by Diane Cockburn
Published 21st April 2011
£10.99 post free in UK.
Diane Cockburn was born in Magherafelt, Northern Ireland, and raised in Belfast. Her first pamphlet collection Under Surveillance was published by Vane Women Press in 1999. She was then invited to join the Vane Women Collective.
She started her working life after University in North Wales as senior English mistress in Le Bon Sauveur convent on Anglesey. She has also been a Welsh library assistant, even though she does not speak Welsh, lobster soft toy maker at the Anglesey Sea Zoo, primary school teacher, and lecturer in early years education in East Durham. Diane completed her MA in Creative Writing from the University of Northumbria in 2002.
She is published in a range of anthologies, in verse and prose, and teaches Creative Writing in Durham City, where she now lives with a cat, a guinea pig and a husband. She nurses a life-long passion for Bryan Ferry and realised she needed gills while swimming in the Irish Sea off Ballyholme Beach. Her transformation into mermaid took place in 1974 during a freak disco water tank explosion. Unsurprisingly her star sign is Pisces.
In Diane Cockburnís surreal world there is a snare of wild wicked wit. Our first kiss was shocking / in a squidgy way / something to be worked at / but not by us. Another love affair is conducted with lurid flu symptoms. I know those buttock ulcers need a poultice, / but where to find organic bread at such an hour? Mr Perriam searches for new slippers lured by siren penguins flying past his window. In sand dunes a potential fling is doomed by the wrong sandwich filling. Girls who like ham go all the way, / (Kevin thinks).
Electric Mermaid will make you laugh aloud. Some poems will suddenly turn serious or menacing, others mock all attempts to tie down the wriggling narrative. In the great British nonsense tradition her magical poetry joins the work of Lear and Carroll, underneath the absurdist laughter there is a wistful echo struggling to get out.
S J LITHERLAND
Copyright © 2011 Arrowhead Press
Last modified: 10th April 2011