Cocooned: A Book Review of Russell Jones’ ‘Cocoon’

Book Review

cocoon, russell jones

Cocoon is a grand setup of a place – or, in this case, places – where things begin. It is a collection of recollections from the past, often from childhood through the present, and set in places that are not always the best (“with tracks real as death;” “the streets littered in heads / spiked during the commute”), but Jones knows how to inspire awe.

Most of these are small poems, easy to read, each fitting lightly in a palm, and yet revolving around the world with “the pink river dolphins in peru,” a “lyceum,” a “kintsugi” and other wonderful things. Four of the poems in Cocoon appeared earlier in Jones’ chapbook Dark Matters (Tapsalteerie, 2018) – one of these, “An Official Guide to Surviving the Invasion,” which is also a comic poem among several others (now a characteristic property of Jones poetry), is so correctly timed, now more than ever, that the whole collection becomes timeless in its own manners.

shattered bottles





those glistening fields

– “cat out the bag”

Touching majorly the notes of philosophy, humour and nostalgia, this new collection filled with a vast range of characters, while bleak, also emanates hope in its very own ways. And so, Cocoon deserves every bit of praise for all it slowly, gradually achieves page by page. It is a collection ready enough “to make a sound in a world of noise.”

Also, read it to say hello to numerous types of birds, animals and other organisms. Say hi!

Cocoon by Russell Jones (Tapsalteerie; £10.00) is out on 15 April. Here!

R Jones HDRussell Jones has published six collections of poetry and edited three poetry anthologies. He is the deputy editor of Scotland’s only sci-fi magazine and was the UK’s first Pet Poet Laureate. Russell also writes books for children, young adults and supposedly-grown-up adults. He has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh and occasionally blogs here.

jayant-kashyapJayant Kashyap is the author of Survival (Clare Songbirds, 2019), and a Pushcart Prize-nominee. Among other achievements, one of his poems was featured in the Healing Words awards ceremony, and several others won places in Young Poets Network’s challenges. He is an amateur photographer, a book reviewer and often a food blogger.

We’re publishing Issue 06 weekly, in parts. We’re doing so to keep our readers, and ourselves, interested and occupied. We need to #StaySafe in time of this pandemic, and we can only do this together — by staying inside. (We’re also always open for submissions.)

Russell Jones — 2 Poems


Triple Raise Against a Flat Call


When you said you were going, I said

How far? and wrapped you up, a bet

against the outside. You looked back, checked

I meant it. I did. I mean everything.


Table-quiet, I fold away

our life, each indecision

barely worth cashing,

and realise the play.



we spoiled in another sun – you, me, ganesha perched

in teak, sawn-tusk held like a halved banana,

withering in the summer, transformed – we said –

by tonic spliced, ice cubes kept from last year’s

heat wave, when we tended the plants like shivas

with watering cans, watched them die in rebellion: oh,

we gods of mediocrity, barely able to feed

the parking meter or pass a week without burning

in the burnished temples we build

R Jones HD

Russell Jones is a writer and editor based in Edinburgh, Scotland. He has published 5 poetry collections and edited 3 anthologies. He is deputy editor of Scotland’s only sci-fi magazine and is the UK Pet Poet Laureate. Russell has a PhD in Creative Writing from The University of Edinburgh. Find him here.

  • Featured image, by Amar Saeed.