EPIZOOTICS! Issue 2 Edited by Caitlin Stobie Harrison Sullivan Matthew Carbery Peter Adkins
Published August 2017 https://epizooticszine.wordpress.com/ Cover Art: ‘rendered2’ by Bethan Hughes ‘Hollow Lifefield’, ‘Fathomsuns’, and ‘The Poles’ are printed courtesy of Suhrkamp Verlag. ‘Specific Inherited Mutations’ was previously published in Eyewear. All rights reserved. This journal is protected by copyright. The copyright © remains with the named author. The moral right of the journal’s contributors have been asserted. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without prior permission.
‘Strangled Ramble’ and ‘A Grave Matter’ — Ben Marsh Allen
‘Depth Gauge’, ‘OMNIS’ and ‘Zynaps’ — Bill Bulloch
‘VERNIX CASEOSA’ — Bryn Tales
‘The Acceleration of a Horse on a Plane’ and ‘Nests XX- XXIII’ — Calum Hazell
20 ‘Pine Needle Poem (After David Miller, 2010)’ — Camilla Nelson 21
‘Three Celan Translations’ — Charles Eager
‘Tantalus Beaker’, ‘The Ocean Biome : Keepsake & Egress’ and ‘The Lung : Heartbreak’ — Christopher Cokinos
‘(1)’, ‘(2)’, ‘Tombstone’ and ‘What Space Between Us’ — David Rushmer
‘Examination at the Faculty of Medicine, 1901’, ‘Blouet, 0.61x0.49m.’, ‘Medical Inspection, 0.83x0.61m’, ‘Dog-Cart, 0.27x0.35m.’ and ‘Alone, 1896’, — Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo
‘isle of mull, 2016’ — Dominic O’Key
‘Untitled Collaboration’ — Grizel Luttman-Johnson
40 ‘Osculation’ and ‘The Sunbather’ — Heather J Macpherson 42
‘The Eucalyptus Tree (Amic Deck, Wits University)’ — Kirby Manià
‘Field Recordings (2016)’ — Matthew Carbery
‘shoaling’ — Natalie Joelle
‘Blot: A Narrative’ — Peter Adkins
‘Specific Inherited Mutations’ — Rachel Gippetti
‘LUCID’ — Skye McDade-Burn
69 ‘Sepia Night’, ‘Fenollosa Manuscript’ and ‘Acclaimed Ashes’ —Sneha Subramanian Kanta 72
‘An Unsettling Effect’, ‘Expanding the Search Area’, ‘An Expert in the Field’, ‘An Underwater Shot’, ‘Tide Tables’ — Steve Spence
Canalchemy #2 — Steve Hitchins
‘Ten Tiny Poems (30 January 2016)’, ‘Decompression’, — Stuart Ross
‘Ringwood’ — Tom Betteridge
‘Erotica’ — Tom Snarsky
‘The Sons Of Hell’ — William Telford
‘Plasticising the Biogea’ — Eline Tabak REVIEWS
Roy Fisher’s Slakki: New & Neglected Poems — Oliver Webb
Sam Solnick’s Poetry and the Anthropocene: Ecology, biology and technology in contemporary British and Irish poetry — Harrison Sullivan
Dylan Trigg’s Topophobia: A Phenomenology of Anxiety — Matthew Carbery
Ian Duhig’s The Blind Road Maker — Steve Spence
Editorial Hello and welcome to the second issue of EPIZOOTICS! On behalf of the editorial team -- Caitlin, Harrison, Matthew and Peter -- we hope you will find plenty to enjoy in the mixture of poetry, prose, essays and reviews that comprise our sophomore outing. Eclecticism is a guiding principle here at the zine and we believe that the diversity of voices, subject matter, styles and forms will stand testament to that. There is, nonetheless, a certain set of preoccupations that, either implicitly or explicitly, might be seen to unify the various texts and images published in the following pages. What does it mean to write, or indeed perform any creative endeavour, under the sign of the Anthropocene? How is the figure of the human currently undergoing revision? What are the implication for our relation with other species and, indeed, the idea of species itself? The urgency of such questions seems daily more apparent. With the passing of Earth Overshoot Day on the 2nd August, the moveable annual date that marks when our consumption of natural resources outweighs their renewability, and the warmest June on record here in UK, the realities of the Anthropocene are already making themselves felt. These realities are both in need of and further provoke philosophical inquiry and artistic expression. They invite critical resistance against received wisdom and established consensus. Such events and thresholds insist that we no longer take the figure of the human for granted, but also that we don’t give up the political. They call for a posthumanist practice that resists unknotting itself in the hope of resolution, or other such niceties. Many of the works in this issue speak to the anxieties surrounding these crises. In Dennis Aguinaldo’s poetry the limits of conservativism, conservationism, and nationalism are neatly tested by “coolly dipping passports in water.” Writing from South Africa, Kirby Manià considers the consequences of crossing boundaries in radical times, while Charles Eager’s three new translations of Paul Celan speak of the ‘greyblack waste’ of the the twentieth century. That’s not to suggest the offerings here are of one tone. As well as negation and uncertainty, there is also affirmation and, even, laughter in the works that follow. From William Telford’s comic tale of death-at-sea to Eline Tabak’s essay 6
on how (following Michel Serres) we might plasticise the concept of the Anthropocene and Peter Adkinsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s darkly humorous narrative, a necessary irreverence and iconoclasm is also at work here. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re also pleased to include a broader selection of reviews in our second issue. Oliver Perrott-Webb offers a timely review of Slakki the new poetry collection from Roy Fisher, who sadly died in March, while Harrison Sullivan assesses one of several new monographs re-examining poetics in the light of climate change. We also have reviews of new works in poetry and philosophy from Matthew Carbery and Steve Spence. In sum, we hope that you will find much here to enjoy. The Editorial Team
‘STRANGLED RAMBLE’ — Ben Marsh-Allen The scuttling sun runs across flayed fields; its light torching the paper country lanes. Animal heart. Stalk the hedgerows – clogged and cluttered with the departed presents of man. Walk with us, trampling tarmac, our bodies twisting alongside barbed wire branches until we stumble across a fridge, set freon the verge of forever. Beyond us are the fly tipping signs that you’ll never be court. Instead, you should lie with your tattered mattress mouth forced to eat fast consume hurry all that’s heaped in polystyrene dreams. Sleep out here hung roped above the dark rainbow pools that course through tyre torn mud. The world is your waste basket. Thrown from wound windows into the flinching face of mother what the fuck have we done only suckled you dry these teetering withered rotten crops – witnesses stand weeping – a yellow army that’s dodged the sickle… Tread picturing starvation, warehouses groaning with bowels of surplus fruit. Turn and stride back to the fenced fringes of civilisation complete with its chocolate box cottages. Our greed does not meet our needs. Proposed construction is being carved out of controlled destruction, the screaming machinery wielding diesel arms that excavate with heavy fists through layers of your skin. Together we use the whip fashioned from the bones we find within.
‘A GRAVE MATTER’ — Ben Marsh-Allen No, death really is. It boils down into our final directive, how best to recycle our singing flesh. Whether it is nobler in the mind to fall, wrapped in a teardrop cage onto the ocean’s chest or stack ourselves to be overcooked, in furnished gold for your children to keep. In reality we’re all running around as vehicles propelled by all that fine dining upon the dying, the bodyworks fossil fuelled, our consumption a stately lights out luncheon. A parlour promise, with a menu of remembrance presented by suited hands: promession lets you rest in pieces, resomation leaves you a final solution. (these specials are currently off) However, the vegetarian option will make sure you get your cardboard greens. They are all novel forms. What better way than to have our tragedies engraved – I mean who isn’t hungry for that – look at the queues of people clutching their scrolls of doppelgänger life pinched into byte sized chunks lining up out the door. Please be seated. Mother wants to be buried and will most likely dine alone. Grandmother collects the orders of service (something to remember hymns by) and worries who will wash the debris away from her plated stone and could somebody please change the boneyard flowers? Father knows the business so he’s already preordered. Now finished he sits back in morbid obesity, picks the lichen from his teeth and begins his last supper obituary, praising the chef with formaldehyde breath and mentions, with a wormy tongue, how he had to shelve those who had failed to urn their molten sleep, whole humans left dissolved in dust. He ventilates that I rushed my food. I had wanted to get out early but now I have reasons to stay. For me it’s just desserts resting in the echoing clamour of feet over head – I’ll find my post-feast comfort stretched out underneath our perfect lawn.
‘Depth Gauge’ — Bill Bulloch
‘OMNIS’ — Bill Bulloch
‘Zynaps’ — Bill Bulloch
‘VERNIX CASEOSA’ — Bryn J Tales Hold your breath for as long as you can in the bath: bubbles iridescent, curve light as across mussel shell until silver, tight-chested, you are burst into the grease of a varnishing birth in new, obliging shallows: shellfish, crab, aquatic plants for the biped who stands, scans and for the first time sees; brain flushed with violets of iodine Our environment amends our physiology: the ear canal that latches onto coolnesses of tide, responds in bone- petal-skins of first iceuntil a diver’s ear to dive with, to bear the pressurised intact like seal pups in harbour congregation whose same vernix caseosa brings us, through our history of exposures and starvations, to the epoch’s narrative in waveshapes
‘The Acceleration of a Horse on a Plane’ — Callum Hazell
‘THE NESTS XX-XXIII’ — Callum Hazell Stayed fossil /to/ HYPERIMPOSITION to irreduced rope [here creatureliness inspirit & w/out [here creatureliness hesitates against /that/ marrow had furred that bandages had
most· these [anechoic] places· are· blind
hung x71 pcs. cortex bulb & stayed.percussive.suite whichthat fold /in/ total looseleaved field
/dependence is/ the carefully static field to accord /the/ carefully evacuated human head and fold between dilated ground
the silence-manifold exceed singularly/drawn/document by abject but to have held hands against w/ generally electric each morning a simple production collude their estrangements the monument each ______________ generally w/ neatblue smoke magnetism and some hrs.
where from w / out little.soft.craft the 1 the vastest specular procedure to 1 perfectly collapsed cell of surface.origins
be installed unfelt over magnitude a young that is â&#x20AC;&#x153;urinated plasma marble lotion allowance and zones forbade of
‘pine needle poem (after David Miller)’ — Camilla Nelson
‘Three Celan Translations’ — Charles Eager We who were Charles’s five translations now are three. I. Hollow lifefield. In the windcatch the vainblown lung blooms. A handful, sleepcorn, ways out the truthstammered mouth hereout to the snowspeakings. II. Fathomsuns over the greyblack waste. A treeheigh thought grasps in the lighttone: there are still songs to sing overleaf of mankind. III. ‘And I will go to bed at noon.’ — Fool, King Lear The poles are in us, unovercomeable in waking. We sleep across, before the gate of expience,
© Suhrkamp Verlag 2017
I lose you to you, that is my snowconsolement, say, that Jerusalem is, sayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t, as were I this, your white, as were you mein, as could we without us we be, I leaf you over, for ever, you pray, you to-bed us free.
ÂŠ Suhrkamp Verlag 2017
‘Tantalus Beaker’ — Christopher Cokinos Everything has a mouth for revelation. According to the Computational Story Lab, there are only six emotional arcs in literature. No wonder it’s a racket. Ongoing rise or ongoing fall, it is, without explanation, Thursday. So it’s quiet. You’d be grateful if heat were, through the altocumulus, as for the lizard, blood-affirming, a push-push. Like meter, each day, the life-world appearance of catclaw bark, camouflage of catclaw bark or whatever the first cone-bearing tree was, dull and beautiful millennia of seeds. Design a time -travel mission patch in spiffy fonts? It’s just fall then rise, rise then fall. The will is nothing but a revelation of mouths. If it’s saying the same thing, is that speech or fall rise fall? Of course rise is fall is rise to stop 23
its drip drip drip dewy forest, spondeeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s backyard : gully washer, birdless, birdful, to forego at last your petty arc. Turned over, flat, steady, relentless in its only key, today plagiarizes yesterday.
‘The Ocean Biome : Keepsake & Egress’ — Christopher Cokinos ...beneath the rock face lies a placid ocean and beyond it, the tangled mats of a mangrove swamp. –Rebecca Reider Uncanny anaglyph poured into the cubit kingdom: well water, “Instant Ocean,” sampled sea reprised since the milk trucks’ residue would have failed this awkward pool. More than irony, less than elegy, the paddle stroke too tired, o baby, o tank, to fully reconcile. The boat’s too hard to point with these stolid oars, this wave machine. So tie off and float, an EVA tethered to the dock and bumping like an amoeba from some ancient drove against the faux rock wall. They trucked the corals in, moved them often to more sun or less, built PVC protein skimmers to keep the algae down. They watched monsoon lightning above those mountains beyond the masted glass, sunk their gritted skin to cool on the beach, and, cloud-broken, stars transuded like delegates to this latest plenary on hubris and humility. Then, as now, the theme is how to shore it up.
On the beach is your copy of Lowellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mars as the Abode of Life and shells to collect. Does the water still hold E. biospherica, surprise creature from the ocean brought here and let loose, precursor to eukaryotes? Do Martian engineers still dig their canals, valiant and doomed, as seas recede? Men and women swam here in 3.2 million liters. Sometimes they saw only water.
‘The Lung : Heartbreak’ — Christopher Cokinos Ubiquity of the circle, round room fractal-wide under forest, desert, ocean, sunk to steel -lined earth : dark Narcissus pond, run-off, storage, conduits of the modern atlatl leading here where this black membrane thing with struts can descend like a UFO to crush you because air, like water, seeks an amiable fix. The curve that meets itself, architecture of the infinite glissando, the other myth where things come back, your metal slap thwacked lit and returning, your voice a cavernous creature yelp, tripled till its dead. There are 600 million alveoli in your lungs, each alveolus a barter of gases, finding oxygen, exiling CO2. A polis. And this? Listless Hypalon, one lung of two, the technosphere’s clever chambers : Once full or empty to accord such pressure that kept the glass from breaking. But the settlement has scattered. Water spreads on concrete its lawful shroud. The only science here is longing. The shepherds crazed by Pan called the lungs of animals lights, including Echo’s : the lightest parts of a body. 27
After she spurned that horny god, they tore her apart, tendons trailed in the dirt. Unsocketed, did she think of him who had spurned her, looking at his face till the watery change? There is always heartbreak among the colonists. In this way, they are like ones left in the old lands. Her voice tells us what weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve said, and Narcissus is a flower now, but not here. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s upstairs, after a tunnel.
‘(1)’ — David Rushmer
‘(2)’ — David Rushmer
‘Tombstone’ — David Rushmer
‘What space between us, 2006’ — David Rushmer
‘Examination at the Faculty of Medicine, 1901’ — Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo Windows. I was to gloss on windows without rippling the spirit. All the noses twinkling for kisses, but each had been reserved for the tiny thumbs of spectacles. Recall how hold on tight signaled the wildest of freedoms. I know this, I have this, you know I have this. You know what’s exciting? These things change and from this point on you should refer to them as people. You know anybody where just about nothing lurks? Before all this—what comes in the morning? Aftertastes of daring.
‘Blouet, 0.61×0.49 m.’ — Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo Thanking you would scatter you. Packed with ice from the nearest sari-sari, a receiving cloth makes passing acquaintance with your notions. Shadow lunch, timid lunch, and there’s no letting go. Though once, there sprang some salmon, and silver running a circle on top like a halo, but now a membrane’s starched against all that. That’s not rain, that’s decision, pieces of decision, some denser than others. Was to report on the dryness of youth, however... I ran out. Our tenderness thus resigned to a joining. My shoulder a shadow of yours, my collar a chip off your bone. So we took liberties with chalk and pardon / shut the lids. The rest can’t be ash but a finely crunched, deliberate sprinkling of replica. And only if your dream isn’t you shall it count.
