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Ness Owen

Moon Jellyfish Can Barely Swim

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  • £9

This book will be released in April 2023.

Pre-orders are charged at time of order and the book will be posted to you as soon as it becomes available.

UK postage is 99 pence per order.


‘Sometimes in a writer’s life an image arrives, unasked, and inhabits us, breeding connections through every compartment of our minds. This new collection by Ness Owen feels like one of those, with childhood memory, family, the politics of language, sense of place and an urgent environmental concern beyond human boundaries interwoven and embodied by the sight of that most liminal thing, a stranded jellyfish. It seems the slightest of lives, adrift, less flesh than water. And yet, like these poems, it can sting.’ – Philip Gross


'Ness Owen’s tour de force set along the shoreline documents encounters with jellyfish against a backdrop of sea butterflies, razor shells and ospreys. Owen’s use of form and feeling combine to create a collection which rewards the reader with a mesmerising portrait of a much-loved landscape brimming with startling imagery.' – Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch


Moon jellyfish live a life adrift, relying on the current to take them where they need to go. They are the ultimate survivors and one of the most successful organisms of animal life. So how do they thrive in the open ocean when they can barely swim?

Rooted in her island home, Ness Owen’s second collection explores what it is to subsist with whatever the tides bring in poems that journey from family to politics, womanhood and language. In the ebb and flow of an ever-changing world, starlings fall from the sky, votes are cast, a village is drowned, a petrified forest is revealed and messages wash up in seaworn bottles on the shoreline, waiting for answers that will not come.


Ness Owen lives on Ynys Môn (Anglesey) in Wales where she writes poetry between lecturing and farming. She has been widely published in journals and anthologies including in Planet Magazine, Mslexia, The Cardiff Review, The Interpreter’s House, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Atlanta Review, and Poetry Wales. Her first collection Mamiaith (Mother Tongue) was published in 2019. Her poems have been translated into five different languages. She has recently taken part in Ù O’ | SUO, a poetry exchange project between Wales and Vietnam, supported by the British Council and co-edited the A470, a bilingual poetry anthology about the infamous road running from the north to the south of Wales.