Phoebe Stuckes is a writer from West Somerset now living in London. She has been a winner of the Foyle Young Poets award four times and is a former Barbican Young Poet. Her writing has appeared in Poetry Review, The Rialto, The North and Ambit among others. Her debut pamphlet, Gin & Tonic was shortlisted for The Michael Marks Award 2017. She has been awarded an Eric Gregory Award and The Geoffrey Dearmer Prize. Her first full length collection, Platinum Blonde will be published by Bloodaxe Books in 2020.
THE ONE GIRL GREMLIN
Her first pamphlet since her debut full collection Platinum Blonde sees Phoebe Stuckes’ trademark poems of high humour and hubris take on a dreamier, more abstract, quality.
Perhaps the ’wise-cracking party girl’ of her earlier work is sensing that, for a while at least, the party is postponed. There isn’t much worth staying up late for any more in these poems. Instead, our character lies awake in bed long into the night or wakes up into a pre-dawn world they barely recognise. And the strange new rural setting they wake to is inviting and also threatening and therefore not to be trusted.
Phoebe Stuckes remains one of the most exciting horrifying hilarious unsettling poets writing today. The One Girl Gremlin is of course an absolute triumph!
The truth feels repetitive like if you were to fall down a hole in the street and hurt yourself, once, perhaps they’d say that’s terrible, I’m so sorry you fell down the hole in the street, well done for getting out. But it keeps on happening to you. Pretty soon, your friends are talking at parties, saying things like; she’s always falling down holes, she walks home alone, at night, on the bad roads, she’s just really into unstable ground. None of the holes I fell down were my boyfriends. One of them was someone else’s boyfriend. If you were feeling cruel, you could say I brought it on myself. The hole’s real girl-friend put on a white dress and married him, even though I told her everything. I try and warn people about the holes, I try and know where they are at various events, holes ordering pints at the poetry reading, holes as your friends other friend, your lecturer, the hole, working on the role of the void in work by another hole. No one seems to listen. Sometimes they say we’re not all holes in the ground you know. Or you probably asked for it, you must love falling down holes. Why else would you stay? Didn’t you tell the hole you loved it there even though you were scratching at the walls. I don’t know what to tell you except maybe the holes aren’t part of the street. Maybe they’re stacked on top of each otherand when I hit rock bottom in this one, the next one is waiting to fall through.
Platinum Blonde is Phoebe Stuckes’ debut collection. Whether wildly or wryly funny, each poem presents an episode in the up-and-down life of the wise-cracking party girl.
On the surface, this is a world of dancefloors and bathrooms, glitter and girls, love and disappointment, but beneath the laughter and antics these are self-questioning poems. Poems about self-belief, self-image, vulnerability and insecurity, loneliness, trauma and survival.