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Biographical Note

Janette Ayachi (1982 -) is a Scottish-Algerian poet with a BA Combined Honours degree in English Literature & Film & Media from Stirling University, and an MSc in Creative Writing from Edinburgh University. She is published in many literary journals & anthologies from presses such as Polygon; Seren, Jessica Kingsley, Salt, Luath Press and upcoming in Bloomsbury.

She is the author of two pamphlets Pauses at Zebra Crossings & A Choir of Ghosts and a hardback children’s chapter book The Mermaid, The Girl and The Gondola illustrated by Fabio Perla. Her first full poetry collection Hand Over Mouth Music (Pavilion: University of Liverpool Press) won the Saltire Poetry Book of the Year Literary Award 2019. She has been an Arts & Culture guest critic for BBC Radio Scotland & commissioned by BBC4 to write for a radio documentary. In 2019 she appeared on BBC television in the art series Loop, in 2020 on The Edinburgh Show and Damian Barr’s The Big Scottish Book Club. She is currently writing two books; another poetry collection, QuickFire, Slow Burning and Lonerlust a memoir about travelling alone searching landscapes, desire & human connection.


in conversation: Janette Ayachi in conversation with Wanda MacGregor – YouTube


Pellets of pollen mark the air
      a maelstrom of dust motes
             thinning florets of nectar
as the sunflower shifts
      its heliotropic head
for the incongruous mouths of bees
             they stab at the centre
 substrate fur with their femurs
      and dip into undiscovered galaxies
             as starlight works its way
up the waxy stalk
      and a silver tide washes
             fire into its stomach;
circles the heart with explosives.