Friday Feelings is a collection of poetic thought, wit, wisdom and anecdote that takes the reader on a journey from dusty Huddersfield day-dreams to the heat of the Indian monsoon. This is Harry Jivenmukta’s debut poetry collection on paper following a prolific writing history that includes three novels, innumerable short stories and poetry collections (see www.loosewords.org) as well as 67 workbooks for KS3 and KS4.
Harry’s words are presented here together with newly commissioned and specially-selected artworks from the artist Janet Devine. In her abstract explorations of form and nature Janet’s art provides a bold, colourful yet subtle compliment to Harry’s poetry, allowing the reader to draw further metaphors and meaning from the text.
Written throughout a year of attendance at the Write Stuff writing group, the poems offer us a glimpse into the many lives and seasons of Harry Jivenmukta. From cold imaginings of a Russian winter via Dostoyevsky’s scratchy pen, to remembrances of life under the Panjabi sun, to fantastical encounters in Baku, Dal Lake, Kashmir, Mumbai, Moscow…
Harry has travelled far and his perceptive vision reminds us not to take life too seriously, to find pleasure in the ordinary. In Harry’s world: missing the bus becomes an opportunity to catch the rainbow; the late arrival of the Write Stuff facilitator offers a chance for existential philosophy; a common weed is heralded above the pampered rose; a pile of vomit is “a work of art from the night before”.
There is little pretence here – Harry does not stand on ceremony as he highlights the futility of relationships, pointless arguments, unwholesome pretences, and the silliness of society. With Walter Mitty-esque panache Harry is his own superhero: a crusader against benefit bureaucracy keenly observing the repetitive madness of mere mortals and lamenting the conventions that prevent us from truly speaking our minds.
Dreams blend into real life as Harry communicates his zest for life, and whilst there is often humour (not least in the hilarious Vegetable Girl episodes) there is also pathos, revealing insights into loss, sanity, previous traumas, as well as wider reflections on love, friendship and fitting-in. This is Harry’s truth and these are his Friday Feelings – a unique collection that leaves us with the impression that Harry is happy being distinctly triangular or even octagonal in a square world.
Friday Feelings by Harry Jivenmukta (featuring artwork by Janet Devine) will be launched in Leeds today at the Love Arts Festival Word Emporium. Also featuring the Baggage Handlers, Rommi Smith, Samuel Moore, an Open Mic + the Real Junk Food Project for #WorldFoodDay sustainable healthy niceness.