Arrival at Elsewhere is a book-length long-poem response to the coronavirus outbreak of 2020, curated by one poet, Carl Griffin, but written by many (97 to be precise!). Against the Grain Press is publishing this month with sales in aid of NHS Charities Together and it can be ordered now.
In this book poets from across the world speak in one voice in response to 2020’s life-changing pandemic. Not a definitive voice, nor an authoritative one. But a contrasting, contradicting, confused voice, set both in the UK and everywhere else, represented by one narrator who, just like the rest of us, is made up of a hundred different people. A narrator cohesive only in his/her/their contemplation of Elsewhere.
Arrival at Elsewhere –
The darkness in the room crackles with static,
the greater mind in regular telecom
to maximise survival capabilities.
The muscles of the dank air flex
and the room’s dimensions strain and shift.
I can hear it like the wind in the trees,
the susurrus filling the lungs
of birch and ash, thin and laboured
like an after gasp, the smoker’s wheeze
that yet persists after thirteen years.
The introvert is so remote in the interior
there is a risk he will mislay himself
and never get his bearings back.
It is a day so still I hear, too, the creeping
of the moss. Beauty hurts, as much as pain:
both ride a long-drawn breath.
A child has carved a heart in a stone.
It sits at the roadside, tree-lit, not beating.
Lines 1-13 by Julian Turner, lines 14-16 by Kathryn Bevis, lines 17-18 by Rob Hindle
Indran Amirthanayagam, Valerie Bence, Kathryn Bevis, Stephen Bone, Jemma Borg, Penny Boxall, Annie Butler, Ron Carey, Graham Clifford, Jennifer Copley, Martyn Crucefix, Kerry Darbishire. Cath Davies, Grahame Davies, Adam O. Davis, Karen Dennison, Glyn Edwards, Jonathan Hadas Edwards, Will Farris, Catherine Fletcher, SJ Fowler, John Foy, Naomi Foyle, Linda France, Jennifer Franklin, Bashabi Fraser, Beatrice Garland, Lesley Glaister, John Glenday, Rebecca Goss, Angela Graham, Mark Granier, Andrew Greig, Seán Griffin, Philip Gross, Rachel Hadas, Matthew Haigh, Jean Hall, Myronn Hardy, Rob Hindle, Sarah Hymas, Sarah James/leavesley, Pam Job, Troy Jollimore, Adrianne Kalfopoulou, David M. Katz, Yusef Komunyakaa, Aaron Lembo, Christopher Levenson, Thyrza Leyshon, Ele-Beth Little, Lorraine Mariner, Peter Marra, Tim Mayo, Chris McCabe, Richie McCaffery, Michael McKimm, Rafael Mendes, Matt Merritt, Bruce Meyer, Kathy Miles, Jessica Mookherjee, Abegail Morley, Katrina Naomi, Lizzie Nunnery, Jean O’Brien, Sean O’Brien, Alasdair Paterson, Vic Pickup, John Priestly, Edward Ragg, Jeremy Reed, Christopher Riesco, Eléna Rivera, Danny Rivers, Chrys Salt, John Sewell, Peter Sirr, Maria Sledmere, Austin Smith, Gerard Smyth, Sue Spiers, Julian Stannard, Alina Stefanescu, Arundhathi Subramaniam, Hideko Sueoka, George Szirtes, Simon Tin, Csilla Toldy, Helen Tookey, Olivia Tuck, Julian Turner, Phil Vernon, Steve Walter, Bogusia Wardein, Sarah Westcott, Charles Wilkinson, Keith S. Wilson, Gareth Writer-Davies