In poems that deftly explore humanity’s entanglement with, and reliance upon, the fossil fuel and oil economy, Rebecca Sharp has created an intelligent addition to her growing portfolio of poetry, plays and performances with her new collection Rough Currency. The addition of a supplementary soundscape by Philip Jeck made available externally through the platfrom, soundcloud, moulds Rough Currency into a hybrid form of printed words and sounds, thereby exposing the increasingly hybrid and cyborglike nature of our machine-reliant human race.
Claire Crowther’s fourth collection Solar Cruise, a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Spring 2020, is a deeply moving and introspective memoir, which documents the relationship between herself, a poet, and her husband physicist. Her linguistic choices––pneumonic rhetoric, metaphors and similes––demonstrate the value of researching and making strides to combat the adverse effects of climate change. In Solar Cruise, Crowther examines the language of science closely and discovers the poetry hidden underneath.
When a collection’s first line is ‘How did we get here?’, and that poem is called ‘When everything is water’, it’s perhaps hard for readers of a certain age not to hear an echo of Talking Heads and wonder at what is going wrong. In this time of accelerated ecological crisis the collection’s ominous title points that way too. The cover (with the poet’s beautiful photograph ‘Selkirk swimming pool in the rain’) describes how ‘we cannot imagine that the life we know is about to change in personal, political or global terms.’ …
Ezra Pound suggested that poets ‘go in fear of abstractions’, and his advice continues to hold much weight. Like any principle of course, not only will excellent exceptions keep occurring, but it deserves to be held to account. Pound would have expected no less. In her second full collection Tripping Over Clouds, Lucy Burnett does exactly that, and ‘underpinning this is a re-imagining of abstraction as a prior state of possibility and potential from which the world and ourselves are constantly re-emerging – as abstraction to, not from.’