The Great Comet of 1996 Foretells - Konstandinos Mahoney
Guest judge Kirsten Irving said: We never learn the full text of the prophecy in ‘The Great Comet of 1996 Foretells’, but the collection is littered with myth, modern hearsay, totems and transformation. Mahoney brings the characters of Greek legend into the modern day, seeking sex, closure, companionship. Fluidity and elasticity shape these poems, from the playful timebends that place Tyburn hangings next to the Millennium Bridge to geographical shifts, dollying camera shots of memories and the permeable border between life and death.
This collection wriggles with impatience to get going and explore by itself. There are nods to deschooling, finding oneself in random encounters and getting caught in a tsunami of people and life on the streets of Manhattan. I responded at once to its barrelling energy and sensory cascade.
The male body is unveiled again and again, but unlike a classical statue its pimples and imperfections are not omitted. With each shift and translation, we see more of the speaker, from their desires to their pains and flaws. Whether the memory is of loud family squabbles or the strange broken link between a boy and his bird, here and now or thousands of miles away, the colours and tastes are bright and uncorrected.
Konstandinos (Dino) Mahoney, based in London, and the Greek island of Aegina, won publication of his debut collection,Tutti Frutti, in the Sentinel Poetry Book Competition, is a winner of the Poetry Society’s Stanza Competition, and a winner of Live Canon's Poetry Collection Competition 2021. Dino teaches creative writing at the University of Hong Kong and he runs the Chiswick and Barnes Stanza.