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Rushika Wick

“My head is mostly full of nonsense viewed from a constellation of all the high-rises (#solidarity) in poverty London. There are moments of focus on objects in the bin & objects in the sky. Everyone is invited.”

Rushika Wick is a poet, doctor and Children’s Rights advocate who is interested in how social structures and relationships impact the body. She has performed with the Cold Lips Magazine collective in London, Rough Night Press (Amsterdam) and Skylark (Norwich) communities. Her work has been published  in literary magazines including Ambit, Datableed and Tentacular and within anthologies including Fool-saint (Tangerine Press), Alter Egos (Bad Betty Press) and Smear (Andrews McMeel).


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!


Diaries Of An Artist In Hiding
I am the president
I tell myself out loud in the car on the way to work as a social experiment,
I am the president
I am the president by the end of the journey I am taller, fatter,
dreaming of an André Breton republic and Cuban cigars.
The broader view is my poetry of hagiography,
I am becoming beatific,
rise above most things –
a swallow filled with helium
soon to feel altitude sickness.
Really the experiment is myself,
there are no controls that I am aware of
it’s a pretty state of affairs
can do what I want when I want and so on.
I am Matisse with a charcoal
drawing on the walls from my sick bed today.
The flu is viral and I am kept inside
a glass cloche of yellow and pink spring blooms.
More work is needed I tell myself,
only the lines, the forms, the space can reveal the truth absolute
straight from a Russian Vodka God or my dancing hands,
no deviation from the discipline of the line.
Charcoal dust falls to the concrete floor.
I am romantic on Tuesday
a love letter from Camille to Rodin
filled with the language of marble,
flowering fingers, fractures,
scatters of light picking out human form.
Rasps and rifflers fall from cramped hands
warming each other beneath dust sheets.
Most days I have concealed myself so well
that I am free to lie in a dark space,
expecting nothing but the occasional
levitation of a knife or
corkscrewing of a bird feeder.
I am becoming the weather.
I hear of snow on the radio,
next day it falls on cherry blossom,
petals and ice confuse.
Oh the joys of such freedom!
This morning I am a badger
I have an earthen dwelling and have bitten you for coming too close
unheeding of the clear warnings.
Soon I will piss en plein air and
find some unwanted dog food and
be happy.
The experiment is boundless
like the imagination of a new subspecies
of giant squid,
immeasurable and brilliant,
it’s owner perceived as a delicacy.
‘Afterlife As Trash introduces us to a thrilling new voice, clear-eyed and tender in its witnessing of our mercurial existence and that of our planet.I delighted in the assured, playful pyrotechnics of language and the wry humour that accompanied poems of deep-thinking and serious intent. “As I am both living and dying every day I wish only for / the extraordinary” a speaker maintains, encouraging us to do the same.’
Shazea Quraishi


One of Rushika’s recent published works features in the last Poetry Review of 2020. Her poem Hair is available to read for free on the Poetry Society website.

Rushika was also one of four poets (Graham Mort, Meredi Ortega and Jason Allen-Paisant) to perform alongside Review editor Emily Berry at the launch event in January 2021. 


Alter-Egos (Bad Betty Press, 2019)
Fool-Saint (Tangerine Press, 2020)
Smear (Andrews McMeel, 2020)
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Verve Poetry Press 2021 Releases


Verve is beyond proud to announce that we will be publishing 21 new pamphlets and collections in 2021 from accomplished and new voices. No matter your taste in poetry, you are bound to find a new favourite.

See our list of releases below:


Continue reading Verve Poetry Press 2021 Releases