Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Dark Mountain Issue 10: Uncivilised Poetics

The Darkness Around Us Is Deep

Dark Mountain: Uncivilised Poetics is out now, including my essay, ‘What Kingdom Without Common Feasting?’ based on the work of the late County Durham poet, William Martin. The blurb at the back of the book poses a simple but (should-be) shocking abstract:

‘We are living through an age of turmoil: climate change, extinction, failed economics, stagnant politics. In such testing times, what’s the point of poetry? Uncivilised Poetics brings together a unique gathering of writers and artists to tackle this question.’

Since its inception in 2009, The Dark Mountain Project has been a steady stream of water in a drying world. Bold, confrontational, thought-provoking, the editors have never shied away from destabilising literature, artworks and commentary designed to force our eye on a changing world. Six years ago, many of the issues they raised – across their website, at their events and in their books and other publications – felt very much on the fringe. Pre-Trump, Pre-Brexit, pre-alarming climate change projections, these things felt incompatible. Now, in an ‘alt-right’, ‘post-truth’, ubiquitous-smartphone-use, hello-the-new-normal world, their work feels, well, compatible, urgent.

The current volume alone, despite a steep price tag (you’ll appreciate why when you get your mitts on it: it’s big and it’s beautiful), is worth purchasing just for poems, essays, artworks and spoken word recordings from contributors like Vahni Capildeo, John Kinsella, Nancy Campbell, Robert Montgomery, Harriet Fraser, Mark-bloody-Rylance(!) and many, many others.

I urge you to invest the money in a copy. Switch off your phone and computer, kill this blog, make a pot of tea, and be absorbed in this staggering anthology.

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