Rushika Wick’s poems are works of great imaginative power, both formally and in terms of their contents. In the exuberant opening poem of this collection, ‘Diaries Of An Artist In Hiding’, she is by turns the president, Matisse, a love letter, the weather, a badger; ‘the experiment is boundless / like the imagination of a new subspecies /of giant squid / immeasurable and brilliant, / its owner perceived as a delicacy.’ It is a poem that seems to stand as a sort of manifesto for the whole book, which feels like poetry that contains such energy it has started to wriggle free from the usual constraints of subject and form. But unlike so much experimental poetry, the reader is brought along for the ride and encouraged to feel the wind in their hair. Characters appear - Camille Claudel, Michael Knight, Lady Chatterley - only to vanish again in a single line once their work is done. Poetic forms are introduced only to be blown apart, words scattering across the page like paint-spatter, letters vanishing to reveal deeper truths. These poems are so full of life even as they acknowledge the stark realities that are a risk to life - also the very real presence of death. And everything is here. And trash is everywhere. And the wind is blowing it and us. It is exhilarating!
'The poems in Rushika Wick’s debut collection are like little time bombs, packed with shocking and beautiful truths about how we live, what and who we love, how we die. They often feel as if they’ve been translated from a mysterious language or passed on in whispers – their imagery is so rich and strange and compressed – but always in the moment and pushing against conventional lyric and form. She approaches her subjects with a forensic eye and a deft scalpel, getting to the heart of what’s vital.' – Tamar Yoseloff