Janette Ayachi’s debut succeeds in expanding the field of what contemporary Scottish Poetry can say. Tender poems about motherhood sit next to reflections on Ayachi’s Scottish and Algerian roots while desire is treated with a frankness that is as intriguing as it is irresistible.
'An ultrasound of the contemporary lost soul.' Poet Janette Ayachi brilliant on A LINE MADE BY WALKING @BBCRadioScot
'No-one reading her poetry could doubt Ayachi’s determination to experience life as acutely as possible. Despite the prevalence of ghostly figures and spiritual voices, her poetry smacks of living life to the full and encapsulates the world from a whole host of different angles.'
Quite a number of your poems wrestle against difficult and intense feelings, particularly love, which you seem to have quite a combative relationship with. How has poetry helped you in or out of love?
Janette: Love has helped me in and out of poetry really, though the anguish that you notice is often soothed by the therapy of writing- you really understand a situation more once you have stripped it down to the marrow and sucked at the core of what the heart desperately desires. I fall in love very easily, with people, sunsets and songs- a lot of the pain arrives in determining finality from things you attach yourself to, though honestly, sometimes it feels like I have conjured the love just to be able to write about it- but I am rarely aware of this at the time.
Moving and evocative poetry (by @janetteayachi) and conversation in Edinburgh on @BBCRadio4:
'Out There Anthology is an uneven collection of poetry and short fiction. I loved all of the poems. I’m really into poetry just now so the poems scattered throughout the collection were like finding a bar of chocolate hidden away in a coat pocket. My favourites were the poems by Janette Ayachi, Carol Ann Duffy and Jenni Fagan. '
"I sat in the Supper Room at the Town Hall as Janette Ayachi started to read, and I felt the world open out before me. Her poems ranged from Venice, to Barcelona, to the Adriatic Sea, to airports, ‘where the the choked heart unclogs itself.’ She spoke with the uninhibited wanderlust of someone who is utterly in love with travel, and by the time her reading ended, I thought my own wanderlust couldn’t get any more pronounced."
"Both imaginative and unusually rich in imagery, Janette Ayachi's full-bodied poems show clear promise"
"A history of 'charred loves' evolves here in the nervy, attentive poems of Janette Ayachi. New York, LA, Barcelona, Las Vegas and Amsterdam are the haunted rooms that the poet explores. Their various cultures shape her forms and images, but it is the relationships that sustain interest, redolent with passion and its aftermaths."
Amy Wack, Editor of Seren
"Out There Anthology is an uneven collection of poetry and short fiction. I loved all of the poems. I’m really into poetry just now so the poems scattered throughout the collection were like finding a bar of chocolate hidden away in a coat pocket. My favourites were the poems by Janette Ayachi, Carol Ann Duffy and Jenni Fagan."