I watched these volumes evolve. A line here a vibration there, a quick glimpse of a raised hem to incite a little drool from us word freaks. It’s a wonderful seat to watch from, these sidelines of waiting. We are not the ones with every muscle locked in anti social poses. Leaning over light boxes, watching words dance, fonts swirling, spilling tea. Those late nights can make it hard to decide when something is finished until somehow, some day you scream ‘That’s it! we are done!’ I applaud the attention that Hi Vis Press took and endured over this release because they knew how important, how extraordinary it was going to be. To compliment the vision inside Extreme Violets, Miggy chose well. Jim Gibson & Ben Williams’ care as publishers has been paramount. I knew early on that Miggy’s choice of designer was perfect. Who better to conjure your vision than Sophie Pitchford. She understands design, how colours and images talk. What is the violet telling me? Is it the violet of magic, nobility, creativity, interrogation, of bruises and lights in public toilets for late night users? Her photographic commentaries emit weary voices.
The team of Angel’s decision to first release these poems and make it a limited edition was a worthy one. Its beautiful shell protects two books with poems that dwell between the modern and ancient. We turn down shiny black hallways with anticipation through hallucinations and dreams, while memories metaphors become flesh and blood. Extreme Violets becomes a handbook, a personal rites of passage filled with demons and horror. There is the unlikely hero and there are the beasts, and these monsters are as real as it gets. The psyche is wounded and you are the only one who can get you out of this place. You see the cracks appear and inside the anguish are moments of love, or something close to it because this has to be the reward for the writer who puts themselves through such an emotional skinning. Innocence can be so easily stripped to reveal a vulnerable aching hurt. A sack of souls that can change the course of their lives, find their voice and start their transformation, the healing, though one can never really ever be healed, more often, the wounded becomes the wounder.
As you turn the Violet pages, Mother is always near. She turns up often as does that patriarchal sneer causing the next blow up to set in. This is a hard kick to the throat kind of read. The imagery of the cast street stalk like emphatic sponges, sadness palpable, lives of dust, who chooses ones survival. Who is savior. He sees, breathes and eats sonnets for energy, to breakthrough moods and one can again breathe. Its chronology weaves without time as the poems and prose deals with a way out of life’s conditioning. Love and compassion is held by hands losing their grip, that drama Miggy permeates is so stinging, so sad at times you have to stop reading because the words have a way of swallowing you whole. It is in the remembering, the retelling that has one in a trance, his eyes are wired open, a thousand players passing through them is another vein injected.
Miggy’s voice often becomes teacher, triggering a fresh flow of thought. He reclaims the self, something he does hundreds of times over but hardly knows he is doing it. Doesn’t enter his head. Big Ego, selfless ego, fuck your ego. This is an ephemeral autobiography. The words uncontrollable, a swarm of bees live in his throat and the hierarchy has changed. A social war played out all his life of kings, queens and knaves. and while the casualties are left to wander, he knows and understands what depths you can fall into, a drop of sugar water, a tongue struggles to lick, he knows all the tricks, he has a story to tell you. The interlocutor is poised, are you ready?
“Swallow the gallows, pull the hatch, fall through the trap door, ride the black ox roughshod through the orchard”
Miggy Angel is founder and editor of Burning House Press, he hosts poetry events in Nottingham and is one half of spoken word project We Bleed Ink
If you are lucky enough to have the limited edition, keep it for ritualistic reflection, grab the paperback to rip into daily.