JonnyJAndrews

I serve on three Advisory Boards for graduate employment site Great with Disability, UK charity Ambitious About Autism, and the SHAPE Project run by the National Autistic Society and the University of York. I’ve also worked with My Plus Consulting and Employability, written a pamphlet on Autism in the Workplace which was very well received, worked with Creative Future and Burgess Autistic Trust, and regularly blog on autism and disability issues. I view poetry as another way to spread my message, raise awareness and ‘Form afresh/New truths from old malignant lies’ (a quote from my prizewinning poem, ‘Creativity’). But I also love poetry in-and-of-itself, for its lyrical genius, obscure (and at times obtuse!) technical rules, and its imagist qualities. I’ve written poetry since I was very young, on a myriad of different topics. These poems recount a lived experience of autism – a perspective which is too often ignored in favour of second-person narratives of what an autistic person seems to be thinking or feeling. I feel short, evocative snippets of this experience are the most powerful – and that the poetic form is the perfect medium to convey these.

Mirabilis

She taught me not to mix my drinks And how to read the Telegraph for free. She burned so bright, so far, so fast; Instilled in me an amorous envy.   She was a sparking diamond In that roughshod teenage land; I would have braved the gaggle for More time to grasp her hand   …

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The Secretary

Who’s that strange creature With black-rimmed glasses And braided hair And a logo imprinted On her torso, like A billboard?   She bites her claws now Before pounding her keys, Desperate to retrieve The price of a theatre ticket Or sandwich.   Suddenly she’s rather alarmed And jumps up, revealing A skirt of heaving fire. …

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The Autism Manuals

Omniscient Bibles, resting on the shelf; Professionals, professing prophecy. The silver-lined tongue-speaking Babel-shrieks Of disparate expert voices, desperate To practice preaching; preaching practice to Practitioners, harvesting their chosen field.   No sun-blessed crops, no heaven-manna here, Only congealing mud, littered with cracks; Where once green shoots sprung up – now plucked and drained, Now thistles, …

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Memory

Five pillar-obelisks, Egypto-Greek, Surround my altar of Obsidian. A blinding emerald light devours my sight Before I scramble from my mother’s womb. But then, I’m sure I made that memory up.   He shoots a frostbite dagger, past the jagged Stairwell, straight ahead. Incisors Tear my throat; my iris bleeds A strange cerulean puddle. This …

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The Trials and Tribulations of Mariella Etherington – A Piece I wrote in ten minutes at a Royal Society of Literature Masterclass

I have two master’s degrees and a doctorate but I still feel like a failure. I checked the Oxford records the other day, and a grand total of two have read my thesis on the representation of hot-air balloons in seventeenth-century French literature. Two!!! And one of those was me. I’m not going to lie …

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Bob the Househusband – A piece I wrote in ten minutes at a Royal Society of Literature Masterclass

I complain about the 70s’ era brown linoleum floor in my kitchen, but I secretly think it serves a good purpose… I haven’t washed my kitchen floor in 5 years! Was it even brown when I bought it? Perhaps the specks of dirt and muck have just pressed so far in? And I’m being generous …

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The Teacher’s Twisted Rant – A piece I wrote in ten minutes for a Royal Society of Literature Masterclass

To the class of 1977, I still hate you all. I can hear your warbling cackles in my head right now – SHUT UP!!! Especially you, Lizzie Gosling! Always staring, always tutting, always… contradicting! Weren’t you ever taught to shut your horrid little mouth until spoken to? Weren’t you ever told that what the teacher …

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Interview With A White-Collar Worker – Royal Society of Literature Masterclass Final Piece

My name is Mark Anderson. I was born on the twenty-first of February 1974, and make no apologies for it. I was born New York – that’s in the United States of America, just so you know – to Henry Anderson, extinct, and Lucinda Anderson nee Griffiths, extant. But when I hit twenty I fancied …

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Creativity

I’ve heard it said I’m some quaint, programmed husk Who cannot think beyond a rigid box. Cold facts, harsh figures, dance at my fingertips While sweet imagination slips me by.   But I can spot the spondee in a verse And signpost trochees, dactyls, and iambs; Uproot acrostics in a pyrrhic rush, Uncover the choree …

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