‘Medical Inspection, 0.83×0.61 m.’ — Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo This is on us: we held hands, gave it moisture. “Sure,” you exhale, but “life’s not something you get to do every day.” Or wait, is it everyday? Syntax nazis want their manifestoes spic n’ not so little as to swing Jose or Bonaparte. Happening upon brown, they unclasp their founder pens and color it service, together, in English unison—at the y-fora of the bimonthly. And if so, only when the others are busy looking... aaight? Baffore us the pawid table: a lidded party light, and a choice between caregiver or caretaker. We took his lying / down, once, and great great children streamed from cell-groups to bust our hinges, so unafraid were they of the abaci. A guanxi agent will come by shortly to take this call—don’t worry your hansom, infraracial head—as well as that decisive moment to grease an axiom of decency upon which was established the suns: stand upright and burn a few minutes more, never to tell anybody it’s going to be okay it’s going to be okay. Not just any body.
‘Dog-Cart, 0.27 × 035 m.’ — Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo Hope it’s a good night, a choice cut, as elevens go. How are you and why is this. Been waiting to do filmy annotations of pages read and admired. Then was a then, you glanced side-wise on my time and place with them (they came to work on so long) and now there’s no other time or place for me and you’re past the green, holier than now, below livid arches all your own. If upon recounting a page I scribble in, what, two solid sentences about it, won’t it come across as dismissive? Gilding a lily my, yes, that’s it, but if a caption fails a picture we still arrive at fanboy, don’t we and far better people claiming the hurt so I’m positive. Your constructs can take it. I’d like it to be a step toward something as my “happy for you” surpasses my “happy that I’m happy for you”—but I’d settle for it not being a step back, like a hand-medown bus from Japan. “Settle” is a crossword country where the produce smells a ham-and-get-them morning. Coolly dipping passports in water.
‘Alone, 1896’ — Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo A lot of life went wherever it led, and now, the wire fence behind which pecked some free-range chickens, our roots confused with feed. Center recently conducted flaggings, as it has with breastscale and syndicated distress, you say? I wonder why that option, called the Just in Case Pepper Center moved from “Do you ever store a knife to be whipped in their affidavit,” to “Is it hard to have a new baby,” I said. “He doesn’t really take the witnesscheek.” When it somehow comes nervous, but at the time, excited to make what none alive can wear as bling. Canon warned that they’d be creative, there’s that, but they’re paying attention to the wrong clerk. So no worries, unless there’s something we haven’t factored in, like maybe anxiety ought to keep us going: it owes us that much. “She was the demolition, the people, blowing on it to see if it will scatter,” she said. Sonnez les matines. Who trebled in and out my door.
‘isle of mull, 2016’ — Dominic O’Key when animals die they turn into stones. this is why all stones seem both alike and unique. bigger stones were once bigger animals, smaller stones smaller animals. sometimes, by looking closely at a rock’s curves and edges, you can make out which kind of creature used to live in its shape: seal, sheep, snail
‘Untitled’ — Grizel Luttman-Johnson Put to the point In a sense evaporating The tear duct drying up And a noose of mucous The font of trial Or in trying on Drew a line across The fleshy part of the page If air were already Primed by the ministry
Set aside to fuzz Out of pure thought soaking wet The air vent gushing down A garland of dust The plughole of certainty As already known Erased a smudge below The bony whole of the pen Which earth is becoming Over for the feral
Against over whirr In a dirty felt bone dry A fan of up thrust Plus the motes daisy chained Whirlpools whirlpool there Always to be standing Added in a clean undercurrent Whale brushed up against On this bolus undone Beginning an industry
Detached under inertia Out of clean wit piss wet A drain of down sunk Dewless uncoupling Volcanos huff here Seldom in recline Removed in a filthy overruling Plankton stepping away From no particular universe remade Ending multiple lethargy
‘Osculation’ — Heather J. Macpherson palms warm against auric skin accepting delicate grin-creases mouth falls against mouth like ismuth and peninsula we are nearly surrounded by water as each utterance laps the shoreline a held breath released and murmured
‘The Sunbather’ — Heather J. Macpherson Before, I imagined Eakins nude men lounging cliffside, swimming below while I crossed the Hudson River. But today, my friend and I explore Star Island. We gasp at the view as we twist and turn on trail. Black cormorants linger in sea spray, seagulls release their Gothic screech protecting their young ones not ready to fly. We make our way, bare shins battling thickets, our knees scuffed as we climb and crawl over granite made perfect for calloused feet. The sunbather lays on rock with comfort and ease, his knees pointing at the sun and I am struck by this vision. Yes, we watch from boscage and without shame, he sits forward, arms lean back as hands press into rock pushing body upward. I am a grateful witness to this ocean vista; I watched Eakins painting come alive while the Atlantic crashed and spit. He stood. I could see sweat glisten in the ginger nest of his figure. I begged beneath breath for his hand to call.
‘The Eucalyptus Tree (Amic Deck, Wits University)’ — Kirby Manià How strong are the roots of the alien tree? Each day, I spy it from my office window and it seems resilient, hardbodied It is after all giant Full-leafed, even on this blustery late winter day Crowning campus at its highest point It reaches over in my (general) direction A stationary lilt which, as I sit, moves me – extending limb upon limb across the divide Briefly exposed, its cambium tissue tells its own story of time Peeling its papered, bleached bark to teach me things, in a language 42
I cannot speak It was invisible to many until now Once a feature of the landscape Today, pariah Thirsty in an already dry land Radicle (almost)
‘Field Recordings (2016)’ — Matthew Carbery When he walked he walked not quite upright, a simian hunch. Stopping to mark the distance gone. As though some foggy entrant tasked. They thought: when does a path become a path. Presuming that at some point prior there was undergrowth, then how does it become, how is it trodden out, when does it cross the threshold into pathdom. Here we come to a fork, a literal fork, a branch with three prongs and from one a squirrel hangs. God knows the time. Nooses. Looking up at the sun, wincing, and back down at his shadow thinly stretched into thinner dust. You appear to know, but the outward is really only largely inward. Can you see it, or is it just a flatness, a congealed surface. Does the canine agree? Do you ever feel like you were never. And if so what. I am answering you without question. This ongoing is still going on. A setup. Try and think the best of people. Chuckle with me. Go on. Let it out. In your back pocket, a shell. She might have, or not. There is no fixer. You are looking at a dying man. He apologises. The squirrel sways a little in the breeze. I’m sorry I didn’t mention the breeze. It was clear from the off. We will all die. And it will be said it was trite to ever bring it up before its happening, like declaring needing at the first meeting. This way there is no coming home. Bristling in the bushes there, the motion twofold in the puddle and of itself, a greying afternoon setting in. what do you take me for? He thinks like you, says actually aloud at this point that that squirrel is somehow him and thus he dangles. Like you might also regard a Kline by the Albert Docks. A company of forty men and women with rakes walk in a dogleg across open scrubland and enter the coppice like a company of forty soldiers, almost silent but for footfall. Stevens. In this way he gave you clarity, a cold blooded clarity. You were irritated at the dungeon of her conversation. You are not to be blamed. We don’t want to talk. And why should I. We don’t know. And in that, her deal is made. She is construed against him. Longing to be a rhizome in the eye of the squirrel. Carrying out the practice of outside, a figure of outward. We kept up with each other. Never were they going to be nested. Of course. We were on our paths together. And cold the frisson before leaving. His 44
marigolds wore through at the fingers, cobwebbing. An antiseptic hint and he sudden sound of a fire’s ticking. As if counting change. All the brazen happening in spherical disorder. Moving away from fact into preposition, proposition, and prayer. You are suffering from vertigo. You can’t believe she still exists. A steam rises above their heads. Spirit spout. We watch and make a partition in sense as sense allows. Down from the bluff there are flitting tickets of wrens somehow together. Well-being of the dwarf species’ seems to rely on an imbalance up there in the spheres. Pursuing policies, or an ant’s nest. We are held to account by this, the branding iron and steel beams. Enclosure came. Buy into its trust nationally. We rise to a hawking. The queen and the cage fighter. Rolling cloud forms shadow the breach there between fork and man, squirrel and branch. An escalation of the value in the sheer context of brute being, globular dazes on the retina and a glue at the back of the wren throat, trickling. As a danger at least. At least as a danger there would be an arch doubt. They string along. It is unintentional in the franco-germanic sense. In the Venn Husserl’s being born. An ungrammatical forwardness. On his way home against belief he sighted a heron on the eviscerated whale’s ribcage of a downed vessel. It is morning and she is still sleeping. Night shifts, rolls over. If you are so clever then why do you sleep alone tonight? The run on sense is a stagger of mattering. Looking out for number one, it’s reckless calculus a wayward adverb in the midst of a sleepy mist. Bray why don’t you, the army is in town. Stunted from the topmost. He has applied himself like adhesive, he snores consonants. Work begins at ten, humbly designed, some never real ultimatum shadowing in the peripheral. A fixture is being mixed up with a general transience. Those days gone, having had the chance. Sat back and past tense moments acquire currency in the realisation. To realise as in not just knowing, recognising, but the making real in the thinking itself. A machinist imitates a drum kit imitates a heart beating clockwise. In the day-coloured sink acquiring grease in invisible stretches across the span. In this hand a truncheon, in the other 45
some body’s love handle. His standing anterior to the bluff. As if demanding orisons, a spectral flutter. Pygmy owl. A talon holds a preyed upon thing. These arrangements in decline. And what if not for a human thought. Imposter. Getting grey at the temples, readying grown. Like a Montreal balladeer coming out of early retirement given the circumstances ofembezzlement. Here are words, spaces. To be music or otherwise a sonorous rivulet passing from the foreground to a sloping destination unaware. The camel who shat in the river is named Herodotus after a fashion. Dashing from the ridge backwards, imitating child’s play. She was wary of such approaches. Knowing he was unlikely to make it through September. His standard flew flimsy. That listing kite. In the poem by Hopkins, in the knavedom of Hynes. Between wives he hunted whistling hold music ad infinitum. Don’t you think I would have said if I knew? As though noting the act is akin to carrying it out. There are no proper names. These avatars are Prussian and settle like piss in the snow. That way can you spell the trace you constitute, are you aloud then. Missing killing falling rather. The stereoscopic trigger sound of electromagnetic discharge. You’re needing a bigger boat. On the way to lunar magnitudes embedded with windless imprints across the dense unmappable stellar wash. No leeward without first inclement weather. This desire for ozone. Or otherwise in keeping with a preference for aerosols. What is the meaning of this, is it something to write home about. She worries for his mother more than for him. He very well understands the canopy he found to define himself beneath. A dealt waste form. Buttered up. Some materiel matter, the garrison worked up into a lather. Beside probabilities of campuses. This is the plan, we like each other, what else is there to worry about. She found out later that he had already been buried. No words not because thoughtless or alterior to itself. Machinations in the sullen hours when she applies herself and sets out in visible clods of steam to desk work flow. A pocket watch. A reconnaissance. In Gallic spirits. This is an interim. He is doubtless admittedly. Buried as detailed. Your girder bends back, gifts. Can you see it, or is it just a flatness, a congealed surface. Looping back to track every pore. The hollow hill breathes. My god is there an animus for real. Reaching for a holstered thing, world spinning. This opening beneath treeline. My god is she really real. 46
For the hardness of trouble. All these locrian scalings, heightened rapturous denial. The way a man pretending not to recognise fear pushes on longingly. Barely a one cares for arrogant trajectories. But you are letting us all down. I want to take you swimming so you can save me from drowning. He is so scared of water. And thus hardens. From what you have said it could be any day now. Does he gang up alone? Pronounced. Seeded in a run off sluice, eventually cracked concrete and lawsuits. Longing for a close shave. Here the whirl matters what with persistent dying. Where she works, they all seem to. My interests are covering over. A sore shades. Cobble sense, lover. Now a raptor sizes up the viscera. In the mistake global. Registering for effect a dismal extension into feeling. This is the first time I havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t been in love since my memory serves. Getting auld. Can you pass or forego. What only seems the drastic measure? Grimaldi. The firstborn is deafened. To have cannibalised in the womb. Listening out for her siren. Works of love. Glistens a shallow pool. Around hello and helplessness. You want what you want and who is to tell you otherwise. They insisted stop using that word, there is no love of children. Hankering after some blithe affectation in the mizzen. Here by the breakers you just know there are sharpest rocks. A sand bank reclines toward the inlet and the clifftop coastal path. Playing doom. Offered and left. She is an enigma short of breath. I replicate the accents and chastise the ceiling fan. That feeling when. Articulation as a means to bypass confrontation, like a heavy goods vehicle. Squirreling away your knowing. Supposing she knew all along but perseverance got the better of her and suddenly three years have passed and there is no meanwhile to feel left behind by. It swings of an orbit something catastrophic. The signal climax and slantwise cringe in taking it. What you think of as sex is necessary. Not that the values have somehow dissipated but that they were only ever scaffolding. Stood upright making the argument. Yes he reclines, yes he knows how to make it work. But her apparatuses either failed or finally started working when she settled for another seduction. Witched. 47
Needing wanting narrative as anchor. The other seduction. An education. The water is soft here so the locals drink stout. An odd one in twenty will at home ferment their own, high sugar content and an average alcohol by volume level of around seven percent. Men in their late twenties slump like disinterested coils. I have a hearty constitution, do not worry about me. Where they boil water before wiping their mouths with their sleeves and carrying the milk pans out into the gardens in a total chill with steam rising in gorgeous little tendrils. To give someone hope is a very dangerous thing. He turns himself in for the indecent images he has accessed. He hopes so much that life will as an entirety forgive him. But now, chemically castrated, he crops his long hair and shaves and wears contacts. He flattens his manner. His weakness led him to a material state of ruination, buggered in the larder of a young offenderâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wing by a likewise but bigger more cocksure ward of the state.
