s not like a conversation, because there is nothing for me to say back to her. This collection feels like sitting on a bench in an empty park in early spring and listening to a stranger talk. It feels like a moment of unearned intimacy that reminds you how important it is for humans to connect. It feels a little uncomfortable, because Shelby is all but a stranger and there’s nothing for you to say, because I’m sorry doesn’t ring true. It feels like understanding how she feels, but having no words for but that’s OK, because the only words needed are hers anyway.
Sunfish feels like silence. It’s the reminder that silence, loneliness and powerlessness aren’t the same thing. That not everything requires a response and sometimes you just need to listen. Sunfish makes you want to listen.
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Mercury with MoonPark Review

In the middle of last year I submitted a prose-poem to MoonPark Review. It was rejected. After picking myself up and dusting off my bruised ego, I noted that my rejection included an offer to submit again in future. So I logged that away and knew that when I had a better piece of short prose I would submit.

Then, late last year I wrote a story/poem/monologue called Mercury. I took it to a workshop where it was torn apart by the facilitator. After once again picking myself up and dusting off my bruised ego, I used the critique I got to almost completely rewrite it.

I submitted the new and improved Mercury.

It was accepted for their summer issue.

I highly recommend going back through prior issues too. There’s some good stuff there.

Thank you Mary Lynn and Lesley for giving me the encouragement I needed to submit a second time and for publishing this piece.

Find Mercury Here

Headlining A Lovely Word

A Lovely Word is a free open mic night that takes place on the second Monday of every month, in the bistro of the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool. It was one of the first open mic nights I performed at after returning to Liverpool from uni. I was excited, anxious and out of practice and had no idea how I would fit into this whole new poetry scene. To my utter delight, it was warm and welcoming, with other attendees keen to tell me about other events going on in the city.

Along with the open micers, every month there’s a headliner. I loved watching them, seeing their skill and silently wishing I could do the same. Well, now I will be.

I have been invited to headline at A Lovely Word in June! This is something of a dream come true. It would be fantastic to see some of you there.

On June 11th at 7:30pm, head to:

The Everyman Theatre
5-11 Hope Street
Liverpool
L1 9BH

If you want an open mic slot though, arrive early. They often run out of slots in less than 15 minutes!

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Performance Poem: When You Find Her

 

First posted on YouTube 21st May 2018
I seldom write horror, but I really enjoy is when I do. When You Find Her is a warning not to trust everyone who claims to know you. Understanding is not the same as friendship.
And recording it is an excuse to break out some blue lipstick and go a lil goth.
Also available as a booklet on Etsy
£2+ patrons over on Patreon have gotten access 2 weeks before everyone else

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