This collection is a mini-pamphlet’s worth on the current state of the Earth and Human Systems, and the political struggle for alternative futures.
The 2019 sequence – I wrote three poems the following year – was ‘Highly Commended’ in Red Line Art Works‘ Annual Awards in 2019. I read two poems aloud at Culture Declares Emergency’s Bath event, in Walcot Chapel, in the Spring of 2019, and another two at an online meeting hosted by Red Line Art Works subsequently.
The collection includes free verse and more formal poems all of which are fairly short.
I was originally invited to write and perform something for Culture Declares Emergency, locally. Culture Declares Emergency is a movement of institutions and individuals declaring a climate and ecological emergency. I penned On Waterloo Bridge on the eve of Extinction Rebellion’s International Rebellion in the Spring of 2019, having decided to participate. Established in the UK, Extinction Rebellion is an institution seeking government action on the climate and ecological emergency. The rest came to me in 2019, and then 2020, following my trial in December for my part in the events of April (I had failed to observe a condition imposed upon the assembly), and in the course of the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The poems are presented below in reverse chronological order.
- This Be Not the Verse
- Postcard from Absent Mothers and Fathers
- Regina v Oates
- If Not Now
- Two Words of Advice
- On Waterloo Bridge
- What if?
- Letter to the Earth
© JONATHAN OATES 2019, 2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED