A sequence of short features focusing on the five individual young poets included in the recently-launched collection Rising Stars published by Otter-Barry Books.
Abigail Cook is a SLAMbassadors-winning performance poet from London, and currently a student at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
The opening poem in Abigail’s section of Rising Stars:
Some of Cook’s other spoken (and sung) work can be found on Soundcloud.
As that opening poem suggests (‘My body is the garden I grew up in’ … ‘My hair is the ocean’… ‘My shoulders are bird’s wings’) Cook’s poetry is rich in metaphor.
‘Storm of a Girl’ begins
I have two storms inside me
I call them my mother and father.
Whereas much young writing in this style can be overly abstract and lacking in concrete detail, Cook conjures up the experience of adolescence extremely vividly – especially those first times of being away from (but still close by) the family home, staying up late under starry skies.
In the second poem, ‘Brother’
we lay on the driveway
and counted every star
in the sky
plucked them and placed them in our pockets
there to light the way for the darkness ahead
Again, on ‘Night-time in the garden’
We wash ourselves in raindrops
sleep covered in leaves,
count every star in the sky,
watch the world go by.
Cook’s final poem ‘Summer Day’ is her strongest, perfectly capturing that best of all coming-of-age sensations: a powerful sense of benign, innocently-equipped omnipotence.
The summer was long and hot.
We sat outside in our pyjamas
whilst the world ended.
We spoke as if the sun would never rise again.
We spoke with laughter dripping from our lips,
trying to be braver,
and decided we would save the world.
With sticks as our swords
and sharpened ends
we saved the day