Reuben Woolley’s poetry is minimalist, sinuous on the page – or sometimes scattered like landmines waiting to explode. I find his work addictive and his latest book Skins (Hesterglock Pess, 2016) is going to be a gift to myself next month. Proceeds from sales go to CalAid.
Reuben’s poems, while exquisitely trimmed of all excess, are still rich with imagery and emotion.
Stylistically, I’m reminded of e.e.cummings.
Yes! I like the way he writes. More importantly, I’m glad Reuben chose to use his deft pen and kind heart to bring more awareness to the darkness in humanity, hanging our dirty laundry out to be seen and not denied. He tells the hard truth. If you are not devastated then you have grown numb to the injustices of our world. This is why we need poets like Reuben, to sound the clarion call and to bare witness.
With Reuben’s permission, here are two poems and look for more of Reuben’s work in the January 15 issue of The BeZine.
this is the fear
of a first breath
this is laughter
through bleeding membranes
we walk the subway
maps & all their changes
skulls gives no answers
& death itself
is rarely clean
to this we came.not this
a mind round wires
i’ll wear the given
shoes so well in these
the running from metal
they make who give
the shoes but
they’re laughing at us
THE FOURTH INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF POETRY, MARRAKESH
Reuben is invited to the Fourth International Festival of Poetry in Marrakech, Morroco in April. He plans to take poems from I am not a silent poet, his online magazine. The Festival covers hotel and catering costs but doesn’t pay anything towards transport. Like all of us who live off the proceeds of poetry, his purse is a little light. Reuben set-up a crowd funding page to raise the money for the airfare. That’s the main reason I wanted to introduce Reuben to you today. Here’s the invite. The “Mrs.” is a typo and festival organizers have promised to correct it. Reuben’s crowd-funding site is HERE.
Reuben Woolley is published in various magazines including Tears in the Fence, The Lighthouse Literary Journal, The Interpreter’s House, Domestic Cherry, The Stare’s Nest and Ink Sweat and Tears. His collection, the king is dead was published in 2014 with Oneiros Books and a chapbook, dying notes, in 2015 with Erbacce Press. Reuben was runner-up in the Overton Poetry Pamphlet competition and the Erbacce Prize in 2015. A new collection on the refugee crisis, skins, was published by Hesterglock Press, 2016:
Reubensays, he “pretends to be busy editing the online magazines: I am not a silent poet and The Curly Mind.”
I am not a silent poet is a zine dedicated to poetry and artwork of protest against abuse in all shapes and forms. Reuben’s motivation for founding the site: “I have seen such increased evidence of abuse recently that I felt it was time to do something. I am not a silent poet looks for poems about abuse in any of its forms, colour, gender, disability, the dismantlement of the care services, the privatisation of the NHS, the rape culture and, of course, war and its victims are just the examples that come to mind at the moment.”
© 2017, poems,and photograph, Reuben Whoolley; bookcover art by Sonjia Benskin Mesher