JP Seabright is a queer disabled writer living in London, UK. They have two solo pamphlets published: Fragments from Before the Fall (Beir Bua Press, 2021); No Holds Barred (Lupercalia Press, 2022); and the collaborative works: GenderFux (Nine Pens Press, 2022) and MACHINATIONS (Trickhouse Press, 2022).
A hybrid chapbook of poetry and photography, The Insomniac’s Alamanac was published in early 2023 by kith books specifically to raise funds for the Albert Kennedy Trust (UK) and The Trevor Project (US) supporting trans and queer siblings with homelessness and mental health. Traum/A, another hybrid chapbook, exploring the causes and symptoms of trauma, will be published by fifthwheel press in May 2023.
JP is an Editor of Full House Literary Magazine, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Forward Prize. More of their work can be found at https://jpseabright.com and on their YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/@jpseabright and via Twitter @errormessage.
What does your memory smell like?
I’ll be honest, I found this difficult to answer – with either a factual, poetic or witty response – I think because I don’t associate thoughts and memories with smell, but more with sound. The music, or sound, in my head is pretty near constant. Memories are easily triggered by a snatch of song, or an emotional connection to the sound of a place, in both city and countryside. This could be anything from the whisper of wind in the leaves to the rattling of a train on its tracks. This can take me back to a random yet specific moment at any point in the past. This can be quite useful as a poet, but it does mean I have constant fragments of thoughts and feelings in my writing notes which may not go anywhere.
What do you want your future to taste like?
Another tricky question! Metallically bright, yet sweet. A little like honey glazed salmon or brie. I prefer a savoury taste but with a tang of sweetness, like bitter chocolate. I’d be more than happy if my future tasted like bitter chocolate.
Favourite line of a poem right now?
A line from Joelle Taylor’s C+NTO:
“ men are broken things breaking things.”
The way she delivers it when performing, just astonishing.
The poet/the poems that give you life?
I read as much as I can, though haven’t ‘studied’ poetry since at Uni, and did little of it there, as it wasn’t my main interest then. In the last two years I’ve tried to catch up and read as much as I have time for – mainly contemporary poets as well as some of the modern classics. That said, little has ‘blown me away’ and I like to be surprised and challenged by what I read, and listen to. There have been lots of brilliant writers I’ve read recently, but the one that has most ‘blown me away’ is Joelle Taylor’s C+NTO, closely followed by Gail McConnell’s The Sun Is Open, and Carmen Maria Machado’s short stories collection Her Body And Other Parties, and lots of Olivia Laing’s non-fiction. I always read poetry alongside prose – fiction and non-fiction – and usually have at least 5 books on the go at once.
What is your why?
My why is very pragmatic rather than prosaic. Why not? We’ve only got one short life (hopefully with some honey sweetness in it, not just the bitter aftertaste) so why not do the things that make us happy, or provide some sense of achievement, however fleeting or potentially meaningless in the scheme of things it may be. Like Mary Olivers’ often quoted but often misunderstood lines from her poem The Summer Day, this ‘wild and precious life’ is all we have. There’s no need to be ‘productive’, to focus on ‘deliverables’ (and I say this as a project manager!) but to pursue enjoyment where it can be found, and for me that includes writing. As someone who didn’t expect to reach the age of 30, let alone 50, I’m happy to be finally writing now, and if anyone wants to read it, or publish it, then that’s great too. That’s enough why for me.
Earlier incarnations of three prose poems in my forthcoming chapbook Traum/A were first published in the Arc Magazine Prose Poetry Anthology 2022: Traum/A, Falling Slowly Upwards and Special K.
The version shared below are the updated versions from Traum/A, published exclusively here.
Traum/A is an abecedarian catalogue of experimental, visual and prose poetry on the causes and symptoms of trauma. Despite the heavy subject matter, many pieces are playful and not afraid to poke fun at the author. It will be published 16th May 2023 by fifthwheelpress.