Highly Commended: Emily Cooper, 'Garlicking'

Highly Commended: Emily Cooper,


Emily Cooper’s poem ‘Garlicking’ has been Highly Commended in the 2020 Newcastle Poetry Competition.




Until I was an adult I always burnt the garlic –

it charcoals so quickly in hot oil.

To temper the heat you must first add onions,

perhaps some carrots and celery. If you choose

to add the garlic first never look away.

Soon you add the tomatoes.

A quick cooling is civilising. Such as a swim

in a cold sea after you have had a row.

The sea and tears have the same composition,

they taste the same.


Consider wildgarlicking your sourdough.

It will not rise. The antiseptic qualities of the garlic

interfere with the propagation of the yeast.

Their similar wildnesses do nothing to cohere

the two. You must add larger volumes of yeast. Allow it

to bubble to excess. Give longer rising times. Be gentle

but not overly considerate. Use the better basket.


Raw garlic thins the blood.

My Grandfather swore by it. A garlic clove in the vagina

is a treatment for thrush. Be forewarned of the lingering

metallic taste of garlic in your mouth. Do not be alarmed.

It seems obvious, all these things are connected.


Emily S Cooper has been published in the Stinging Fly, Banshee, Hotel and Poetry Ireland Review. In 2019 she took part in Poetry Ireland Introductions and was a recipient of the Next Generation Award by the Arts Council of Ireland. Her debut pamphlet comes out with Makina Books this year.