'Talisman' was commended in the 2018 National Poetry Competition.

From the judges: "Though its appearance on the page is as prose, it isn’t long before we realize we are in the hands of a poem, the stream of consciousness mode allowing for the effortless but magical poetic leaps between images, though they coalesce and build into a sort of inferno. The great scholar of letters, Janet Altman, suggests we cannot understand letters without understanding distance. There are so many distances exploited in this beautiful letter-poem – the distance between the speaker’s perception of reality and reality, the distance between the writer and the reader. In the end it is the reader who ends up holding the talisman." - Kei Miller

Talisman

by Vasiliki Albedo

Last summer they burnt down the thicket and everything here looks so sad. I’m sure I’ve told you the pills you prescribed flatten me and I don’t feel right. It’s now been two months since I stopped. I’ve resolved to determine how long I can hold out. I hope you don’t read this as grandiose, but I’ve been learning to master my own biochemistry. There’s a slew of literature on autogenic training and cognitive methods to practice. Have I told you I set my parents’ room on fire when I was twelve? I lit up a tissue to see if I could run to the bathroom before it collapsed through my fingers. You’d probably say the impulse is rooted in a desire to control. Just like you were gripped by the EEG’s beta-band oscillations, and laughed that the illness was vandalizing me. Now when I feel the electrical forest densifying you come to mind. My cognitive therapist told me my body will need time to adjust. In the mean-time I’m making plans to activate my wasted potential. I will go into business. I will. Though she insisted that my value is independent of achievement. She insisted. Did I tell you when my father was three my grandmother burnt one of his fingernails off with her iron to stop him from nagging? (Don’t laugh!) Overactive neurons you said. I imagined a dendrite inferno. The forest thickening to the rate of my breath. Stop. But you couldn’t stop. In the examination room you put my hand on your crotch. I laughed and pretended to not understand. My father didn’t believe me like I knew he wouldn’t, and I bet you were betting on that. Sometimes I wonder if I dreamt it. When I set the kitchen on fire by watching oil boil over onto the stove, my dad came running down and put it out with a small, damp towel. I remember that time you expanded on the tensile underpinnings of gratification. You said my compulsion with fire had to do with a need for destruction and wanting to jump ahead to the end. Lately, what a disaster. Everything has been coming apart. First, the zipper holding the cushion in broke. Then the furnace burnt off its circuit. And now the bell won’t ring. The electrician spent two hours trying but he couldn’t fix it. I told you before– things are not made to last. (Low frustration-tolerance, stop catastrophising!). Wounds surface like inbuilt faults. Again I feel, like I’m not being heard. I give you this letter to keep. It is a talisman, from the Greek telesma: religious rite, from telos: result, end. I am addressing it to you in your symbolic capacity of suppressor. But isn’t it funny, because this is how I can hear myself.

The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote “a more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”.  Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally.  Today it has more than 4000 members worldwide and publishes The Poetry Review.

With innovative education and commissioning programmes and a packed calendar of performances, readings and competitions, The Poetry Society champions poetry for all ages.

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TONIGHT at the @PoetrySociety Cafe the Farrago Easter SLAM! with a brilliant feature line up including Artin Selimi, @Anna_McCrory , @Clive_Oseman & Leanne Shorley & an open to ANY poet SLAM! with chocolate eggs & Chirpy Chicks for prizes! A few slots left-message to reserve one. Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Delighted to be reading at the @PoetrySociety‘s Poetry Cafe in support of the launch of Richard Aronowitz’s debut poetry collection, Life Lessons, published by @PalewellPress, on April 29th. Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Ceri Amphlett, whose wild artwork is currently on display in the Poetry Cafe, is running a hands-on poetry book-making workshop: experiment with ink, hand lettering and mark-making to create books as unique containers for your poems. 25 Apr, more info at poetrysociety.org.uk/event/hot-dog-… Retweeted by The Poetry Society

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Today 7pm! Award-winning poet Kate Wakeling reads adult poetry plus children's poetry in Studio Morison’s enchanted children’s library at the @NOWGallery Greenwich, London. For all ages, drop-ins welcome, plus there's an open bar. Details here bit.ly/WakelingNow

test Twitter Media - Today 7pm! Award-winning poet Kate Wakeling reads adult poetry plus children's poetry in Studio Morison’s enchanted children’s library at the @NOWGallery Greenwich, London.  For all ages, drop-ins welcome, plus there's an open bar. Details here https://t.co/xBHvN3o8hA https://t.co/36zpW9chpH

Listen: Seamus Heaney celebrated - The Poetry Programme rte.ie/culture/2019/0…

🚨New poetry challenge about Mary Wollstonecraft!🚨 Who is Mary? A treasure-hunter, philosopher & Frankenstein's gran. With Mary on the Green we're challenging poets aged 5-25 to respond to her life and works for publication and prizes! Find out more: bit.ly/marychallenge Retweeted by The Poetry Society

In honour of the baby robins who hatched this very morning in the Keats-Shelley Twitter Shed, Emily Dickinson's The Robin is One. Read it here: bit.ly/KSRobins (NB We didn't take the photo. We're leaving the nest alone, save for scattering some mealworms nearby). Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Today is #pocketpoem Day Clip out or print this poem and carry it with you to share throughout your day. 'I know you only invited me in for a coffee, but' by Natalie @redbaronski (Natalie Shaw) poetrysociety.org.uk/poems/i-know-y…

test Twitter Media - Today is #pocketpoem Day 

Clip out or print this poem and carry it with you to share throughout your day.

'I know you only invited me in for a coffee, but' by Natalie @redbaronski (Natalie Shaw) 

https://t.co/Wv6oGlFsZA https://t.co/c2zxCdnyja

Poetry in Your Pocket Day: 'Song of Myself' (Verse 52) by Walt Whitman eu.courierpostonline.com/story/life/201…