You live and then you die. That’s the only certainty there is, right? Using love as its guide, Proof of Life on Earth, the debut poetry collection by Degna Stone, looks at all the stops between our arrival and our departure. These poems examine matters of the heart (both the metaphorical and medical kind), of race and discrimination, of the body, mind and self – each in forensic detail, attentive and curious of what moves, shapes, and makes us alive.
In between are the landmarks which populate the rich terrain of this collection; not only of our lives through youth to adulthood, but of history, of the long shadows of empire, and of landscapes themselves - especially those of the northeast of England, evocative, rugged and monumental. Stone’s deft and scalpel-sharp poetry explores human existence shaped by mortality and experience, and asks what it means to do more than survive – to live in defiance, openness and awareness.
Praise for Proof of Life on Earth
“What a joy, at last, to hold Degna Stone’s debut. They are a spellbinding poet: passionate, political and precise. Their poems lay bare the human heart and what it means to love and be loved in a world full of trouble. Unafraid of the ragged seams of life, they hold us, all our sorrows and failings, with the deepest compassion, urging us to be bold, take the risk and make the world better.” - Liz Berry
"Degna Stone’s measured words, structure and style offers their first full collection as a philosophy on life. It evokes fear as they grapple with the near death of their husband, although simultaneously provides a meditative spirit as they root themselves in wild, beautiful English landscapes as a coping mechanism. Yet there are poems which surprise us, too, knee-jerking us into sharing their harsh realities of life. With Proof of Life on Earth, Degna Stone slides smoothly into a deserved position as one of the polished poetic voices to emerge this year." - Dr. Kadija Sesay
"Proof of Life on Earth takes the weight of a woman’s heart and balances on the scales of life and death." - Nick Makoha
Nine Arches Press