Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Paul Kingsnorth: The Poetry of the Future Landscape

British writer Paul Kingsnorth is best known for two novels, Beast and The Wake, and a collection of essays, Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist. I’ve read and enjoyed Beast; it is a novel of frequent run-on sentences and no quotation marks, about a man living alone in a landscape devoid of people but with people’s artifacts remaining. I’ve started The Wakethree times, this novel of an Anglo-Saxon landowner seeking revenge on Norman invaders. It’s partially written in Kingsnorth’s version of Old English; it also lacks quotation marks and capital letters. It was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2014, and I’m determined to make a fourth attempt to read it.

This unconventional form for his novels is of a piece with Kingsnorth’s environmental philosophy, articulated in a statement called The Dark Mountain Manifesto written with Dougald Hine in 2009. The manifesto serves as a kind of constitution for the Dark Mountain Project, self-described as “an international network of writers and artists searching for new stories for an age of upheaval.” It is a dark mountain for a dark view of what the future holds, coupled with what that future will require if individuals are to survive.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

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