Mary MacRae’s second collection
published Aug 10 by Second Light Publications. See order form (pdf file) for discount offers
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Month 4 of Round 1: Myra Schneider is the judge this month and her selected winner is Maggie Sawkins, for her extract from her long award-winning poem Zones of Avoidance. Her 4 commended poets are Kaye Lee, Di Slaney, Jay Whittaker and Pam Zinnemann-Hope.
(a short extract)
I’m reading ‘The Confessions of an English Opium Eater’ –
I want to understand what drove my daughter out in the snow
with no coat or socks, in search of a fix.
I want to understand what divinity led her
to set up camp in the derelict ‘pigeon house’
after running out of sofas to surf.
I was a Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds girl myself.
I liked the way it made inanimate objects move,
until that day in Balham when my guy sang Rock n Roll Suicide
from a third floor window, and an Alsatian leapt
from the wood grain of the station door, and policemen
were penguins in disguise.
Tough Love. The mantra of the support group for those
beaten by their loved one’s addiction.
When I was busted at nineteen and the bedsit landlord
tipped my belongings onto the street, the last person
I would’ve turned to was my mother.
You’ve made your bed. Lie on it. Lie on it. Lie on it.
Poem published in Zones of Avoidance is a remarkable piece of poetry. Maggie Sawkins approaches difficult and important subject matter by skilfully juxtaposing her daughter’s addiction and illness with her own experience of drug-taking when young. The spare writing with precise details is very alive and it reveals how much Sawkins longs to help her daughter in spite of the fact that she herself had a mother she couldn’t possibly turn to. The sharpness of the jibe she knew she would receive from her mother and the mocking repeat of “lie on it” heightens the poignancy.