‘shoaling’ — Natalie Joelle 1. researchfish and the Blackfish the speedboats just herded them in and then they could just pick out the young ones 2. researchfish and the Dragons JAWS and the Dragon submit this information is a condition 3. researchfish and the Sea dragons
4. researchfish and the Sea World they stored the whales in what is called a module all whales in captivity are psychologically traumatised if you were in a bathtub for twenty-five years don’t you think 49
5. researchfish and the Dawn we were not told much about it other than it was trainer error 6. researchfish and the research vessels loophole in the law in the name of research whale meat is sold for 7. researchfish and The Black Fish illegal and destructive fishing practices for the increasingly threatened sea life industrial overfishing of our oceans 8. researchfish and the dead line researchfish captures information capture and track the impact 9. researchfish and the dead line researchfish is a service provided by Researchfish Ltd Massgrave Farm 10. researchfish and the trawl there will be no formal sanctions for non-compliance of student outcome reporting in the annual submission survey 11. researchfish and the trawl compliance levels may be taken into account during assessment of future applications for training 12. researchfish and the Sea Shepherd we are not a protest organisation we are an interventionist organisation 50
we intervene against illegal activities 13. researchfish and the Sea Shepherd this not a protest action this is a law enforcement action 14. researchfish and the wise monkeys see no e-Val hear no e-Val do no e-Val
‘Blot: A Narrative’ — Peter Adkins He was cleaning his knives in gravy-red water. I decided not to tell him about the dream. Well, he said. He stopped speaking. He started again. You would have to buy it from a slaughterhouse north of the border. There’s only corporate killing houses here now. They don’t touch that sort of thing. It’s gone to the dogs here. He was speaking too many words at once. Can I write that down? I asked. You’ll only get that sort of thing in the north, he said. It’s gone to the dogs here. Oh, I replied. I pretended to write in a pad that I found in my pocket. I was feeling unwell. Will it come in a big pot? I asked. The blood, I added. No, he said. It won’t come in a pot. Should I take a big pot myself? Yes, he said, you’ll want your own pot. * Driving north I kept the pot steady by wrapping it in one of dad’s old sweaters and threading the passenger seatbelt through the arms. At the border there were three blacks crows arguing with one another about a fence post. The biggest one lost. The slaughterhouse was on the side of a dual carriageway that went all the way to the furthest point. It was a squat, square building the size of an out-of-town retail park shop but without the signage or doorways. A man came out of a little cabin by the 52
entrance, just like they said on the phone. He waved me over. When he saw that I had brought a big pot with me, he shook his head. The pot? I asked. It comes in a pot, he said. The blood. He took it out of my hands. It needs a double catch, he said, tapping the lid. For spillage. For spillage, I repeated. I didn’t have my notepad with me to write all the details down. He wore sideburns like father and brown gloves despite the mild weather. We went around the back of the square building. There weren’t any animals around. Where are the animals? I asked. He didn’t say anything. I wondered if he couldn’t hear me because of the sounds from the dual carriageway. I shouted the question again. He stopped and turned around. There are animals here, he said. Oh, I said. I was pleased that we were speaking again. Yes, I corrected myself. Yes, I repeated, seeing a magpie on one of the CCTV cameras. It isn’t that there are no animals, as such, I continued, shouting as we walked. It is that there aren’t any of the bigger animals. I had expected to see the bigger animals. It was getting on for evening. Look, he said. Here. He pointed at a small yellow bin with a strange lid next to a roller shutter that ran almost the full height of the building. The pot? I asked. He nodded. 53
It didn’t look like a pot. It looked more like a small yellow bin. I wondered if I should tell him. Oh, yes? I said. Can I see it? I asked. Inside I mean. He bent down, loosened the catches and removed the lid. It was much blacker than I had hoped. Is it heavy? I asked. Oh, he said. Yes. It is quite heavy. Can you decant it for me? I asked. I pointed to the pot which I had brought with me. He didn’t seem to understand. He put the lid back over the blood. Money, he said. What money? I asked. I looked at the floor for coins but I couldn’t see any money. For the blood, he said. The blood money, he added and coughed. I took the money from my pocket and counted it into his glove. He nodded at the blood. What do you want with it? Art, I replied. I’d rehearsed this lie on the drive up. He didn’t say anything. Art, I repeated. He bent down, wrapped his arms round the container and started waddling with it against his chest towards the car. 54
* I was in a hurry so I ate the spaghetti as I dressed. The dinner suit I had seen in the dream and had bought from Oxfam was too small. I wore father’s suit instead. My head was still aching a bit, but I felt less sick. There were large dark puddles in the kitchen from where the decanting had gone wrong. I had filled the pot to the brim and had enough left in the yellow bin to fill an empty paint tin I had found beneath the stairs. A lot of the blood had gone on the floor. It’s OK, I thought. The cats will want it. I whistled them but they didn’t come. I walked quickly to the restaurant. It was busy. That seemed correct, as far as I could tell. Beneath exposed bulbs hanging on long wires, men and women stood at tall tables chewing mouthfuls of pork. Stringy fibres caught in their teeth. Smeary-faced children ran between the legs. A plaster cast of a smiling pig suspended from the ceiling rocked in the air from the ventilator. Yes, I thought. You are the ones who are in for it. I threw the pot at the large glass front of the restaurant. It made a loud noise as it bounced, the lid flying off as it came back towards me. The blood went down the front of my shirt and trousers. I looked up. The people in the restaurant had stopped eating. I knew what I had to do next, even though it wasn’t in the dream. I threw the paint tin. This one came back much faster. When I woke up my eyes were stinging and my back was sticking to the ground. A man in an apron was shouting words at me too quickly to understand and I didn’t have my pad to write them down. He kept prodding me with the end of his shoes. I decided I ought to leave. My legs weren’t working in the correct fashion so I put my hands out in in front of me and dragged one knee after the other along the high-street. It was definitely night now. I could tell this because the orange lamps were fully orange. 55
Hullo Adkins. I looked up. It was Professor Grig from art school. He was with his wife. What’s this? He asked. Hullo, I said. I looked at myself in the reflection of a shop window. The blood was matted in my hair.
Is this something? he asked.
Streaks of blood ran along my trousers in broad rivulets. The cream jacket was now the smeary red of mother’s wardrobe. Are you doing something? He asked. I didn’t say anything. Yes, Grig said. You’re doing something aren’t you? Art, I said. I don’t know why I said it that time. He laughed. Very witty, Adkins, he said. Yes, I think I see what you’re doing. He took a step backward and said something to his wife. He looked at me again. Mrs Grig didn’t say anything. Her mouth was open, a bit. Can I? He asked and nodded to his phone. He held it up in front of me and took a photo. Then he turned around and took one of himself with me in the background. I’ll leave you to it, he said. He bent down to where I was and spoke in a quieter voice. I think you’ll find a better spot for it a bit further along, he said, where it’s busier. He pointed towards McDonalds and Debenhams. Yes, I said. Thank you. 56
It’s too quiet for it down this end of the street, he said. Yes, I repeated. I watched him hold the door for his wife as they entered the pork restaurant. I dragged myself further down the street to where he had pointed. I stopped outside Debenhams and rested for a while, keeping both hands and my knees on the ground because that’s a way of resting. The street was busier here. People were stopping to look at me, some were laughing and taking photos on their phones. An old man choked as he passed. I moved to a square position with my hands and knees equally spaced from one another. It was another way of resting. Some of the blood was in my mouth now. I spat it all out bit by bit onto the pavement. It grew darker. A group of men in sporting shirts came over. One of them kicked me in the place where my ribs live. Ow, I said. Don’t. That hurts. The men he was with laughed and kicked me in the rear. A figure in a white overall came out of a doorway opposite and walked over, shouting. The men hurried away. Well, he said. I looked up from where I was resting. What’s happened here? He asked. It was the butcher. Do you need cleaning up? Some looking after? I tried to remember where I had left the pot. Do you know about the dream? I replied. 57
He nodded. Do you know how it’s meant to end? Not like this, he said. I looked down at myself. Yes, I was wearing the wrong clothes, I thought. Is that why? I said. Why what? He asked. He looked confused. The clothes, I replied. Yes, he answered. It wasn’t meant to happen like this, I said. You need cleaning up, he said. OK, I said. I lay down on my back, shut my eyes and put my legs and arms in the air. No, he said. Not like that. He gestured for me to come to him. My legs weren’t working at all now so I squirmed on my stomach towards him. He tried to pick me up but I struggled. I had remembered the pot and the paint tins. They were still outside the restaurant. Don’t worry about the tins, he said. The cats? I asked. Yes, he said. The cats will. He put his arm under my father’s trousers and picked me up. Where are we going? I asked. 58
There, he nodded. The butchers, I said. Together? I asked. Yes, he said.
‘Specific Inherited Mutations’ — Rachel Gippetti ‘A typo occurs every 100,000 nucleotides’, which means 100,000 female swordfish swam like a shadow, under the belly of a cargo boat containing flat-packed X-ray machines, then stabbed the boat, which cracked and sank, the radioactive waves crashing to the seabed, where I slept on our honeymoon in Greece, typing, blissful in my sleep. Or the nucleus of a dream I had (where we made love in my parents’ bed) was damaged when I woke up suddenly. 10am at work, while typing, I developed an allergy to Tide Ultra, so while scratching my thigh, things got typoed. Or a bilateral tide at Jones Beach on Long Island tore off my bikini top, which was sucked into a glass bottle, then washed onto Beach Park shoreline, where a young girl, with a long red braid, found it and wrote back to me. An amateur writer, her letter contained numerous typos. Or my mother wrote a poem, in which she encoded a secret, adding 100,000 letters to the alphabet. She buried the poem in a red maple box, at the bottom of the Muddy River. Over the years the tides tugged the box through the silt, into the Atlantic. I don’t understand the process of water filtration, but this morning, when I turned on the tap the box popped out into the womb of my teapot and while drinking my tea, I got it.
‘LUCID’ — Skye McDade-Burn 1 The first time I took Lucid it was all sight, all seen, at once pushing the world into place bruised and softer a stretched sense of everything of all the plastic in the sea behind the eyes held
And I was in a boat, echoing heaven dripping myself into Lucid alignment of chemistry and cash, like if you stopped everything moving no one would be themselves caught out on the beach in a new colder dawn. only that insect across the neck traces across, in this stupid restlessness Journeys on foot and water netted into me the Lucid body trip is tidal, the ligaments are points of lightness 61
the bones are what drop and the complete weather wells up gripping green energy blending into
2 The trip is always slipping into new spaces, their clean sweet-smelling gardens burning orange centre, laughing ship demon yes, bodies bust but afterwards everything kept spinning continents crunching and grinding because Lucid is pure connection we are already there our face in the netting, the laughter when the lucid body trip is raging power is becoming limp every thing is smells I am living blind and charged with the future selling Lucid the movement is born in packets and grey bodies inside the Nazi cult fetish when the master says bite I bite we are all getting stronger steel wires are lining the city the potential in everything to be more where the personality humanist complex does not manifest there are no more selves: paramilitaries / the streets 63
we pre-empt reality everywhere cactus eye-carried in you hood over his head (passengers file past) girlfriend screaming
3 Putting down my beer jolts stagger on through me to latch myself forward, broken stabilise my feral planet sometimes I have to cough: the future is blocked in mouth nuggets are nuggets are fucking my whole grey sky, my silence and sitting sweating there, in their little lumps bubbling in my growth in my mode so sweet untouched towering wet monolith, sheer body of infinite profit with small hard tongues all the little cities dotted across the plains on the street there is still a white lump with roots hot and scratching around itself this thing is so death slow always has to be squeezed through this being a dog dirty pus tunnel I am stuck in my throat and my legs are stiff how we let them do it out there 65
4 even solids are born in fire multiply but ask us to melt for them as they harden they drain us and yet we can do so much when we are emptied out stop trying to understand you are gone nothing is equivalent we just take part crush the worm inside crush the worm its still there i can hear myself and its scary i fucked by striplights want to not hear you we can resist our completion just keep this scum life
5 a centre. Unsummedup people eating. Chefs. Kamagra Jelly.
Laws tense and fragile
because people can be squeezed â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Because pigs. Because I want to be a hero w nothing on me and that is why I love lobbies. harder than Funk without face / grizzly squadron black chamber. the little tree that fights in secret bloody boxes. Collective shape of naked and massive mob Every year the cost of production in human life is growing larger. when it makes you move it with huge rotten raspberries as big as your fist mottled salmon and slime-brown. I am still here. 67
Lucid body trip as mildew
Every year the cost of production in
I am beating up can you seriously kill your personality and everyone else / so that we can actually dredge something up from this cloud of petrol
‘Sepia Night’ — Sneha Subramanian Kanta emergencies are haphazard vacations (you aligned them with the lint of august) post-truth of Nietzsche like snake-skins clad, slithering past the lone forest filling with noise of rustlings. the
reflections over your eyelash – shadowed over my body in perpetual Calcutta heat, as the Hooghly streamed on.
‘Fenollosa manuscript’ — Sneha Subramanian Kanta You train me in Japanese art forms and diverge into the world of being: not sea-swarmed by illegitimates, as postmodern newspapers claim. The politikal language is loosening itself in distilled embers. Unbecoming, as you placed your hand within my palm, once – within the amniotic fluid of a forest, the reserve of bees and small fish. We set tidal waves in the grove against evening, and ourselves, to unmoor.
‘Acclaimed Ashes’ — Sneha Subramanian Kanta The night exhales a sigh like the panting of a tired train; the beauty of perseverance, struggles of patient nothings. People complain of being weary, price rise, decay and accidents, attempt to bring discursive things into a linear order (not essentially in that order) I speak of stark polarity than tongues that fetch cash or coinage like reptiles or beetles lined for fodder. I cover my pride and shame into the womb of a musky autumn day; in my seclusion ponder the propaganda of governments and the impoverishment of my own redness inside. I draw a flag and hoist it in wildernesses spreading inside my mind — if only peace treaties were as easy to establish.
‘An Unsettling Effect’ — Steve Spence We may be looking at a crashlanding. Would you like to see my tattoos? “I’m not a lounge lizard, I’m a flaneur,” he said. Yet people thought they were flying with the birds when they walked across this bridge. Shyness feeds on itself. It’s difficult to follow this but here is one past civilisation that is as silent as the grave. Your sound must be razor sharp with no 72
‘Expanding The Search Area’ — Steve Spence “Each to their own,” she said. We will have to try an entirely new approach yet surface water flooding is also expected and it’s what happens after you hook one that makes the difference. “It’s a very selfish lifestyle,” he said, after having admitted that he got his first shotgun at the age of sixteen. If it’s not neo-liberal it’s not going to happen. Has anyone sued yet? “Once upon a time I was a gamekeeper but now I’m a poacher,” he said. These drawings aren’t made by pushing a rake across a surface yet alongside walking and storytelling it’s a very human thing to do. Here we have the basic principles of fingerprint analysis. Now the biting makes sense. Is there such a thing as incontrovertible evidence? “Yet the more we look at the cosmos the stranger it becomes,” she said. Do you ever suffer from indecision? You don’t know what’s around the corner if you bite into something that’s unsafe yet nature is full of design flaws that we’re all trying to fix. Next time you fancy doing something really frustrating, try balancing a pencil on its sharpened tip. “Set me free from what exactly?” she said.
‘An Expert In The Field’ — Steve Spence “Perfection belongs only to narrated events,” she said. When are we planning on going to the lake? Let’s venture into the maze. Are you a creative powerhouse? Sometimes an exit turns out to be a new opening but trusting your gut instinct is not a reliable way to size people up. Today we’re using a float for bite indication. Dozens of fish disappear in a flash yet the intelligence may be more in the data than in the algorithm. Even more baffling are the three large holes blown into the ground yet our swirling shoal has nowhere to go and feeding begins. “Some still view the multiverse as an abdication of scientific responsibility,” she said. Can we choose which memories to keep and which to get rid of? For instance, some bacteria kill themselves as soon as they are infected by a virus. Here we have a series of layered compositions. What do you think about the knife angel? Growing up destined to live in water means there are many skills to master yet in the darkness the crabs can feel their surroundings. Why is it useful to be able to recognise voices at all?
‘An Underwater Shot’ — Steve Spence It’s all to do with the tidal cycle. “We have a clear view of what society could be like but we have no way of getting there,” he said. Suddenly, there’s this awkward, swirling wind. “A coherent script is a good starting point,” she said. Navigating by the stars is never an easy thing to do but for now this remains a capricious co-existence. When you’re creating an engraving you have to press really hard to allow the paper to soak up the ink. “I’d still like to get a thousand out of it,” he said. What happens next depends on what you think money actually is. Are we in the presence of a domestic drama? “Surely our current form of globalisation has a design fault yet an information economy may not be compatible with a market economy,” he said. Are we capable of striking populist gestures? “Mr Steed, how resplendent you look,” she said. In a way they have grasped that if climate change is real, capitalism is finished. Yet an hour of physical activity a day is the ideal and our next tactic is to target the margin. How literal can we be about the skyline as a starting point?
