The Man Who Looked After Suicidal Penguins on the Abandoned Beaches of the World


Legna Rodriquez Iglesias was born in 1984 and really reminds me of many exciting poets of her generation in the UK like Heather Phillipson or Jack Underwood – the long, memorable titles; the mixture of almost childlike simplicity with complicated ironies. This is a poem that on one level, pleads with a friend not to kill himself. But it’s funny. And it seems to me to romanticise him, mock him, admonish him and comfort him all at once.

There were some interesting conversations during our workshop about Sargasso weed; whether ‘the happy bottle’ was alcohol (or had a message in it); whether ‘caress’ or ‘pet’ might be better verbs than stroke; and whether the final reconciliation the man needs is with himself or his family and friends. Also whether to use melancholy or melancholic. It seems they are both acceptable adjectives, so in the end we voted on our preferred sound (given we had to use the word 5 times).

Clare Pollard

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