It has been a long time coming. Five years in fact. It started out when Si Smith (more of him later) asked Chris to do a kind of poet-in-residence thing at an art exhibition he was curating entitled ‘World upside down’, back in 2017.
This exhibition was inspired (if that is the right word) by Donald Trump’s use of the Beatitudes in his inauguration speech. For Chris, this began a long period of writing words of resistance against an increasingly right wing world ignoring the crises of climate change and widening inequality.
A lot has happened over the last five years. Trump came and almost went. His trusty side-kick Boris Johnson the same. Oh, and we had this thing called a pandemic.
Writing protest poems is a kind of sickness – Chris found myself being sucked inside a vortex of negativity. He could still see compassion and goodness but it seemed stilted, fleeting and fragile. Then the Great Silence caused us all to STOP.
What next? Where do we see hope? What have we learned and where do we find inspiration for the journey to come?
These three periods – before, during and after the apocalypse give shape to this book.
We are so grateful to Si for his incredible images. He did them at a time when he was desperately trying to work on another big project (which I hope to be able to shout about in the future.) Si is an artist, illustrator, print maker and graphic novelist based in Leeds, author of ‘How to disappear completely’, and ’40’, which we collaborated on, and many other works.