‘Tide Tables’ — Steve Spence Look at the colour of the sun. Look at the colour of that sun. In winter the sea is much warmer than the land. “See how the sun shines brightly,” she said. “This is why the tiger needs the crab,” he said. “You can see from the colour of my face that my body is warm”, she said. Yet it turns out that airborne natural molecules do indeed boost our health. “It’s just round the next bend again,” he said. Sphagnum, sphagnum, moss, moss, moss, rotting feet, trenchfoot.
‘Canalchemy #2’ — Steve Hitchins 26 lbs of Bone 14 lbs of Lynn Sand 2 lbs of Potash
Mixed with water, then made into bricks and fritted in a hard part of the biscuit kiln, then pounded and ground for use.
40 lbs of the above frit 20 lbs of China clay
Stage two is the stage of the glacial. Bone phase. Scatterfly-vulvae. Mollusc puckered. Firing the moon. Past the powder magazines at Maesarul where the canals meet and the road spurs off to Tesco. Cherry Tango can in gravel. Basket of sodden car mats. Brown hen perches on wooden garden fence. Gunpowder bought in bulk. Boated up in barrels. Stored and sold from the magazines. Behind blinds monitor-staring stubbleface fingers pressed to lips. Beeley has contracted some pecuniary liability he wishes to evade. You well know that you engaged that the secret should be entirely confined to ourselves. White rapids in distance a bend in the Taff. Satellite dish clamped to beheaded trunk. Jackdawed cables. D4.5 Business in Focus D5 Key Worldwide Logistics Ltd D6 JR Workspace D7 Telephone Exchange D8.1 DecTek D8.2 RS Components D8.3 Brecon Pharmaceuticals D11.1 Lloyds TSB Bank Plc
Albedo whitening. Filtration to remove improper materials. Fears of discovery induce them to avoid public highways. Undergoing heating carrying the essence sought extracted. Twenty hour journey between Merthyr and Cardiff, time added for an overnight stop. Battered greenhouse birdtable garden. Pylon looms a mechanical wigwam. Tubular rust-rails thread through concrete stumps. We cook our bacon, eggs and chips in the cabin in the 3 mile pond from Treble Locks to Rhydyfelin, where the gypsies are. Pink blossom gathers at pavement’s crumbled edges. Wrinklefaced lilac shellsuit glances hurrying. I was fearfull my letter had got lost, or had fallen into somebodys hands it ought not, & might lead to discovery where we was. Neon forget-me-nots blaze through telegraph nettle-patch. Bring the ducks in mother, here’s the boatman coming. Lap of current against rocks. Birds burble and wheeze. Bus exquishes to roundabout. Y Badwr, yr Hen Ddiawl - that old devil the boatman.
D11.2 Q Conference Centre/Garnish Cymru D11.3 Dutton International Ltd D11.4 Dutton International Ltd D11.5 Barclays Bank Plc D11.6 PRESS D10.4 Nat West Bank Plc D10.3 Dandie Crafts Ltd D10.2 Estate Cafe
Luminal. Edibled. Dandelion seeds drift down terrace of Williams Place. Pub chalkboard every Saturday quiz night jackpot and voucher to be won. Tracksuit man sneezes coming out of doors. At the Upper Boat, east bank of the river, is a curious contrivance. A ferry-boat provided with a stage, elevated or depressed by iron pins passing into its framework, a platform on which trams are conveyed from the bank. Billboards advertise satellite television lager cars take-away chicken bottled water. A rope across the river passes through a pully attached to the boat. Towering magazine images of gleaming lifestyle flat against grey clouds. On canal bank men in rimmed hats sweep the towpath with brooms. Vapours rise from chemical vessel. They travel on by-paths and parish roads in order to avoid observation. Extraction of essence as soul becomes conscious of itself and its own light nature. Inner marriage with moon woman. Second rebirth of lunar child. Chrysalis colours. Milk-smooth lustre. Tint capricious.
‘TEN TINY POEMS (30 January 2016)’ — Stuart Ross i Grippers. ii Linked ears. iii Polio. Water park. iv Pencil cut. Paper scratch. v Simple beautiful torch fiend exercise.
vi Fog. Frog keeps asking for Christ. vii Hey, stack those words on my head. viii I fly fly swatters. I am making ink. ix Clipper. Sinkhole. Coyote. A darn elephant lies in state. x Talk into the square hole in your friendâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s oval head.
‘DECOMPRESSION’ — Stuart Ross He stole a chip. We went hungry. The potato field wept. The hurricane was named Luc. The sky! It’s got clouds in it! A chimney fell. Mister got crushed. Did you count the chips? Was there one fewer? It was in a warehouse. An inside job. Who was in charge? Get that guy. Look for his beard. Search the alley. Did you count the chips? Numbers are important. A dog blew away. I’m holding his leash. The president spoke. Air escaped the cabin. Everyone froze. The plane didn’t land.
‘Ringwood’ — Tom Betteridge RINGWOOD Hydrous mantle transition zone indicated by ringwoodite included within diamond The ultimate origin of water in the Earth’s hydrosphere is in the deep Earth—the mantle. Theory1 and experiments2, 3, 4 have shown that although the water storage capacity of olivine-dominated shallow mantle is limited, the Earth’s transition zone, at depths between 410 and 660 kilometres, could be a major repository for water, owing to the ability of the higher-pressure polymorphs of olivine—wadsleyite and ringwoodite—to host enough water to comprise up to around 2.5 per cent of their weight. A hydrous transition zone may have a key role in terrestrial magmatism and plate tectonics5, 6, 7, yet despite experimental demonstration of the water-bearing capacity of these phases, geophysical probes such as electrical conductivity have provided conflicting results8, 9, 10, and the issue of whether the transition zone contains abundant water remains highly controversial11. Here we report X-ray diffraction, Raman and infrared spectroscopic data that provide, to our knowledge, the first evidence for the terrestrial occurrence of any higherpressure polymorph of olivine: we find ringwoodite included in a diamond from Juína, Brazil. The water-rich nature of this inclusion, indicated by infrared absorption, along with the preservation of the ringwoodite, is direct evidence that, at least locally, the transition zone is hydrous, to about 1 weight per cent. The finding also
indicates that some kimberlites must have their primary sources in this deep mantle region. Samples of mantle-derived peridotites show that olivine (Mg2SiO4) is the dominant phase in the Earth’s shallow upper mantle, to a depth of ~400 km (ref. 12). At greater depths, between approximately 410 and 660 km, within the transition zone, the high-pressure olivine polymorphs wadsleyite and ringwoodite are thought to dominate mantle mineralogy owing to the fit of seismic discontinuity data to predictions from phase equilibria12, 13. No unretrogressed samples of any high-pressure olivine polymorph have been sampled from the mantle, and, hence, this inference is highly likely, but is unconfirmed by sampling. Sampling the transition zone is important because it is thought to be the main region of water storage in the solid Earth, sandwiched between relatively anhydrous shallow upper mantle and lower mantle4, 5, 6, 7. The potential presence of significant water in this part of the Earth has been invoked to explain key aspects of global volcanism5 and has significant implications for the physical properties and rheology of the transition zone3, 11, 14. Finding confirmatory evidence of the presence of ringwoodite in Earth’s mantle, and determining its water content, is an important step in understanding deep Earth processes. The discovery of ultradeep diamonds, originating below the lithospheric mantle15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, allows a unique window into the material constituting the Earth’s 84
transition zone. As such, these diamonds should provide the best opportunity for finding both wadsleyite and ringwoodite. Moreover, several studies have reported olivine that may have originated as a higher-pressure polymorph21, 22, 23, 24, 25. In this study, we focused on diamonds from the Juína district of Mato Grosso, Brazil, in a search for ultrahighpressure inclusions. Alluvial deposits centred on tributaries East of the Rio Aripuanã, Juína District, contain abundant diamonds that originate in the Earth’s transition zone and lower mantle15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 24, 26. Diamond JUc29 is a 0.09 g, colourless/light-brown, irregular crystal (Extended Data Fig. 1) from deposits of the Rio Vinte e Um de Abril, downstream from kimberlite pipe Aripuanã-01. It exhibits a high degree of surface resorption, is moderately plastically deformed and its nitrogen content is below detection by infrared spectrometry; that is, the diamond is type IIa. These are all characteristics of most ultradeep diamonds from Juína18. A crystal of greenish appearance and ~40 μm in its maximum dimension was located optically in the diamond (Extended Data Fig. 1). Synchrotron X-ray tomography shows the inclusion to form part of a pair, with a Ca-rich and a Fe-bearing phase immediately adjacent (Extended Data Fig. 2). Single-crystal X-ray diffraction of the Febearing phase revealed the main four diffraction peaks of ringwoodite, in their relative order of expected intensity4, that is, in descending order of intensity, the (113) plane at
2.44 Å, the (440) plane at 1.40 Å, the (220) plane at 2.81 Å and the (115) plane at 1.51 Å (Extended Data Fig. 3). The expected fifth peak at about 2.02 Å was not found, being covered by the very intense diamond peak, which occurs at the same d spacing (the single distance between two atomic lattice planes belonging to a family of infinite lattice planes all equidistant and parallel). The positions of these peaks (that is, the d spacing) and, in particular, the precisely measured relative order of intensities, detected by charge-coupled device (CCD), confirm the identity of the inclusion as ringwoodite but do not allow an accurate compositional estimate. Micro-Raman spectra of the inclusion (Fig. 1, grey traces) allowed ringwoodite to be identified by the two intense Raman bands that form a doublet corresponding to the asymmetric (T2g) and symmetric (A1g) stretching vibrations of SiO4 tetrahedra and which occur in the spectral regions ~807 and 860 cm−1, respectively. We refer to these bands as DB1 and DB2, respectively. The spacing of these two bands is 30% wider than those present in olivine, and DB1 is displaced to significantly lower wavenumbers. Band DB1 in JUc29 is defined from peak fitting to be located between 807 and 809 cm−1, with DB2 between 854 and 860 cm−1. The increase in wavenumber of both DB1 and DB2 relative to the reference spectrum in Fig. 1 (red trace) and other synthetic ringwoodites is due largely to the influence of the compressive stress developed around the inclusion. This stress results from the difference in the volume
expansion of the inclusion relative to the diamond that has helped to preserve the ringwoodite. All JUc29 Raman spectra show significant broadening of these SiO4 stretching vibrations. This broadening is probably due to increased disordering resulting from a tendency for ringwoodite to revert to olivine at lower pressure, and hampers the use of the doublet band separation in estimating the composition of the ringwoodite. Nevertheless, an estimate of the composition can be attempted, on the basis of the shift in DB1 in response to pressure and increasing Fe in the structure, which have opposite effects (see Methods section on Raman spectroscopy). The compressive stress imposed on the inclusion was estimated by measuring the Raman shift of the main diamond band in the immediately adjacent diamond (1,337 cm−1), which yields internal pressures of between 1.7 and 2.3 GPa depending on the pressure calibration of the Raman shift used (see Methods as above). Our estimate for the resulting phase composition yields a Mg number, Mg# = 100Mg/(Mg+Fe), of , where the uncertainty is dominated by the uncertainty in the confining pressure, the exact position of DB1 and the calibration of DB1’s position with composition (see Methods as above). Although the compositional uncertainty is large, the presence of significant Fe in the structure is consistent with the confocal X-ray fluorescence data (Extended Data Fig. 2). Two main scenarios arise from the water-rich nature of the ringwoodite inclusion coming from transition-zone depths. In one, water within the ringwoodite reflects inheritance from a hydrous, diamond-forming fluid, from
which the inclusion grew as a syngenetic phase. In this model, the hydrous fluid must originate locally, from the transition zone, because there is no evidence that the lower mantle contains a significant amount of water. Alternatively, the ringwoodite is â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;protogeneticâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, that is, it was present before encapsulation by the diamond and its water content reflects that of the ambient transition zone. Both models implicate a transition zone that is at least locally water-rich. It is interesting to explore the protogenetic option further to see what bounds would be placed on the bulk transition-zone water content in the light of geophysical observations.
