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Kelptown by Carol Watts


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"This is poetry at the edge of the land, but also at the edge of our horizon. Kelptown is Kemptown, so we are on the south coast of England. But this is not a poetry in which borders are fixed. What we are given instead is a language of continuities, lines of contact and connection that conventional place-making keeps from view. We are standing at the shore, knowing that the waters are rising, but knowing also that our only hope is to situate ourselves in a radically different way. Carol Watts gives us a poetry which lives, and shows us how we can learn to live, alongside fellow species, which allows us to register again what we walk among. It is a poetry of loss and of an intense politics of loss: we are given ‘DeExtinction Poems’ and ‘Notes on a Burning World’. But is also a poetry that knows it must ‘make a home/ on friable shores, built from inundate truths’. These beautiful lines are from the book’s title sequence, where Watts raises the Thoreau-like question: ‘How do I live, tenant among your long fronds’. More than ever we need our poets to help shape our answers to such questions. And Carol Watts’ imaginary is a most crucial response. Written across the past decade, through what can seem like the end times, these are poems that open us to new relations with the world." —David Herd


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