Contributors Issue 21: ‘Shortly afterwards I realised the complete uselessness of a PhD, and how having one alienates you from 99.9% of the population.’

Summer 2019 – Issue 21

Theme: Last Stop, First Stop.

We asked our contributors: Tell The Sigh Press about a last stop that you came to understand was a first stop.

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BARET MAGARIAN is of Armenian extraction, from London, where he worked as a freelance journalist contributing features and reviews to The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Observer and The New Statesman. He directed fringe theatre and cabaret in London and Edinburgh. On moving to Italy he was variously employed as a lecturer in creative writing, as a video actor, as a nude model, and as a translator and musician. His book of short stories Melting Point was recently published in Italian translation and will come out later this June in English with the independent press SALT.

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AFTER I FINISHED MY PHD I FELT RELIEVED, euphoric. Spent. I thought: now I’ve really done it, done something with my life. Shortly afterwards I realised the complete uselessness of a PhD, and how having one alienates you from 99.9% of the population. That last stop in my academic journey—after many delays, missed connections, time and emotion shifts, meltdowns, internal strikes, dissents, scramblings around for misplaced (metaphorical) luggage, after many exhausted alightings and departures and map readings—was actually the first stop in my “real life” journey. And I slowly came to understand how irrelevant for the most part learning and thinking are when it comes to the business of living, and negotiating all the wonderful minefields that life has to offer.


ALEX JOSEPHY lives in London and Italy. Her chapbook Other Blackbirds was published by Cinnamon Press in 2016 and her collection White Roads, with poems set in the Val D’Orcia, by Paekakariki Press in 2018. Her poems have won awards such as the McLellan Prize 2014 and the Battered Moons Prize 2013, have been placed in the Hippocrates Prize and in the Troubadour Prize Top 20, and have appeared in magazines and anthologies in England and Italy. She was poet in residence at Rainham Hall, Essex, in June 2016 and in Markham Square, London, in 2017. In 2018, she contributed poems about bumblebees to Fifty Bees, an arts and ecology collaboration.

WHEN MY YOUNGEST CHILD LEFT HOME, I thought “Job done!” I’d always imagined settling down peacefully in London. Instead, I now try to keep up with the expanding family by travelling between three countries—Italy, the UK and the USA. It’s exhausting sometimes, but never boring!

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