‘Erotica’— Tom Snarsky Have you always owed the figuration of water Special deference, like a cloud I am continuing to pretend every creature I see Can fire laser beams at unsuspecting hunters To trace the difference between steam & fog Of course, blood— That would be another animal altogether
‘The Sons Of Hell’ — William Telford It was after about five days out that The Rooster went kind of banzai and jumped overboard yelling stuff that made no coherence, and took The Captain with him. After some push and shove we managed to haul The Rooster back on the boat but as we were dragging The Captain over the side a big tiger shark, I think it was, came up and took of his left leg just below the knee. Last we saw of the leg was it going under clamped in that great big fish’s great big grin. Well, at least someone was happy. We did our best for The Captain, tried to make a tourniquet out of The Old Man’s belt, and The Old Man’s trousers fell down, he’d already lost some weight, but about four hours later The Captain started babbling something about his mother and just bled out right there, laid across the seat. The irony of us being in a lifeboat, as in life and boat, wasn’t lost on anyone, and so we wrapped The Captain in some tarpaulin, which we weren’t even sure we could spare, and sent him down to the sharks. None of us had liked The Captain much but we all stood heads a-bowed when Stamford, who had a thing about the Good Book, said some words. Then we turned our attention towards The Rooster. He’d been trussed up by Hawkeye, and then Hawkeye and Grumps and even Stamford, who had a thing about the Good Book, had laid into him good and proper. The Rooster was lying on his side groaning like an old sailing schooner. They’d fashioned a gag from a piece of grubby textile. The Rooster’s pompadour was all matted up and some blood was trickling out of his nose and he kept sniffing. And then Hawkeye said, ‘Throw him overboard.’ ‘Whoa, way, woo,’ I said, trying to steady myself as the boat danced. ‘We can’t just go throwing-’ ‘Why not?’ sneered Hawkeye. ‘Yeah, why not?’ sneered Grumps, and Stamford, who had a thing for the Good Book, started quoting something I guess came out of it. ‘Well, because,’ I said, struggling for words, and struggling because, face it, I was talking to Hawkeye and Grumps and Stamford, and even before we were in this predicament I avoided conversation with Hawkeye and Grumps and Stamford. ‘Now boys,’ said The Old Man, moving slightly to the centre of the boat, which made it stir even more, ‘just listen boys, we can’t go throwing people overboard just because… well, just because.’ Hawkeye stood there, bolt straight, staring right into The Old Man, 90
whose trousers were now affixed because he had his belt back. Hawkeye was, what, two hundred and thirty pounds, broad shouldered, fists like lump hammers. Five days in the boat had hardly shrunk him but he had this big ridge of a blister running along his lower lip, which looked like it would hurt like the devil whenever he went to speak. ‘Hey,’ Hawkeye said. ‘You saw what he did, he took The Captain with him, and now-’ ‘And now we really got trouble,’ said Grumps, as if being in that boat, in that ocean, at that time, wasn’t already a poser of a problem. ‘Yeah, but,’ The Old Man started saying, and then held his hands out and said, ‘Look maybe we should just all sit down.’ So, we all sat down. There was Hawkeye flanked by Grumps and Stamford on the starboard side, and me and The Old Man a-port, and The Rooster trussed up on the floor, and The Kid sitting astern, knees drawn up, arms folded, head down, shivering. And then Hawkeye said, stretching that blister to bleeding point, ‘We vote on it.’ And there we sat, blinking the sunlight out of our eyes, silence aside from waves kissing wood and a shark’s back breaking the surface, and eventually I said. ‘So what exactly are we voting on?’ Hawkeye leaned forward onto his knees, drew back his lips, and I swear I heard the skin open. ‘Simple,’ he said. ‘The vote is, we throw The Rooster over the side, or we don’t. But remember,’ he lifted a musclebound right arm and pointed a finger, ‘If we don’t then we got to look after him, and I’m not looking after him.’ ‘Me neither,’ said Grumps, and then, like he was a boat-borne Archimedes, went, ‘And don’t forget it’s what he wanted in the first place. And, plus, he’s dangerous, and, and, we should-’ ‘Really,’ I said, and tried to explain that The Rooster was most likely suffering from severe dehydration and was in all probability not in sound enough mind for his actions to be held accountable in any court of law. ‘We aren’t in a court of law,’ hissed Hawkeye. And Stamford, who had a thing about the Good Book, went to quoting some passage or other which I’m sure none of us got to understand the pertinence of. Hawkeye and Grumps grumbled in agreement, and I really fixed on Stamford, his beard all matted with sweat and framing a face all ruddy, all fiery even, like something diabolical, like something out of that book he kept quoting, and I started thinking, ‘He’s next to go.’ But then The Kid said something. He lifted his head off his arms, off his knees, and said, ‘He gave it to me.’ 91
‘Huh?’ kind of said everyone. ‘His water,’ The Kid said, voice a little creaky. ‘He gave me his water. All of it.’ ‘Yeah, well so what?’ said Hawkeye, stiffening. ‘That was then. Before the deed, what’s the legal word?’ ‘A priori,’ said Stamford, and then muttered something more and more in Latin or some such tongue. ‘Right,’ said Hawkeye, standing. ‘And with The Rooster gone, there’s more water for everyone. Ok, we vote.’ He drew himself up and put his hands on his hips. ‘So, who votes to deal with The Rooster?’ Hawkeye and Grumps and Stamford, still sweating, still muttering, raised hands. ‘That’s three,’ Hawkeye said, casting his eye, grinning, lip blister stretching, bead of blood oozing out. ‘Yeah,’ I said, squinting up at him. ‘Who votes no?’ Me and The Old Man and The Kid raised hands. ‘Three apiece,’ said The Old Man, appending a loud ‘ha’. ‘Kid don’t count,’ said Hawkeye, sitting back down. ‘No, he doesn’t count,’ wheezed Grumps through clenched teeth. I noticed he’d been staring at the water container, by The Old Man’s feet, under the shade thrown by the seat, his tongue tracing figures over and around his mouth. ‘He don’t count because he’s not old enough to vote,’ said Hawkeye, tensing his neck and shoulders. ‘Now wait a moment,’ The Old Man said, starting to lurch up out of his sit, until I reached my hand onto his shoulder, easing him back into it, and, keeping my calm, explaining that, shoot, we were all in that boat, in that fix, and therefore any decision made democratically had to be with the consent of everyone. ‘Not kids,’ said Hawkeye. He tensed again, formed his hands into hammer-like fists, as did Grumps, who was not much slighter or lighter, and Stamford, well, he was starting to babble. ‘OK,’ I said. ‘So if The Kid can’t vote, what about The Rooster?’ Hawkeye and Grumps laughed and shook their heads. A wave tossed the boat. We all moved a tad. Up and down. Everything then settled. Our gazes met, me and Hawkeye’s. I heard The Rooster groan, The Kid shiver. Hawkeye said slowly, firmly, deliberately, that prisoners don’t get a say. Hawkeye’s fists were now clenched out in front of him, like he was assuming a fighting stance, albeit seated. I stared down at The Rooster, blood still trickling from his wounded snout, and his eyes at once pleading, and yet, not pleading, like they were resigned, like they didn’t want it but knew it was coming. Like we all know the end of days is 92
coming no matter what we do, what we believe, what we don’t. And Hawkeye said, ‘So who’s gonna do it?’ ‘Huh?’ said The Old Man. ‘You voted for-’ ‘We didn’t vote to throw him out, only that he should be throwed out,’ rasped Grumps. ‘So who’s gonna do it?’ said Hawkeye, every word marked with emphasis. ‘Who?’ And then The Old Man moved with a fluidity I’d not have given him credit for, and he was holding the water container and holding it out over the side and threatening to ditch it and everything in it, if anyone moved, and moved towards The Rooster, and he was shouting with a vehemence I’d not have given him credit for either, and The Kid was suddenly up and mouthing support, and Hawkeye and Grumps were up and wanting to jump The Old Man, but not daring to jump The Old Man and urging him to calm it and to think about it and to remember that that water was all the water that we had, and I was looking at The Rooster, whose eyes were closed tight and the boat was rocking, a lot, and then Stamford rose and, above all others, said, with a voice like it came from the most thunderous of skies, ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte,’ and raising his hands and looking skyward, despite the harsh sun’s blistering power, went on, ‘and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.’ And they did. And then it stopped. And all of it. And we each stood affixed. And ready. Breathing. The only sound being the waves kissing wood. And the sharks smiling.
Plasticising the Biogea; or, Earthly Life in the Anthropocene — Eline Tabak 1. The Age of Plastic I think back to the first time I was aware of the destructibility of plastics, and of its importance in a plasticised world. At primary school, the teachers told us not to litter the environment because the cheap plastic bottles and packages of our lunches and snacks could take up to five or fifteen years to decompose. As an undergraduate student, I read Roland Barthes’ judgement of the material: ‘in essence the stuff of alchemy’, he called it, and ‘a miraculous substance’ (97). Today, our teachers’ warnings have turned out to be wrong and I question Barthes’ wisdom on plastics’ miraculous qualities. Research has shown that the average time for plastic to decompose is 450 years, while some plastic materials take up to a 1000 years to biodegrade, and PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) will never decompose. Since the 1950s, production went up and humanmade sediments are increasing in size, influence, and danger. In fact, the production and litter of plastic has reached such a level that, together with materials such as concrete and aluminium, it has become one of the markers of the Anthropocene, officially leaving the epoch of the Holocene behind (Waters et al. 137-48). Plastic, it turns out, is here to stay and with over 500 million tonnes of plastic produced every year, humans are slowly covering the environment with it. In fact, plastic covers all of Earth: not only the streets, rubbish dumps, and the ocean tops; but it is also in our food, frozen in Arctic sea ice, and the deepest parts of the ocean floors (Zalasiewicz et al. 3-38). While perhaps not ideal, plastic is an inescapable part of Earth’s current geological epoch, the Anthropocene. In one of his latest books, Biogea (2012), Michel Serres is deeply sceptical of this permanent change to Earth and praises natural life—the Biogea. Serres asks for philosophers and people to think like and communicate with the Biogea, which he describes as both the accumulation of ‘Earth and life’ and a ‘victim’ of humanity, and preserve its many forms and lives (23). The Biogea, then, is the entirety of earthly life, or rather the earth alive. It is not merely the accumulation of flora and fauna, but also the wind, rivers, and oceans. While rethinking earthly life, Serres also keeps it separate from human life. Human settlements, like cities, are absent of the Biogea. While extremely critical 95
of humanity’s destructive ways, Serres does not seem to acknowledge the permanent extent of humanity’s production of plastic on Earth: that which I will name the plasticising of the Biogea. Rather than being “trashcan-Earth” (32), something to be filled and then thrown away, these new materials have become a permanent fixture and cannot be thrown away: Earth and life and plasticity. In that light, this paper offers a look in the world with plastic and a re-reading of Serres’ Biogea—or perhaps the Biogea itself—in terms of plasticity. In the Anthropocene, the Biogea is no longer the pure accumulation of earthly life, but now also includes plastic and other human waste in its earthly cycles, its grounds, its airs, and its waters. In short, the Biogea has become plasticised. While this addition to the Biogea is often seen in a negative light—pollution, appropriation, death—it has to be accepted that the consequences of this plasticity will not last five or fifteen years. Plastic has become part of the Biogea, part of the cycles of earthly life, and part of that with which humanity and all other life on Earth communicates. In this essay, I will outline the three stages of plasticising the Biogea, beginning with pollution, moving on to adaptation, and ending with participation, in which the against becomes a with and for and the Biogea becomes plasticised. 2. Pollution A woman walks on the beach in Oahu, Hawaii. Part of an organisation that aims to manage, protect, and restore the native ecosystems of Oahu, she often walks these beaches to look at the state of the island’s ecosystem and its native birds. Today, the woman finds a dead Laysan Albatross fledgling. It is not the first one she found and she knows it will not be the last one. The autopsy shows that the fledgling had ingested a large amount of plastic, which—while the scientists do not dare to declare this with absolute certainty—is the likely reason for the fledgling’s death. The macroscopic fragments of plastic found in the bird’s stomach are numerous: while some fragments are not easy to identify, a cursory look reveals the bird to have swallows several bottle caps, three or four lighters, plastic pins, and one toothbrush. The albatross is a large bird and their fledglings are no smaller. The woman wonders: did this fledgling die of malnutrition and starvation, the result of having a full stomach without any actual food in it? Did it choke on such fragments that cannot be properly broken down into smaller pieces, or was it perhaps poisoned by the toxic substances it digested? 96
It is difficult to tell once the bird has already died. One thing is certain: with more plastic circulating in the oceansâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; currents and more birds eating it and consequently dying, the problem is larger than this single Albatross fledgling. The woman, Dr Cynthia Vanderlip, carefully places the contents of the fledglingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stomach next to each other, photographs it, and continues with her research, thinking about what she can do to manage, protect, and restore (see fig. 1). The Laysan albatross is not the only animal victim to the plastic pollution on Earth. Ecosystems are changing because of the pollution and digestion of macroscopic fragments and microscopic particles of plastic (Barnes et al. 1994). With over 160 species of birds dying after ingesting macroscopic fragments of plastic the total amount of birds falling victim to oceanic pollution is larger than the number of albatrosses found on Oahu.
Fig 1. This photograph shows a dead albatross fledgling and the contents of its stomach. Photo courtesy of Duncan Wright/The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Besides that, cetaceans such as dolphins and whales have also been known to ingest plastic or become entangled in it. In the early nineties, the story of a small turtle named Peanut circled around the world. The turtle had gotten stuck in the plastic ring of a six-pack holder and could not get out. For the next decade or so, she continued to grow and her shield formed around the plastic ring, resulting in her the odd peanut-shaped shield. While this specific turtle survived the ordeal, such deformities not only affect the shield but also the growth of organs and she could have just as easily died. Coral, too, is the victim 97
of plastic pollution. Research on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia has shown that the corals eat microscopic particles, including polystyrene and polyethylene (Hall, et al. 725-32). Unable to digest these particles, they stay inside of the corals and permanently change these marine invertebrates. While the full effect is as of yet unknown, it is undeniable that plastic has become a permanent fixture of marine life in the Great Barrier Reef. While plastics are certainly not the only way of polluting and consequently murdering our surrounding nature, it is a form of pollution that not only most clearly speaks to the human imagination, but also communicates with us as part of the Biogea. For most humans, plastic is a part of every-day life. The bottle caps and toothbrushes thrown into the oceans are items that we, too, use in daily life; plastic bottles are thrown away by us, often on a daily basis. Serres compares the force of humanity, of us, in doing this violence upon the Biogea with tectonic plates: at the core of major changes are the ‘enormous and dense tectonic plates of humanity’ (The Natural Contract 17). It is not individuals, but the human race in its entirety turning Earth into hell with its careless pollution, plasticising the Biogea: Subjects, we pave the world, I mean hell, with objects, named thus by us because thrown before us, rejected, better, disposable: trashcan-Earth, polluted air, dead seas, factory farmed fowl, feet welded into the cement, an unclean world, sewage fields, soiled by us for us to appropriate them. (Biogea 32) By polluting Earth, says Serres, we not only turn it into hell, we appropriate it and make it ours like a wild animal pissing on the ground it intends to claim as its own—a form of communication of animal origin. In Malfeasance: Appropriation through Pollution? (2010), Serres distinguishes between two kinds of pollution: the first one, hard appropriation, is the act of polluting the environment and making it ours by contamination; the second one, soft appropriation, contains forms of advertising, signs and words, that intend to claim the earth, too (41-42). After all, even ‘sustainable development serves as deceptive advertising for [humans] to finish the plundering’ (Biogea 192). How, then, does the plasticised Biogea communicate back to us? Like all the other “things of the world”, plastics, too, speak in the Biogea. Not only are plastics made of earthly materials, but the macroscopic fragments and microscopic particles also become part of 98
the chattering of things. In Biogea, Serres speaks of the water that, although ever-changing in place and material form, never leaves Earth. The water—as the river Garonne, as the rain, or as the oceans’ currents—are all part of the Biogea’s voice. Likewise, earth and fire and air move through the world and continue to speak: “Everything speaks.” Then why should pollution, not the act but the hard materials through which we appropriate the natural world, not have a voice as well? While man-made, plastics, created from crude oil and natural gases, moves and changes through the world. Like the evaporating rivers, the melting ice, and the mountains that become sand through the centuries, plastics, too, change shape and substance—but never are we left with more or less atoms than before. As such, that which gives voice to the earthly elements is also present in plastics. It follows that, the plastics that live in the ocean, too, join in the chatter of the collective Biogea: the plastic fragments that are found in the albatross fledgling speak, the plastic stuck and removed around the young turtle, the microscopic particles floating around the Great Barrier Reef and eaten by corals. Like the sea, the birds, the turtles, and the corals themselves, these plastics join the chorus of the Biogea and sing to us. This does not mean, however, that it is a positive message given to us. Like the ailing rivers cry out for help, these plastics give a message when they are found: they do not belong. While plastics have become a permanent fixture on this planet, this does not imply that they should just be left everywhere, killing animals and other natural phenomena. In the same way that Serres discusses both hard and soft forms of pollution and appropriation, part of the plasticised Biogea, these plastic speak back and against those who pollute. Hard, in their material forms; soft, in the photographs and stories that convey their voices and messages—a translation of an unfamiliar language. Through pollution, the plastics of the Biogea and the Biogea are themselves communicating with humanity. How to speak it? A woman walks on the beach in Oahu, Hawaii. She comes across a dead Laysan Albatross fledgling, looks at the plastic contents of its stomach, and shares its message with the world. Plastic is speaking. 3. Adaptation A hermit crab walks on the beach in Zeeland, The Netherlands. Its body has grown too large for its previous shell and it is looking for a new one to protect is soft abdomen. Normally, the hermit crab would go look for 99
an abandoned gastropod shell or a bigger crab that has outgrown its own shell, leaving it for his fellow crabs to form a line and all move into a slightly bigger shell. Today, the hermit crab is unable to find a gastropod shell or another crab that has decided to leave his shell for another to wear. Fortunately for the crab, the beach is filled with more than sand, pebbles, seaweed, and empty gastropod shells. After looking for a long time, the hermit crab finally sees something he can crawl in to protect his soft body. The next day, two people are walking on the same beach. They are looking for periwinkles and cockles to eat in the evening. With their feet half-way in the water, they suddenly see a plastic bottle cap. It is moving. When they decide to take a closer look. They see that there is a hermit crab in the cap, using the plastic to protect its body from harm as long as it does not find a new and bigger shell to move to. One of the people takes a picture of the crab with their phone and puts in on the internet that same evening, where the picture circulates around their friends, and later the world (see fig. 2). The responses to the image are mixed: on the hand people see it as a sign of the polluted ocean, on the other hand they are happy to see the hermit crab live for another day. Back on the beach, the hermit crab does not care. It continues to do what it always does: eat, find protection, procreate, and survive.
Fig 2. This photograph shows a small hermit crab that decided to live in a toothpaste bottle after it could not find a new shell to live in. Photo courtesy of Reddit user HScmidt/Imgur.
