Janet Rogerson lives in the North West of England. She has an MA in Creative Writing and also teaches Creative Writing. She has spent time working in various places including a university, hospital, bank, factory, shop, pub and prison but she likes to work with poems most of all. She is currently studying on the PhD Creative Writing programme at the University of Manchester. Her poems have been published in The Rialto, Smiths Knoll and Stand. Her pamphlet, A Bad Influence Girl, from which the poems below are taken, was published by The Rialto earlier this year.
“In this outstanding debut, Janet Rogerson puts her finger on the odd moments when the extraordinary meets the recognisable and everyday: ‘The hearse has driven onto the grass!’ exclaims one vivid, unsettling poem and, throughout, Rogerson keeps the tone light as the material darkens, telling stories which sting and convince in poems whose timing is bewilderingly confident and assured.”
– John McAuliffe
“Janet Rogerson becomes our bad influence, addressing us intimately, telling us secrets and showing us a variety of entirely seductive characters and situations. Her language is sparky and exciting, delivering poems of extraordinary detail, establishing the realism from which they often fly into the surreal. She shows us a different way of looking at the world and we accompany her acute poetic voice zigzagging through these surprising and delightful poems, not one ‘statement a linear one’.”
– Alicia Stubbersfield
A Pebble Hits The Windshield
and at the same time across town
a loud noise cracks the glass
of a carriage clock.
Am I missing something?
How many times will you tug
that drawer, anger rising
against the fork or spoon
that holds it shut – how many times
before you close your eyes?
Is it funnier to see a person
or just to hear them
With a porcelain elephant’s trunk
it is only a matter of time.
The fractures and fissures
are of little note, that is,
how they occur – force, pitch,
a small boy, but you could
lose yourself in the splintered
circle of cracked glass.
Cops have been known
to circle a bullet hole
for days, clockwise
You can lose yourself
in the splintered circle
of cracked glass and find
yourself still lost years later
going around and around
stopping briefly at the summit
only to fall harder
faster down again
blood on your fingers
was that a bullet?
When they left the forest, they left no footprints, they stopped our breath, chilled us and put us to ground, they were warriors striding out with fire and friction, dressed in black their eyes dark and fixed in time, fixed in history and a thousand photographs, you knew they were harder and crueller than we could ever be yet they looked upon us with kindness, they impressed us and we felt humbled, honoured, we wanted to feel the grass beneath our knees, you would not say they were sexy, because they were sex, you would not say they were immortal, they were mortal just like us, they were the opposite to us, even the ugly ones were so beautiful they took our breath and flicked it from their fingers like water, it evaporated into the ether, became insignificant, they were never strangers, they were inside and outside of us, after them everything was different, they defined us, it made little difference if they were good or bad, over time the gods and devils became one and the same, connected by truth or lies, this is why to kill is just to kill but to assassinate is a hissed, whispered utterance, that lasts forever.
The Lovely Garden
The graves were windows with their shutters down.
The flowers were fresh on some and dead on others.
Best is fresh, second is dead, and last is none at all.
An oblong with a stone, again and again and again.
Walking up and down the rows
I realised what was wrong and felt the need
to tell you quickly, just in case. I left a message.
When I die curl me up and place me in a round box.
I cannot lie on my back like a corpse.
I started as a circle, so don’t iron me out.
Don’t make my last statement a linear one.
from A Bad Influence Girl (The Rialto, 2012).
Order A Bad Influence Girl.
Visit Janet’s blog.