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Thinking with Trees
10% off Paperback
Categories: 21st Century, BAME, British, Caribbean, First Collections
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (120 pages)
(Pub. Jun 2021)
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Jun 2021)
(Due Jun 2021)
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Jason Allen-Paisant grew up in a village in central Jamaica. 'Trees were all around,' he writes, 'we often went to the yam ground, my grandmother's cultivation plot. When I think of my childhood, I see myself entering a deep woodland with cedars and logwood all around. [...] The muscular guango trees were like beings among whom we lived.'
Now he lives in Leeds, near a forest where he goes walking. 'Here, trees represent an alternative space, a refuge from an ultra-consumerist culture...' And even as they help him recover his connections with nature, these poems are inevitably political.
As Malika Booker writes, 'Allen-Paisant's poetic ruminations deceptively radicalise Wordsworth's pastoral scenic daffodils. The collection racializes contemporary ecological poetics and its power lies in Allen-Paisant's subtle destabilization of the ordinary dog walker's right to space, territory, property and leisure by positioning the colonised Black male body's complicated and unsafe reality in these spaces.'
'Jason Allen-Paisant deftly inscribes his own signature on worlds inner and outer in these gorgeous poems. The future of Caribbean lyric poetry is in great hands'
'Jason Allen-Paisant maps a complex and multifaceted internal landscape in these astounding poems. How does the person occupy a poem? How does the poem speak back to a person? How does a poem then speak to the world?... Tough queries on language and personhood are posed through Paisantâs extraordinary line and sense of image; every poem seems a painting with their flashes of colour, their broad scope of place, the vivid characters of the people and animals who inhabit them. In these quietly subversive lyrics, expectations are undone, of ecologies, of people, of poems: trees, dogs, thoughts, cells, the daily world here is rendered wholly new.'
'Allen-Paisant's poetic ruminations deceptively radicalise Wordsworth's pastoral scenic daffodils; here the body is never restful or relaxed due to a lingering unease in these British parks and woodlands. He employs the usual meditative tropes found in nature writing, in order to exploit and amplify the psychological sense of entitlement this relationship with the land denotes. These penetrable lyrical verses and essays deconstruct democratic notions of green space in the British landscape by racialising contemporary ecological poetics. The collection's power lies in Allen-Paisant's subtle destabilization of the ordinary dog walker's right to space, territory, property and leisure by positioning the colonised Black male body's complicated and unsafe reality in these spaces.'
'These observant poems lay their burdens down by the rivers of Babylon and try to sing the Lord's song in a strange land. What might it mean for the black body to experience nature, not as labour, but as leisure? What might it mean to simply walk through a park and observe the birds and the trees? The poems are beautiful and gentle, but the questions they raise are difficult and important.'
The Carcanet Blog About Mother Muse: Lorna Goodison read more And a dog called Husband: Inuit creation stories read more Thinking with Trees: A book about leisure, Black bodies, and time read more B (After Dante): Ned Denny read more Alex Wong: Shadow and Refrain read more Jenny King: Moving Day read more
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