The hermit crab is not the only animal that has learnt to adapt in a plasticised world. Eurasian coots have been using plastics as part of their nests for a while: straws and plastic ribbons are used the same 100
way as twigs and other natural resources. Do these plastics have an insulating factor in their nests or are the coots not aware of what they are using? Deeper in the open waters, there are plastic island forming. They are made of buoys, nets, bottles, and other macroscopic fragments of plastic. On one of these islands, researchers have identified what they call beaches, a rocky coastline, and reefs. Animals like mussels, sea anemones, and clams have been found on these islands, not to mention the seaweed that gets stuck and continues to grow. Other researchers have found ‘bryozoans, barnacles, a worm, an Asellota isopod, and eggs of the sea-skating insect Halobates’ amongst the other plastic-dwellers in the oceans (Reisser and Pattiaratchi, n.p.). Slowly, animal life is adapting and using plastic to continue their life on earth, water, and the sky. And this does not include what the future might bring: a group of Dutch architects has plans to build a “Plastic Island” with the plastics now floating around in the oceans. While humans may be planning on cleaning up the ocean, the incredible amount of plastic in the oceans cannot simply be thrown away nor decompose within the time humans want to get rid of it: creating a new inhabitable island might a way to adapt. Furthermore, the value of plastics is not limited to survival: crows have been giving the stuff as gifts to people for years, showing gratitude and affection to those who have shown kindness in return. For these animals, like humans, plastic has gained a social value that goes beyond death or survival. While Serres often mentions the adaptivity of the microbes and living things in the Biogea, this adaptive quality does not appear to go beyond microbes, tree branches, and other phenomena in earthly life. Instead, the four classic elements and nonhuman nature only appear to adapt themselves to the sound and feel of each other: [E]very fragile breeze induces this oak branch to provoke a response from that linden twig, trembling and adapted to it. They listen to each other like no human couple ever spoke to one another. Yes, the sciences are beginning to discover it, the trees themselves emit voices. (Biogea 133) While humanity is slowly discovering the joined voices of the Biogea, speaking and singing to each other and to humans alike, Serres does not look or hear further than that. As such, neither does Serres talk of the human body adapting to new sounds, the plasticised Biogea, entering the chorus of the Biogea. Instead, only the human 101
body—a sensitive seismograph—adapts itself to the trembling of the natural earth. Serres talks of how the trembling branches of the tree respond to every breath of air that caresses it; but not of how the Biogea itself, seen in the lives of hermit crabs, Eurasian coots, and the slow formation of habitable plastic islands, responds to the plasticising of the world. In Malfeasance, he called it pollution: hard appropriation of the natural world surrounding us. Yet, when you look at how these animals are slowly adapting their own lifestyles and even incorporate plastics into their social lives, how can you deny that earth is slowly adapting into a plasticised Biogea? The question that follows is, how do these animals and these changing events speak to us? I want to focus on one specific event, or to be more specific, the event that initiated something else: the plastic island in the oceans, now home to numerous single-celled organisms, seaweeds, and other animals. It has been speculated that the plastic islands in the oceans have formed after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. A natural disaster that caused thousands of deaths, left even more people without fresh water or a home, and was the cause of Japan’s nuclear power plants to leak radioactive waste. According to Serres, ‘society can be accused’ (Biogea 29). But when is society accused? When it does not listen to the Biogea? While humanity moves in destructive collectives, as powerful as the tectonic plates that caused this natural disaster, listening to the Biogea could not have prevented this disaster. The people that were killed were already there; the people left without water and a home to return to were already there; and the nuclear plant was already there, too. My suggestion is as follows, if the body start to think like the earth and the ocean after experiencing such a natural power and witnessing the Biogea speak, it is time to listen to the Biogea after these events have happened. What happened is this: after the earthquake struck and the tsunami hit the island of Japan, the water and waves took from the land and added to that which was already in the ocean. Out of this the oceans created plastic island, each a newly formed separate part of the Biogea, and eventually home to other life forms. Slowly, nature is adapting to the plastics in the oceans and has started to make its own new life forms. I listen to the Biogea, think like the ocean, and follow the water’s eddies: it is time to create life out of that which has been so carelessly abandoned. Humanity’s hard appropriation is being appropriated in return.
4. Participation A tourist washes his face with a face scrub after shaving. The scrub contains microscopic plastic particles, or microbeads, for the highest effect. After washing his face, the man drains the foam in his sink and after a long journey the microbeads end up in the open water of the ocean. After drifting and accumulating in the ocean, a school of fish appears and they eat the microbeads without knowing. This is not the first time these fish ingest plastic particles, but they remain unaware. Eventually, after days, a group of fishermen captures the fish and, with their nets full, they move back to the land. The fish, still filled with microbeads, are displayed at the fishermenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s local market before they are sold to a man, a cook at a nearby hotel. Unlike the albatross fledgling, the microbeads are too small and have not been in the fish nearly long enough for the fish to starve. The microbeads are too small for the fish to look unhealthy and for the people to notice. Unaware of the plastics in both the ocean and the fish, the cook prepares the food and serves it to the hotelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s guests. The same tourist who uses a scrub every other day to wash his face, orders the fish that evening and the same type of microbeads that he washes off his face in the morning end up in his body hours later. This time, the movement and effect of plastics on the environment are not photographed and shared with the world as they happen. Instead, it takes scientists and researchers months and years to figure out and capture the movement of microscopic plastic particles and their effect on the beings that ingest them: corals, fish, and humans. In the meantime, they all continue what they do in order to live: eat, find protection, procreate, and survive. In the beginning, plastic was praised as a miraculous substance, and it cannot be denied that humanity has found multiple uses for it. After some decades, however, it turned out to be less than ideal. While humanity first thought that burying their plastic waste in the oceans would make it disappear, the opposite turned out to be true: through microplastic particles these plastics are slowly returning to the land, and the land itself is changing accordingly. They are in our waters, in the fish and other animals we eat, and are slowly becoming part of humanity as well like small single-celled organisms living inside our bodies. These microbeads, however, are not the first-time plastics have become parts of human and nonhuman bodies. Plastic prostheses have been used for decades and continue to be created and used: not just as an extension of the body, an arm or a leg, but also inside the body, as joints, disks, and 103
eyes. Plasticised humanity. How, then, does the land adapt to these new materials? A new sediment has been created and discovered: [P]lastiglomerate [describes] an indurated, multi-composite material made hard by agglutination of rock and molten plastic. This material is subdivided into an in situ type, in which plastic is adhered to rock outcrops, and a clastic type, in which combinations of basalt, coral, shells, and local woody debris are cemented with grains of sand in a plastic matrix[.] (Corcoran, Moore, and Jazvac 5-6) With the discovery of plastiglomerate (see fig. 3) being relatively recent, future uses of the new sediment are as of yet unclear. It does, however, show that plastics are once more turned into something other than humanity intended it to be: formed into a new sediment, together with other earthly materials such as sand, wood, and shells, it becomes something new entirely. Adding to and participating in the Biogea, plastiglomerate speaks to us in a chorus of new voices.
Fig 3. Plastic pollution that might one day be part of the sediment plastiglomerate. Photo courtesy of user bilyjan on Pixabay.
Earthly life in the Anthropocene has slowly becoming plasticised, yet plastics are not yet considered to be part of the Biogea. Near the end of Biogea, Serres calls for humanity to look at the wholly other in a different way, not as enemies but as “symbionts” or “mutualists”: I propose considering the other, wholly other, the other 104
humans, but also every being in the Biogea, neither as rivals in a race that the human animal wins but is going to end by losing, nor as enemies in battle, but as symbionts or mutualists: no more war to the death, rather exchanges of reciprocal services. How can the against change into for or with? (170) First, I want to take a look at what Serres refers to as the “wholly other”. All beings in the Biogea are wholly other, tout-autres, not part of our being and doing: the rivers, the oceans, the earth, the animals, and microbes. This is why, when listening to the Biogea, one can speak like the earth, but not of the earth without doing violence unto it. Earlier, Serres refers to the other as something that cannot be encountered with any specialised language, such as that of scholars in science. When something is wholly other, it cannot be captured in our own subjective language and views. Instead, academia’s specialised languages cause humans to speak in “dislocated terms” of those who are wholly other (74). Second, Serres explicitly states that we should not look at this wholly other as either a rival or enemy. Looking at Malfeasance, the wholly ther is considered a rival whom, together with its living space, we overpower and subjugate with pollution, our aggressive ‘will to appropriate, our desire to conquer and expand the space of our properties’ (42). As long as plastics and the plasticising of earthly life can only be viewed in terms of pollution and thus appropriation, the against can never turn into a for or with. And yet, the Anthropocene, defined by the ways which humanity has changed biogeophysical aspects of this Earth such as the new sediment plastiglomerate, is unthinkable without plastics. Perhaps once no more than an agent of hard appropriation, plastic is participating in the Biogea. And like the river and microbes, it speaks to us. The microscopic particles of plastic in both animal and fish speak of the inevitability of plasticised life; new sediments such as plastiglomerate talk of new possibilities, and the plastic islands formed by litter and the oceans’ currents send out signals that it is time to change the way plastics functions on Earth. Like earthquakes and rivers, you have to stand still, encounter and experience, and think like these new participants in the Biogea. Rather than looking at plastics like the enemy, or devourers of ‘earthly capital, hard, accumulated over millions of years’ (Biogea 192), these too have to be seen as symbionts or mutualists. Like the sand coming from the mountains and the rain forming out of open waters, both the accumulation of millions of years on Earth, plastics are the transformed products of atoms that have been part of earthly 105
life since the beginning. And they will be part of Earth for 450, 1000 or endless years to come. The plasticised Biogea is joined by a plasticised humanity: it is a shared experience, encounter between man, earthly life, and plastic. Part of nature, humanity, and the Biogea itself, it is time to start listening to the complete world around us, and change the against into a for or with. 5. The plasticised Biogea As a child I was taught not to litter because the cheap plastic bottles and packages of our lunches and snacks could take up to five or fifteen years to decompose. These days, however, I know it takes centuries longer than previously thought and I mostly worry with questions as to the purpose of it all. Humanity, as powerful as shifting tectonic plates and just as deadly, has created a new—its own—geological epoch. With billions of plastics littering the environment, does it matter whether or not I use one more plastic bottle or bag and add it to the ever-growing pile in my streets, my oceans, and my planet? Looking at the ways plastics are moving in the world—adapting and participating—I revaluate my previous concerns and say yes. The world can and is already living and communicating with plastics: the plasticised Biogea. Following this, one distinction I have hinted at, but have yet to make is the following: are plastics themselves communicating with the Biogea and the other way around, or is humanity now communicating with and encountering a plasticised Biogea? I believe both are happening as we speak. On the one hand, animals and nature alike have been using plastics as means to survive, communicate, and build save homes. Natural disasters, such as the tsunami, and other sea currents have made habitable plastic islands of what once was seen as hard pollution. The sea itself communicates adapts and adjusts itself, producing a message of change. On the other hand, plastics are becoming part of more natural phenomena, such as the seas, once more these plastic islands, and both humans and animals: life on Earth has become plasticised. Rather than against, plastics are working with and for their natural environment. Then how to define the plasticised Biogea? In Malfeasance, Serres defines hard pollution, in this case the littering of plastics across the globe, as the aggressive manifestation of our human will to appropriate nature and make everything ours. Human life and human violence against the Biogea. However, now that plastics have become an irrevocable part of earthly life in the Anthropocene, it is time to look at 106
what Barthes once called a â&#x20AC;&#x153;miraculous substanceâ&#x20AC;? from an affirmative angle. In this current day and age, plastics are everywhere, more often than not causing unimaginable pollution and destruction. However, there are alternatives to the ways plastics can be used and thus become part of earthly life. Humans themselves are already doing just that: recycling plastics, using them to isolate sustainable houses, designing a habitable island of the stuff. Animals, too, are recycling the plastics we have left in their habitats, using it to create save homes and nests, and even sustain social relations. The plasticised Biogea is the sum of the world, only with plastics. Or rather, plastics are with and for the world. Similarly, the outside has become an in: that which was first working against nonhuman life, and then against both human and nonhuman life, once more has the potential to become part of our lives as long as we listen to what it has been speaking to us all along. Still wholly other, but no longer appropriating and destructive. Only by allowing ourselves to be completely open and be opened up, can we continue life in the Anthropocene. The plasticised Biogea, or earthly life in the Anthropocene, lives, resonates, bells and howls in its wholeness. It is time to start listening.
Works Cited Barnes, David K. A., et al. ‘Accumulation and Fragmentation of Plastic Debris in Global Environments.’ Philosophical Transactions of Royal Society B 364.1526 (2009): 1985-98. Barthes, Roland. ‘Plastic.’ Mythologies. Trans. Annette Lavers. New York: Noonday Press, 1991. 97-99. Corcoran, Patricia L., Charles J. Moore, and Kelly Jazvac. ‘An Anthropogenic Marker Horizon in the Future Rock Record.’ GSA Today 24.6 (2013): 4-8. Hall, N.M., et al. ‘Microplastic Ingestion by Scleractinian Corals.’ Marine Biology 162.3 (2015): 725-32. Reisser, Julia, and Charitha Pattiaratchi. ‘Creatures Living on Tiny Ocean Plastic May Be Cleaning our Seas.’ The Conversation. 18 June 2014. <http://theconversation.com/creatures-living-on-tiny-oceanplastic-may-be-cleaning-our-seas-27876> [accessed on 25 January 2016] Serres, Michel. Biogea. Trans. Randolph Burks. Minneapolis: Univocal Publishing, 2012. ---. Malfeasance: Appropriation Through Pollution? Trans. Anne-Marie Feenberg-Dibon. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2010. ---. The Natural Contract. Trans. Elizabeth MacArthur and William Paulson. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995. Waters, Colin N., et al. ‘The Anthropocene is Functionally and Stratigraphically Distinct from the Holocene.’ Science 351.6269 (2016): 137-48. Zalasiewicz, Jan, et al. ‘The Geological Cycle of Plastics and their use as a Stratigraphic Indicator of the Anthropocene.’ Anthropocene 13 (2016): 1-38.
