The Incompleteness Book is the result of a call for contributions to the theme: the incompleteness of human experience. The call was distributed in April 2020, amidst the global pandemic of COVID-19. The collection takes an interest in the relationship between the haunting incompleteness of human experience and short form writing. This, together with the unforeseen challenges of COVID-19, as well as the lure of coming together as writers, is the impetus for the book. The submissions are aimed at capturing our individual and collective experience as a composite picture. The contributions were collected in just nine days.
The latest collection from Benjamin Dodds interprets the bizarre true story of Lucy, a chimpanzee raised as the ‘daughter’ of Oklahoma psychotherapist Dr Maurice Temerlin during the 1960s and 70s. With deep empathy and an eye for subtle, telling moments, Dodds oﬀers a complex reimagination of Lucy’s fraught hybrid life through unﬂinching poems that fascinate and unsettle in equal measure.
Man-handled, Melinda Smith’s seventh poetry collection, includes the found-text chapbook Listen, bitch plus new work from the last three years. Its central concern is gendered violence, both verbal and physical. These poems also extend their gaze to violences perpetrated in the names of colonialism, nationalism and capitalism. While this is Smith’s angriest book, it still takes time to celebrate moments of connection and wonder.
From the author of the award-winning Things I’ve thought to tell you since I saw you last comes a new collection of poems steeped in a sense of dark foreboding. Jumping from the global to the everyday, many of the poems in Nigh chime with the mood that all is not right with the world. Even in the seemingly mundane, or overtly beautiful, Layland finds some uncomfortable truths waiting to be unpicked. Nigh displays the confidence of a poet looking and thinking deeply about the world and offering it up in language as crisp as it is beguiling.
Lucy Alexander’s new collection is suffused with subtle observations of nature, childhood, and memory. In imagery loaded with both immediacy and resonance, each ‘stroke’of these luminous poems invokes the sense that great and shifting worlds are coiled within even the smallest of things..
This Cathedral Grief responds to the death of Adrian Caesar’s sister, Karen, from pancreatic cancer in 2012-13. This book explores various dimensions of faith—secular, artistic and spiritual—in an attempt to wrest meaning from the blank of loss. Without supporting any single position or belief, these poems are provisional statements, charting the impossibility of celebrating or memorialising someone successfully, much less recovering that person through language.
Disquieting and deeply moving, Shane Strange’s debut collection inhabits a space that is somehow both intimate, and remote. All Suspicions Have Been Confirmed is marked by precise, pared back language, and immediate, hauntingly resonant imagery: we move through the space and places, the cities, the landscapes of these poems almost as we might move through a film, or a vividly remembered dream.
From the epic of Gilgamesh to the laws of thermodynamics, from Rimbaud in Paris to unheard voices of literature, Sleeping Dogs is a visceral and often acerbic collection marked by Martin Dolan’s taut, undeniable lines and precise, crystalline language.
Zoe Anderson’s first poetry collection uses elements of fairytale and mythology to reflect on landscape, love and ecological uncertainty. Accompanied by darkly heartfelt illustrations by Helani Laisk and playful typography by Caren Florance, this is a collection full of hope, imagination and truth.
Set in the heart of Australia, Penny Drysdale’s debut collection breaks open the prison of self to lay bare the many contradictions in contemporary Australian relationships. Love, injustice and ‘unbelonging’ weave their way through this torrid landscape like ancient creatures on a grand scale. A credit card, a mouse trap, a discarded car battery, a pile of children’s clothing all become an opportunity to examine in harsh Australian light aspects of ourselves we usually confine to the dark.
In each of the stories in this collection, the authors examine the conundrum and contradiction of human experience through carefully crafted narrative detail. The brevity of short-form fiction makes it an apt vessel for capturing the haunting incompleteness of human experience. Memorable short stories resonate because they are attentive to specificities and particularities: to detail as it relates to a distinct focalising consciousness. The authors in this collection employ narrative detail with intuitive hands and minds, fashioning an apprehended fictional world, an abstracted reality that resonates beyond the final lines of text. Each story here is marked by the urgency of idea, captured as raw sensory data. Collectively, they are attentive to the crucial relationship between idiosyncratic voice and sharply rendered detail, creating an experiential world that ‘feels real’ to the reader.
In The Uncommon Feast, Eileen Chong gives us a collection of poetry, essays and recipes that remark on how food has shaped her life, her way of understanding her world, and the world of connections with those around her. For Chong, food is an act of sharing and an act of generosity. Here, she shares with you a collection of her poems on food, essays that chart the meaning of food and poetry in her life, and even a secret recipe or two. Includes illustrations by Colin Cassidy.
The emerging writers whose stories grace this collection engage in the play of symbolic action and detail, capturing sadness and imperfection through an apprehended fictional world—an abstracted reality. The stories resonate because they are intensely focused upon very particular forms of enquiry: Why do the characters see what they see? How do they know what they know? Perhaps it is this—the focus upon a very particular form of sensory apprehension—that lies at the heart of short stories that resonate beyond the final lines of text.
This new volume from Penelope Layland absorbingly quizzes memory, while questioning our apprehension of time and the importance of deep human connections. These poems explore mourning and loss in a way that is salutary, affirmative, meditative and uplifting, subtly refracting our common understandings and our claims on knowledge. In these works the ghosted quotidian, like a long filigree of light, reaches out to remind us of what we value and care for.
Doggerland is the name of a once fertile and populated land mass, now submerged under the North Sea, that once connected the British Isles with Europe. In the winter of 2017/18, Doggerland was clearly visible once again from the coast near the town where Moya Pacey was born and raised. In Pacey’s hands, this phenomenon works as a metaphor for how memory brings to the surface images, glimpses, stories, people and places appearing and disappearing, in no set order, around the space of this collection of poems.
Doggerland revisits a time of post World War II northern England, replete with traditional norms and values, and darknesses waiting to emerge above the water of everyday life.