Ruth Larbey’s Funglish

Ruth Larbey

Ruth Larbey was born in Cyprus, and grew up in Nottingham, Hong Kong and rural Cumbria. She has spent her last two years working at an international development charity in London, after completing her MA at Warwick University in 2008. She has been published in various magazines, and organises music and art performance events in her spare time. Funglish (Nine Arches Press, 2010) is her debut pamphlet of poems.

Ruth Larbey’s debut collection, Funglish, is a maiden voyage alive with the simple thrill of exploration. Arriving in the big city for the first time, and encountering love armed only with the crackle of language, she re-imagines liminal spaces into new territories vibrant with possibility. With Funglish, Ruth Larbey has began to write the first chapter in the history of the new romantics.
Praise for Funglish:
“There’s a drastic incandescence to Ruth Larbey’s syntax which pulls you into her poetry. Writing with an edgy control reminiscent of Emily Dickinson, her poems create exacting ‘electric constellations’ of vision and nerve in which no word is wasted, no darkness left unexplored. As Dickinson wrote, ‘A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day.’ Ruth Larbey’s language is alive and gravid.”
– David Morley
in beaks, in coats, on the air,
the spores of funglish
broadcast a persistent contagion,
a black-market pestilence –
the beginnings of our sentences          die in the middle
we hatched out those poisons
that stunk in the mud,
scratched our dreams into songs,
blind in the dust –
unseeming, unstitching –
whilst a post-mortem shock registers:
we knew none of the secrets
coming out of our mouths
and still don’t
we stole those words
that congealed with meaning,
(bubbled heavily)
went bad on the inside –
sick; rank and wicked,
our mouths mildewed and wanting,
with the spores of a funglish that’s
hard to
The Secret World of Orchids is
demanding like viscous saliva on a jutted lip
and a specific fungal entourage,
seasonally employed
theophrastos uprooted the clever lump
potatoesque; testicular
eggs of a bird, a bog-adder’s mouth, coconut pie
Ophrys Bombylifera:
a bee sotted on a curious idol,
the image of his maker –
(a flower feigning lust
with peculiar silks
immoderate smells)
– is disappointed
snake-mouth, tangleroot, flower of the dead
this heavy, rumbling sky may fall on our heads but
the rhizome remains
all tongues and no mouths
all mouths and no eyes
keeping sacred fires alight
in notable greenhouses,
acolytes tamper with ties and rods
the mysterious irrigation mist:
droplets, gifted from god
from Funglish (Nine Arches Press, 2010)
Order Funglish.

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