Poems of generosity find their time – Oliver Webb Slakki: New & Neglected Poems Roy Fisher (80 pp., £9.95, Bloodaxe Books (2016)) The title of Roy Fisher’s 2010 collection Standard Midland refers to a certain ‘plain way of talking’ located firmly in his home Midlands. Such a description of Fisher’s poetry seems apt. And perhaps the defining mark of this plainness is that it never slips into cold detachment or an emotionally stunted stoicism. When he refers to the neglect referenced in the title of Slakki: New & Neglected Poems as ‘entirely mine’, he takes responsibility for what becomes a thematic concern, whilst simultaneously expressing it as a given; it could not possibly be the fault of ‘publishers, editors or reviewers’ as ‘my work always seems to me to have had as much attention as it deserved or was likely to get.’ That those neglected poems ‘lacked a stable self’, one ‘responsible for it and to it’, lingers in the reading. As to why they now find themselves published, Fisher, aside from his plain talking, does not explicitly disclose this. Instead, the three sections—comprised of the new, and the neglected from the 1960s and the 1950s respectively—are open to develop their own thread under the watchful eye of long-time editor Peter Robinson. If earlier poems echo William Carlos Williams’ intimate attention to images, “Bench”, from the selection of new poems, invokes his spirit readily: ‘No ideas/but in mixtures, suspensions, conglomerates, slags/in variety’. The reference receives a reworking, adding a caveat of complication and adding richness. This new selection also reflects on age both here—‘With my time in my eye/an honorific ode’s not on/for one so young, so I’ll give you a piece of my mind’—and in “1941”, arguably the most direct of the new poems—‘with the bomb-shot windows hanging loose/and the useful part of my education completed’. This sense of the ‘stable self’ that Fisher recognises as crucial is vivid here. “Sky Work” demonstrates once more Fisher’s vigilance, an affectionate portrayal of the sky under perception: ‘For me in particular it carves itself alive/ into oblongs and squares that stretch/to fit windows exactly’. Whilst an anthropomorphic act, it bears a yearning idealism: ‘ Without/feelings of 110
its own it labours to match/whatever moods may float up…It won’t rest’. One of the longest from section “Two”, “Abraham Darby’s Bridge”, is an act of deliberate agitation, beginning ‘Forget the masterpiece itself:/it cracks with watching’, before deliberating on said masterpiece. Sustained by a soon-to-be characteristic wit and attention, several passages are all the better for being read aloud, displaying an acute awareness to how the poem sounds - ‘with gardens and hovels/ collapsed into peace,/patched with fresh mortar,/with fresh cinders’. That this is balanced so effectively, not sacrificing image for the quality of the spoken word nor vice versa, is a substantial achievement in itself. In another highlight from this section, “Results” considers passivity and the intimacy of exchanged glances, whilst in “Night Walkers” the poet moves towards a more physically active language—‘There’s a smashed box of wind in every street”…“Behind their glistening panes shaken with blows’—to present the near perpetual motion of the city. “Division of Labour” from section “Three” turns Fisher’s eye again towards the landscape of the city, whilst the rich prose poem, “The Doctor Died”, moves from image to image languidly, emphasising, with consistent poise, colour and movement. “The Moral” stands out here, perhaps due to Fisher’s aforementioned concern with the lack of a singular voice. In spite of this, the poem displays both Fisher’s wit and love of the leftfield metaphor that has become a trademark, even in these early “neglected” works. Vigilance again seems critical, finding beauty in inevitability—‘It was surely a portent’—as every character is engulfed, some more actually than others—‘And all of the frog, who knew perfectly well how to swim’. It would be almost reflexive to assume a poet’s reasoning for releasing poems excluded at the time of composition as due to a lack of quality. Certainly, There are differences between the earliest works of 1951 and 2016, but for there to not be would be more of a cause for concern and the quality is certainly not lacking. What remains is a phenomenological curiosity and the encouragement of an oft missing intimacy which is handled generously and with dignity. [Editor’s note: Roy Fisher died on the 21st March 2017, a month or so after Oliver completed his review for us. In this interest of critical balance and in the spirit in which we believe the author would want his work to be read, we did not ask Oliver to revise his review after Fisher’s death.] 111
Re-evaluations and Culminations - Harrison Sullivan Poetry and the Anthropocene: Ecology, biology and technology in contemporary British and Irish poetry Sam Solnick (238 pp., £78.39, Routledge (2016)) Sam Solnicks’s Poetry and the Anthropocene: Ecology, biology and technology in contemporary British and Irish poetry proposes in the introduction, as the subtitle to the book suggests, that ‘ecological thinking means engaging with the feedbacks and relationships within and between the organic, abiotic materials, the technological and the social’ (10). The introduction goes further by suggesting that the poetics of the poets analysed, J.H. Prynne, Derek Mahon and Ted Hughes, all possess a desire to change ‘communicative systems’ and ‘their impact human on thought and behaviour’ (15). It is only through this that the ‘ecological function’ of humanity’s impact on the planet can be addressed. This is framed as a re-evaluation of previous ecocritical approaches, especially in the case of Ted Hughes. Solnick sees a need to correct the aspects of his work that have been ‘(mis)read or elided by both his many critics and staunchest supporters’ (11). This re-evaluation is carried out through the critical lens of the Anthropocene and in particular Timothy Clark’s work, such as Ecocriticism on the Edge: The Anthropocene as a Threshold Concept (2015), in which Anthropocene theory is used to disrupt ‘any sense of oneself as a freely choosing rational individual’ (Solnick 41) in favour of an analysis of systems that recognise humanities’ geological force. This dense theoretical basis for the book is explored in depth in its opening two chapters, ‘Introduction: Poetry and Science’ and ‘Evolving systems of (eco)poetry’. These chapters also chart the approaches that Solnick takes for each poet. Ted Hughes’ rehabilitation from ecocritical readings that remain too indebted to ‘Romantic concepts of [a] human part within [an] organic whole’ (9) is carried out through a broad engagement with his ‘vast correspondence’ and ‘campaigns’ which allow Solnick to uncover ‘his deceptively sophisticated rendering of evolution and technology’ (11). Mahon’s chapter in contrast elucidates the ways in which his ‘ironic ecology’, which is identified as ‘liberal and humanist’ in contrast to the two other poets, represents an anxiety about the ‘aesthetic or social retreats into dwelling’ and away from nature (12). Finally Prynne’s embrace of 112
‘complex relationships between humans, their environment(s) and the technologies that impact them both’ (13) forms the basis for the final section. ‘Evolving systems of (eco)poetry’ is notable not only for its wide ranging and comprehensive account of ecocritical approaches which spans Johnathan Bates and Lawrence Buell to James Lovelock’s misguided Gaia Theory and present day work on the Anthropocene, but also its engagement with British poetry. In particular, Solnick’s discussion of experimental poetry (27-32) and Harriet Tarlo’s terminology ‘radical landscape poetry’ is interesting. Solnick concludes that this experimental poetics leads to a poetry that increasing lacks ‘environment engagement’ (31) and which results in ‘an insistence on the local’ that could ‘stymie as well as facilitate global environmental awareness’ (30). As such Solnick suggests that less experimental poetics such as Hughes and Alice Oswald operate as a middle ground that is able to take up both ‘phenomenological engagement and environmentalism’ (31). In doing so Solnick is attempting to suggest that “poetry and the Anthropocene” should not be limited to “poetry about the Anthropocene”. There is a sense for Solnick that “non-radical” poetries are able to more effectively bridge this gap. Solnick suggests Systems theory as an approach should be taken up by theorists in order to explore ‘why and how communication about ecology, biology and technology might be affecting or (in)effective’ (57). Solnick’s discussion of Hughes, ‘”Life subdued to its instrument”’, analyses a wide breath of Hughes’ work, including his poems, letters and the novels The Iron Man and The Iron Woman. These last two examples are used to forward a Heideggerian argument that ‘while the technological world cannot be abolished, it might be assimilated’ (100). This is used to underline a reading of Hughes that focuses convincingly on a ‘deep-ecological sense of species equality’ (82) and highlights the ‘mechanically mediated human desire which inscribes itself on the body of the destroyed animal’ (83). This highlights the importance of environmental causes to Hughes and his belief in his work as bases for promoting them and playing ‘a significant role in adapting humans to […] environmental crisis’ (97). In ‘“Germinal ironies”’, the fourth chapter, it is Mahon’s ‘foundational concern with linking the economic and social alongside the spatial and ecological’ for Solnick that makes him the ‘interesting contemporary Irish poet for exploring the Anthropocene’ (106). The chapter charts, on the one hand, Mahon’s ‘refusal to fully invest himself 113
in a concomitant guilty conscience at [his] failure to do or feel what he “should”’ (106). And on the other hand, Mahon’s engagement with James Lovelock’s Gaia theory (128) and the hyper connectedness of all things that it implies. Solnick’s reading of Mahon investigates how through the use of irony Mahon critiques the late-stage capitalist society that he is implicated in. Solnick elucidates this as a poetry that ‘shuttles between caustic satire, glib playfulness, hopeful ecorhapsody, visionary gloom, faux naïve optimism and resign apocalypticism’ (127). Solnick’s chapter on J.H. Prynne ‘The resistant materials of Jeremy Prynne’ suggests the difficulty of Prynne’s work as stemming from a ‘sense that many materials are, in significant ways, resistant to human ways of knowing and doing’ (150). The chapter investigates the difficulties which Prynne addresses in his poetry such as his ‘disgust at some of the driving motivations behind biochemical research’ (176) and ‘questions of temporality, plant biology and academic politics’ (168) which make up Prynne’s The Plant Time Manifold. This culminates in a suggestion the Prynne’s indentification of resistance in things like ‘biology or climate science’ or ‘pharmacology’ predictions reveal a technological world that is resistant to the ‘anthropocentric (‘overhumanized’) conceptualisation, commodification and, ultimately, control’ (191). There is a sense of apocalyptic inevitability that pervades Solnick’s conclusion. The ‘human instruments’ which ‘risk extinguishing large swathes of [life on earth]’ are given a vitalism, stemming from Solnick’s reading of Prynne and his giving voice to “resistant materials”. Solnick’s final suggestion is that ‘for too long readers have looked to poetry primarily to understand how one might dwell in the world; the point [...] is to change (with) it’ (211). This cannot help but take on a fatalistic overtone in light of the human and non-human mass suffering and death that the abstracted “change” will entail. This book shares with the activist Hughes, the ironic Mahon, and perceptive Prynne a convincing argument for poetry’s role in critiquing of the course which has led to the Anthropocene, but that appears to be the limit of poetry. It is not clear how we can come to terms with our complicity in not just living in a world but having become a geological force that will fundamentally damage life on it, let alone what “changing with” that force would entail other than a human survivability that is almost assured already. 114
A Vast Empty Place – Matthew Carbery Topophobia: A Phenomenology of Anxiety Dylan Trigg (211 pp., £19.79, Bloomsbury Publishing (2016)) Dylan Trigg’s work traces and retraces strangeness in its myriad forms. It is also a body of work which is itself strange. His figures of interest have included Emmanuel Levinas, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Gaston Bachelard, Edmund Husserl, Quentin Meillassoux and Martin Heidegger alongside literary and filmic figures such as John Carpenter, J.G. Ballard, H.P Lovecraft, Stanley Kubrick, Werner Herzog, David Cronenberg and David Lynch. Trigg’s ability to bring together the philosophical, the filmic and the literary without trivialising any of the above makes him a writer of great importance not only to the phenomenological tradition but to contemporary thought more generally. Indeed, Trigg’s measured discourse allows him to bridge the often sizeable gap between popular culture and academia while remaining rigorous in his investigation of the sources and symptoms of the troubling existential themes of uncanniness, anxiety, horror and memory. Together his four books- The Aesthetics of Decay, The Thing: A Phenomenology of Horror, The Memory of Place: A Phenomenology of the Uncanny and the latest, Topophobia: A Phenomenology of Anxiety- make a strong case for the importance of bearing witness to strangeness as a phenomena as it appears in its most striking forms. In Topophobia, however, Trigg’s writing takes a new emphasis. It is as much a work of phenomenology as it is a work about phenomenology. That said, Trigg does not expend unnecessary time and space with deferential discussions of the history of phenomenology. True to the nature of the epoché, he begins in medias res, at once developing a thesis and exposing his writing—and his audience— to the vicissitudes of contingency, the strangeness of nowness. Grounded in his own subjective experience of debilitating anxiety, the existential modality in question in Topophobia is that of the Agoraphobe. Through painstakingly detailed recreations of anxiety attacks, Trigg offers the reader a tour of particular locations– mostly within Paris– from the agoraphobe’s perspective, using these as the foundations for his meditations on anxious being. 115
In this sense, Trigg’s writing begins to emulate some of the more unusual moments of Merleau-Ponty’s early work, such as Phenomenology of Perception. In the chapter ‘The Cogito’, Merleau-Ponty turns to his own direct present-tense experience in order to illustrate the phenomenological process: I am thinking of the Cartesian cogito, wanting to finish this work, feeling the coolness of the paper under my hand, and perceiving the trees of the boulevard through the window. My life is constantly thrown headlong into transcendent things, and passes wholly outside me. (Phenomenology of Perception , 369) The question of verisimilitude underpinning this passage speaks of a more general anxiety in phenomenological discourse to do away with philosophical abstraction. Whether or not this is achieved is a separate question, though in Topophobia we see this theme turned on its head; if phenomenology is a fundamentally anxious philosophy, what can it offer us by way of explanation of the fundamental anxieties of our lives, such as Trigg himself experiences in agoraphobia? Such a mode of articulation warrants exemplifying. The book opens with the following passage: 13 March 2011. You are standing beside the Pont Marie, a small bridge positioned just off the Rue des Nonnains-d’Hyéres. The bridge arches gently over the Seine before disappearing into the crowds on the Ile Saint-Louis. […] At the entrance of the bridge, you will re-enact a series of attempts at crossing the structure, each time finding yourself unable to master the unfamiliar terrain that divides you from the rest of the city. Faced with the prospect of navigating the bridge, your body emits a series of sensations and movements, which, despite being familiar to you, still mark the possibility of a trauma yet to be written into your flesh. (xiii) Here, Trigg adopts the second person both to implicate the reader in the disclosure of strangeness whilst similtaneously underscoring the extent to which anxiety involves a kind of othering wherein the self itself becomes estranged. Later in the work, Trigg develops something of a grounding for this uncanniness in the figure of the home. This he defines as a discrete entity as well as a “presence that structures the Agoraphobe’s experience of spatiality more broadly” (xlii). He relates this specifically to anxiety in the sense that the home establishes a variety of “centres” from which the unhomely deviate. In moving towards this wider conception of the anxious event, Trigg for the first time in his body of work dwells at length on the relationship between psychoanalysis and phenomenology. 116
In particular, his discussion of the Lacanian mirror stage poses the question: Is anxiety the product of subjectivity, or is it its source? If the latter is the case, Trigg proposes, the Agoraphobe experiences their anxiety as a primary condition of being, a discomfort which illumines the contours of selfhood. For this reader, Trigg’s earlier work The Thing: A Phenomenology of Horror was a revelation in terms of turning continental philosophy to the strange and uncanny without sacrificing its rigor and intellectual scrutiny. Likewise, Topophobia takes us deeper into strange spaces, but there is even more depth to this work than in his earlier writing. Grounded in a subjectivity which is generatively exclusionary, Trigg invites us to experience for ourselves the uncanniness of imagined spaces. This reader found himself turning to Google Street View to extend his sense of the anxious subject confronted by a “collision of space and time” (xvii), attempting virtual equivalents of the same journeys detailed in the work. Topophobia’s appeal lies in how compellingly it poses the question: How does somewhere “become an anxious space?” (xix). Its success as an investigation lies in the methodical way in grounds this question both in a ‘real’ world outside the text, in phenomenological theses of spatiality and the literary and filmic worlds we so often inhabit. It is another excellent book in a growing body of work dedicated to encountering strangeness not as a peculiarity but as a defining experience in our complicated and overdetermined sense of selfhood.
