The Oxford English Dictionary defines poetry as: the terrified, exhilarated gasp of a moth that has just realised that it chases lightbulbs because it is afraid of the dark; the brief, incandescent stomach glow when one remembers that actually there are a couple of biscuits left, on the top shelf at the back; a whole packet of crayons being chewed up and spat off a cliff in a silly rage; laughing on the moon because someone farted in their spacesuit; the braying of MPs who should know better remixed into a dubstep lullaby; safety in an uncivilised room; danger in a tame room; a patchwork quilt made out of guts (specifically your guts); one more whisky when most people have left; meaningful brain vomit; meaningless psychic dribble; metaphorical elephant identity politics; a candle that you swear should have burned down by now but stubbornly continues to flicker; graffiti scrawled on mediocrity; the act of cackling rhythmically at a particularly delectable sky; doing old things in a new way; whisking up five jigsaws and accidentally bodging a sixth; a busload of basket cases playing charades on the way to a beach that no-one is quite sure really exists; fucking off a tedious engagement to suck strawberries in a river; quitting your job because you’ve invented something called a frog piano and you’re one hundred per cent certain that it’s going to change everything; coughing up a revelation; whistling some medicine; frying your neuroses and serving them up on a Thomas the Tank Engine plate; the last sweet at the bottom of the bag, except the sweet is a secret.

Webster’s Dictionary defines performance poetry as all of the above except while wearing a cape.

I never intended for my poetry collection, PANIC!, to exist. But I’m exceedingly glad that it does. I hope you like it.

– Stef Mo

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