What has been added to our collection this month? Here are a few highlights:
This "surrealist delight" from the USA has been attracting attention and a queue of library members are waiting to get their hands on it. Maybe it chimes with the current Zeitgeist?: "I’m on the moon, listening to the air hiss / out of my spacesuit, and I can’t find the hole". Startling and frivolous, you can read it like a dark sky studded with Orpheus and Eurydice, God and his secretary, homunculi in the eyes and ghosts in the teeth. Our librarians (wizards!) have added a digital copy to our catalogue. Even better, our eloan platform Overdrive will shortly offer a new ‘Deliver later’ feature, where you can stagger your ebook loans and give others a chance to read while you finish your current one. More space for everybody!
Since the Grenfell Tower fire, Kamitan Arts has been offering Rap-Poetry workshops to those affected by the tragedy to help the local community address their emotions and begin to heal. Princess Emmanuelle of Kamitan Arts grew up near Grenfell Tower on Lancaster Road, “one direct straight walk for me”, and used to visit a friend who lived on the top floor. The book is divided into different sections that include, Justice, Loss, Family, Come-Unity and Hope and the contributors range from children (one as young as 3 and a half!) through to elders. In his introduction academic Dr William ‘Lez’ Henry explains that through this project Princess Emmanuelle has given a voice to those “who the State, far too often, render voiceless”. The collective voice of this anthology is a powerful one.
After enjoying reading poems from his TS Eliot prize-winning A Portable Paradise, we were delighted to track down a couple of Roger Robinson's albums on vinyl. On Dis Side Ah Town (2015) and Dog Heart City (2017), Robinson's distinctive voice tells stories of community, gentrification and racism in London - and Brixton in particular - over excellent dub reggae rhythms produced by Disrupt. Fans of A Portable Paradise will recognise many familiar poems here ('Walk With Me', 'Ashes to Fire', 'Citizen III'/'Ruins') as well as others such as 'Swastika', 'New Maps' and 'Move Way Babylon'. These records are testament to Robinson's versatility as a poet, and to the vitality of his dub poetry lineage. To top it all off, each LP has excellent, colourful cover art.