Tales of Webs of Tar – Steve Spence The Blind Road Maker Ian Duhig (80 pp., £9.98, Picador Poetry (2016)) Ian Duhig is always a poet worth reading. His mix of traditional forms with an almost manic erudition and punk sensibility ensure that you’re going to be constantly surprised even if you don’t get all the references or allusions. In terms of his insistence on metre and his sometimes thumping musicality you can’t avoid thinking of Tony Harrison and even Peter Reading. He also shares those poets’ concern with social issues – often dystopian, as with Reading, and class-based, as more often than not with Harrison. Key influences in this work are Byron’s long poem Don Juan, Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy and the civil engineer and polymath Blind Jack Metcalf, the inspiration for the book’s title. In ‘Canto’, modelled on Byron’s Don Juan and fuelled with a Sterne-like inclination towards the tangential, Duhig brings in classical references (the fall of Troy) recent politics (Ashdown, Clegg and Gordon Brown) and an hilarious and rumbustious ongoing commentary on disputes within poetry which posits Prynne and Hill as contenders fighting ‘in an impenetrable fog’. ‘Is Prynne why now your average college nerdsworth / shuns Byron to study bloody Wordsworth?’ This is Barry Tebb territory and given that Duhig himself clearly has more than a soft spot for John Ashbery and uses a quote from Anne Carson as a preface to one of his poems you have to take this with a pinch of salt. His mixing of the colloquial with the high literary is all a part of his charm and, if he occasionally needs to prove that he’s a literary bruiser, he’s much, much funnier than Sean O’Brien! There is a serious aspect to the ‘class-conflict’ within Duhig’s poetry, however, and you’re never seriously left wondering which side he’s on. Duhig clearly has an admiration for outsiders, for polymaths and those whose lives have been less than celebrated, as exemplified in ‘The Ballad of Blind Jack Metcalf – on the unveiling of his statue in Knaresborough’. His verse here is muscular and rhythmic, skilfully combining the colloquial with ‘high culture’, using his learning as a weapon in an ongoing clash of class which Duhig regrets elsewhere ‘has not gone away’. Folk art and the occult are also elements which infuse his poetry in its oppositional aspect: Sharp dealer, traffic was Jack’s gift, in fish and flesh he’d trade; a soldier, smuggler, fiddler, guide – 118
roadmaker when that paid. He’d spin his tales of webs of tar as dark as all he saw; he was our Daedalus of roads we’re each his Minotaur – Asterions, his starry ones we travel by his lights a hundred thousand miles each day, his thousand and one nights. In ‘Riddle’ and more notably in ‘Brick Arch’ Duhig is again using his knowledge and erudition as an oppositional resource, challenging the phrase ‘thick as a brick’, with its common suggestion of stupidity or denseness, often used in a class context, via an exploration of the history of working in clay and its relationship to creativity. There is a link here between the artisan and the artist rather than an unbridgeable gulf as might be suggested elsewhere: Baked clay tablets from Babylon tell how bricks had symbolized creativity, with the Mother of Us All, Belet-ili, praised as ‘Our Brick of Lapiz Lazuli’; how bricks from then to now dimple as if impressed by her curving belly. (from ‘Brick Arch’) Yet Duhig is nothing if not plain awkward. In ‘The Balladeer’s Lament’ he appears to be arguing against the failings of free verse and bemoaning his own traditional virtues – ‘Too old this dog.’ – while giving us a homage to Edwin Morgan’s playful poetry on the facing page – ‘ The World Is Everything That Is The Case’. Yet the play on ‘forms’ and hares’ may once again suggest a conflict which is to some extent ‘tongue in cheek’: The Balladeer’s Lament My forms will never warm these hares not here, nor there, they turn again their free verse from my poem’s course for mazes their own brains lay down. 119
They slip my words as easily as they their shapes and English gods to please themselves, their world a breeze, still new their tricks. Too old this dog. I’m speculating here but I can’t help thinking that Duhig is representing an inner conflict between the playful, ludic aspect of writing, which clearly features in his poetry, and the more ‘responsible’ craftsmanlike nature of formal device, which is clearly also important to him. Form and content, never divisible perhaps, yet there appears to be a recurring need to air these issues. I can’t help wondering what he makes of some of the younger practitioners now developing more experimental modes of poetry, influenced by new technologies, work which nonetheless retains a political aspect. Tom Jenks, for example. In ‘The Rŭm District’ Duhig is in Ashbery mode, showing off his linguistic knowledge and interest in etymology while punning incessantly and ecstatically, referencing Yeats for good measure – ‘ the Emperor’s soldiery drunken’ – and taking word association to new levels in a manner more like that of a highly literate stand-up comedian: Stanza meaning room. I ring room service for the hair of the dog, ordering this rûm cocktail which arrives with an orange slice, an ash berry, and an ice cube melting like this poem. In ‘Shapeshifting Ghosts of Byland Abbey’ we are given an insight into Duhig’s interest in the ‘supernatural’ via a prose poem which explores the world of M.R. James. Duhig clearly has an interest in the source material of James’ ghost stories and the ways in which such narratives have been used in opposition to the prevailing power structures, whether the government or the church. Similarly with ‘Mother Shipton’, where folklore and the occult provide alternative sources of knowledge or information which proves challenging to the authorities. There’s a repeating motif of a punk ethos in Duhig’s work, allied to a respect for knowledge and understanding which is so often at odds with mainstream discourses. As it becomes easier for us to access more and more information and harder perhaps to distinguish ‘fact from fiction’ the possibilities are intriguing.
Biographical Notes Ben Marsh-Allen is an amateur poet, photographer and musician living in the ancient village of Iwade, Kent. A creative writing graduate from the University of Kent, he now spends his days writing, composing and recording, whilst recruiting, training and managing volunteers for The Prince’s Trust. A recent father and husband, he is now channeling his life experiences through creative outlets. Bill Bulloch is a writer and photographer. A graduate of Edge Hill University, he is currently studying towards a Masters in Creative Writing, to hone his writing as a tool for further investigations in the field of innovative poetry. Bill is currently artist in residence for The Wolf poetry magazine, where his photographic sequence ‘Anthropocene’ is presented as cover and interior spread for issue 33, July 2016. Bryn Tales is a PhD candidate in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Sheffield. His current research is working towards the completion of his thesis entitled A Poetic Ethnography of the Dearne Valley in the South Yorkshire Coalfield following Neoliberalism. Over the past decade he has worked as a teacher of English at colleges across Yorkshire and has published poetry with Smith/Doorstop amongst many others. Calum Hazell’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Jungftak, Lunar Poetry and Great Works. In February 2016 he exhibited visual work at St. John’s College, University of Oxford, as part of a project on Charles Sanders Peirce’s semiotic. He regularly reads at Writers Forum (New Series) and is a member of the Centre for Contemporary Poetry (Contempo) research group. He can be contacted via calumhazell2009@ live.co.uk. Camilla Nelson is a Somerset-based poet, artist and researcher. She has presented her research at national and international conferences since 2010 and continues to perform and exhibit her text-work throughout the UK. She is the creator of Poem Factory (A Performance Installation) and a founding member of the Grass Routes collective. As a poet, her work is regularly published in national and international magazines, journals and anthologies and runs poetry workshops across London and SouthWest England. She is the founding editor of Singing Apple Press and the poetry editor of ALECC’s journal for literature, environment and culture, The Goose. 121
Charles Eager is a translator and scholar from Yorkshire, England. He is coauthor of Synkronos (forthcoming, Autumn 2017). Christopher Cokinos’s work has appeared in several venues, including TYPO, diagram, december, Matter Monthly and Blackbox Manifold. He also writes prose, with three nonfiction books to his credit, and just co-edited a new book from Arizona called The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide. He has had work recently in terrain.org, Pacific Standard and the Los Angeles Times. David Rushmer’s artworks and writings have appeared in a number of magazines and websites since the late 1980s, including: Angel Exhaust, Archive of the Now, BlazeVOX, E.ratio, Great Works, Molly Bloom, Shearsman, and 10th Muse. He has work included in Sea Pie: An Anthology of Oystercatcher Poetry (Shearsman, 2012). His most recent published pamphlets are The Family of Ghosts (Arehouse, Cambridge, 2005) and Blanchot’s Ghost (Oystercatcher Press, 2008). He lives and works in the Cambridge area and also sings in the Post-Punk Garage band, Kepler. Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo teaches a course called “Reading Film, TV, and the Internet” for the Department of Humanities of the University of the Philippines Los Baños. His poems have appeared in Transit, hal., and High Chair and more recently in Otoliths, Bukambibig, Jazz Cigarette, and Softblow. He blogs at tekstongbopis.blogspot.com. Dominic O’Key is an editor of the cultural studies and critical theory journal, parallax. He also convenes the Creaturely Life reading group, and is the 2016/17 co-director of Quilting Points, the interdisciplinary critical theory group. For this, he and Rachel Johnson focused on the work of Hannah Arendt, and invited presentations from Profs. Simon Swift (Geneva), Patrick Hayden (St Andrews) and Lyndsey Stonebridge (East Anglia). He co-organised the WRoCAH-funded event World Against Globe: Reconceptualising World Literatures Today (April 2016) and the workshop Futures of Memory (Feb 2017). Most recently, he and Ian Ellison hosted a workshop on W. G. Sebald: Beyond Sebald: New Trajectories in Sebald Studies (May 2017). He is a member of the Northern Animals collective. Eline Tabak: I hold a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Groningen (with a year abroad at the University of York) and a Master’s degree in Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Utrecht, where I engaged with gender studies, new materialism, posthumanism, and ecocriticism and the Anthropocene. This year, I will start my PhD 122
at the Rachel Carson Center, Munich, with a project tentatively titled ‘Reading Against the Anthropocene? An Investigation of the Impact of Environmental Literature’. Grizel Luttman-Johnson has returned to drawing and printmaking after a period of producing mar-bled papers. She also makes handmade books and is a member of Appledore Craft Collective. Grizel works from her studio in Hartland, Devon and is a member of Appledore Craft Collective. She has a degree in Fine Art from Wimbledon School of Art. Heather J. Macpherson writes from New England. Her work has appeared in Blueline, Spillway, Pearl, CLARE Literary, OVS, Niche, ATOMIC, The Heron Tree, Nerve Cowboy and other fine publications. She has twice been features editor for The Worcester Review and has been a guest blogger on The Best American Poetry Blog which featured her interview, and essay, with Stephanie Brown. Heather is executive director at Damfino Press. Kirby Manià holds an MA in Modern Literature and Culture from the University of York and a PhD in English from the University of the Witwatersrand. She currently teaches English Literature and critical thinking to students in the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Her work has appeared in New Contrast, Brittle Paper, Itch and The Kalahari Review. Natalie Joelle is writing a transdisciplinary study of gleaning and lean culture at Birkbeck, University of London, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Her creative work has appeared in Plumwood Mountain, Datableed and Intercapillary Space. Further information about her work is available on Academia.edu, and she can be reached at email@example.com. Oliver Perrott-Webb is studying in the Centre for Modern Poetry at the University of Kent. Rachel Gippetti’s debut collection, Birthright, has recently been published by Eyewear Publishing as part of the Aviator Pamphlet Series. Her work has also appeared in publications in the UK and USA including Shearsman Magazine, The Stinging Fly, THIEF and The Apple Valley Review and she is the author of several children’s books. Born in Boston, Rachel now lives in the South West of the UK. She works at Plymouth College of Art, sporadically runs the Plymouth-based literary night Lit and is a member of the band Booby Trap. 123
Skye McDade-Burn: I am currently training to be an Integrative Child Counsellor. Before this I did an undergraduate degree in Japanese and Politics, and then an MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature. I have had a poem, ‘Playground’, published in the most recent issue of Different Skies Journal. I also occasionally DJ, and have some mixes online here- https://www.mixcloud.com/talesoftono/. On my mixcloud page is also a live reading of ‘Playground’ with a soundscape that I did on the radio show Bad Punk on Resonance FM. Sneha Subramanian Kanta is pursuing her second postgraduate degree in literature at the University of Plymouth, United Kingdom and an awardee of the GREAT scholarship. She is also the Poetry Editor for INK, published by the university press. Her work has appeared or is to appear in Ann Arbor Review (MI, USA), The Rain, Party & Disaster Society (USA) and in poetry anthologies such as Dance of the Peacock (Hidden Brook Press, Canada), Suvarnarekha (The Poetry Society of India, India) and elsewhere. Steve Spence lives in Plymouth and helps to run The Language Club, a group which promotes live poetry events and is based at the Arts Centre. His reviews and poetry have appeared in a number of magazines, notably Great Works, Shearsman, Stride, Tears in the Fence, Tenth Muse and The Rialto. He was assistant editor of Terrible Work magazine for four issues and in 2007 completed an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Plymouth. A Curious Shipwreck is his first collection of poetry and Penned in the Margins released his second book, Limits of Control in 2011. Steven Hitchins is a poet from the South Wales Valleys. Brought up in Abercynon, where the River Cynon meets the Taff, he currently lives a few miles downriver in Rhydyfelin, Pontypridd. Through publications such as Bitch Dust (Hafan 2012) and The White City (Aquifer 2015), he has been conducting a mobile, non-linear mapping of the South Wales coalfield, using cut-up techniques and psychogeographical dérives to excavate industrial wounds and geological layerings along the invisible routes of the deleted canals. His poetry and articles have appeared in Poetry Wales, New Welsh Review, Junction Box and Wales Arts Review, and he has performed at the Hay Poetry Jamboree in Hay-on-Wye, Poets Live in Paris, the Bath Arts Fringe Festival and the North Wales International Poetry Festival. Stuart Ross is a writer, editor, and writing teacher living in Cobourg, Ontario. He is the author of 20 books of poetry, fiction, and essays, including A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent (Wolsak and Wynn, 2016), A Hamburger in a Gallery (DC Books, 2015), Further Confessions of a Small Press 124
Racketeer (Anvil Press, 2015), and Our Days in Vaudeville (Mansfield Press, 2014). He recently released the first and final issue of the poetry magazine The Northern Testicle Review. Stuart is currently working on several poetry and fiction projects, as well as a memoir. His second novel, Pockets, comes out in fall 2017 from ECW Press. Stuart blogs at bloggamooga.blogspot.ca. Tom Betteridge is a writer and researcher living in London. His poems and essays have appeared in Textual Practice, Blackbox Manifold, DATABLEED, Gnommero, Hix Eros, Intercapillary Space, The Literateur, Scree, Spam, and ZARF. His first poetry collection, Pedicure, is available from Sine Wave Peak press. Tom Snarsky teaches mathematics at Malden High School in Malden, Massachusetts, USA. William Telford works as Business Editor at The Herald in Plymouth, UK. He has an MA in Creative Writing from Plymouth University. His short stories and poetry have been published in Spelk, Short Fiction, Ink, Flair, the Western Morning News and The Broadsheet. In 2012 he was shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize.
EPIZOOTICS! Editorial Team Caitlin Stobie
Caitlin Stobie is a doctoral researcher at the University of Leeds, where she is director of the Leeds Animal Studies Network and a member of the Northern Animals Research Collective. Her poems and short stories have appeared in journals such as Poetry & Audience, Zoomorphic, The Stockholm Review of Literature, Plumwood Mountain, New Contrast, New Coin, and Flash. Her interests include posthumanism, postcolonial ecocriticism, and the interstices between literature and biology.
Harrison Sullivan is a CHASE funded PhD student at the University of Kent working in post-war British and American Poetry. In this regard his academic interests include in the Anthropocene, the relationship to the non-human other and poetic form. His interests also extend to a fascination with the Godzilla franchise, especially the movement from inhuman symbol to last line of defence for Japan from the extensive pantheon of monsters which populate the films. He also has a long running interest in extended narratives in films, such as Bela Tarrâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Satantango or Lav Diazâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Melancholia. His musical tastes have been characterised by oscillation between Joanna Newsom and Scott Walker while attempting to broaden my horizons when not completely immersed in the former or the latter.
Peter Adkins is a PhD student at the University of Kent working on a thesis that examines the figure of the nonhuman and the agency of the geological in the writings of James Joyce, Virginia Woolf and Djuna Barnes. He has a side interest in slow techno and the fuzzy, distorted end of ambient music. He has had work published in The Glasgow Review of Books, Inverted Audio and The James Joyce Broadsheet
Matthew Carbery is an Early Career Researcher, poet, musician and Associate Lecturer at University of Plymouth and University of Kent. He has recently finished his first monograph, entitled Acts of Extended 126
Inquiry: Phenomenology in the Late 20th Century American Long Poem. His poetry has been published in Black Market Review, Otoliths, Blackbox Manifold, Tears In The Fence, Stride, CTRL ALT DEL and Dead King Magazine. His work is largely based on American Poetics and is invested in European Phenomenology and philosophical pessisism. He is currently devoting most of his time to producing music and artworks to the Grim Songs project, a series of doom-folk experiments.
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