My reading pile: Tommy Sisson, Zayneb Allak and Jessica Mookherjee


Goodnight Son came out in 2016 from Burning Eye Books and is the debut poetry collection by award-winning writer Tommy Sissons. In this Sissons addresses issues of masculinity, crime, religion, modernity, working-class pride, patriotism, politics and the transition from childhood to adulthood amongst a host of other topics.

Zayneb Allak’s Keine Angst is from New Walk Editions who entered the pamphlet scene in 2017 with this and John Mole’s, A Different Key. Allak grew up in Baghdad and Birmingham, and has since lived and worked in various places around the world. She has a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from Nottingham Trent University. Allak says, “When I began my MA in Creative Writing at Nottingham Trent University it felt like a dream come true—I loved the opportunity it offered me to take writing seriously and to work closely with fellow students and tutors—so when I was offered a place at NTU to complete a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing I didn’t have to think twice about it!” This is her first pamphlet.Aisha


Flood came out this April from Cultured Llama and has overarching themes of migration, otherness, sexual awakening, maternal mental illness, the impact of catastrophe, of loss and being lost. Spilt into three sections, this collection carries the reader on a journey of love, of finding love from others and giving love. Mookherjee is able to bring the universal to the personal and the personal is laid before us, no holds barred.


I sat with you Esther Drukartz,
when I bathed you in 1992.
We talked about your tattoo
and when they turned you
into a number.
Tell me about Pesach, I asked you,
at Seder, in Kilburn.
It’s the one where we have cheesecake
you answered and we both laughed.
Edith Metzger paces up and down.
She never sat still all the way to England,
Toni Reich’s accent rasps
She called that Nazi, who pushed her mutti away
as she got on the kindertransport,
a very rude man, she was so brave.
Edith Metzger paces up and down.

Erna Kurtz, Bessie Rieterbund, Gabriel Makeler,
Johanna Ernst, Annie Weitzenfeld, Sophie Driels

I will say your names and visit
all the places you lived.
I sit in the Musee Juif de Belgique
with a sad collection,
a fast bottom-drawer clear-out
of tattered prayer shawls, Hebrew books,
Friends ask, why do you do this?
I go from Krackow, to Tallin,
From Riga to Berlin,
Budapest, to Antwerp to
St.Petersberg. Summoned by ghosts calling in Shabas.

In the cab back to the hotel,
I chat with the driver, I’m from England
I say and he tells me
he is from Rwanda.
all my family died he says.
Are you OK now? I ask,
filling the flood of space with words
I can not bare,
Of course not he replies.


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