Lost Horizons

You’ve done the homework on the maps
but never trained that diligence within
and these waves’ mesmeric persistence
becomes your ultimatum. Time to think.

Pete Green‘s Hemisphere is the story of an impossible journey, told in verse, which circumnavigates the politics of interaction between people, places and poetry. On a chaotic round trip from the Hebrides across the north Atlantic, Canada, Alaska and Siberia, the poem invites reflection on government and nationality, geography, language and ‘post-truth’, fertility, decay, and imagination. Longbarrow Press is delighted to announce its publication as an 48-page ‘short book’, with illustrations by Abi Goodman, on 15 October; click here to order the book. You can also read an extract from Hemisphere here, and watch Pete Green’s short film for Hemisphere below:

On this slip road, in red mist
I could be closer to Mars

as each blank motor
burns on its course; with no one
in touching distance.

Our first poetry walk since 2019 is led by Chris Jones: a series of ascents and descents through the north-west Sheffield landscapes of his recent pamphlet Little Piece of Harm. Lost Horizons is a one-off event that spans the peaks of Stannington and the lowlands of Bradfield, via Storrs, Dungworth, and Damflask Reservoir. Along the way, Chris will introduce and read poems from Little Piece of Harm, a sequence that explores the geographical reach of Sheffield – its urban settings and its rural landmarks – and eavesdrops on the city’s conversations. The walk takes place on Saturday 23 October at 11am (rendezvous in the car park of Stannington Park, S6 6AF). This event is free, but capacity is strictly limited; for further information, and to book your place (via Eventbrite), click here.

“Books this good don’t come along too often​.​” Max Porter. “A remarkable poem: fresh, real, and truly radical. Read it!”David Morley. The European Eel by Steve Ely has been gathering acclaim since its publication by Longbarrow Press in July. “A beautiful piece of work … close observation combined with extensive scientific research lifts The European Eel above more conventional modern nature writing.” Read Charlie Connelly’s review in The New European. Sheenagh Pugh concludes her appraisal of the book with a similarly positive verdict: “This is, I think, his most consistently powerful and entertaining book for a while, and certainly one of the most impressive books of eco-poetry I have read.” You can read it here. Kathleen McPhilemy considers The European Eel in the context of eco-criticism and a literature of ‘the non-human’: “By presenting the eel’s life in the form of epic, just as Clare chose to represent Swordy Well through a first person voice, Ely has shown us which side he is on – the side of the oppressed and the threatened.” Click here to read ‘Writing about Nature: poets and the non-human’. If you missed the recent online launch of The European Eel, you can find a link to Steve Ely’s opening talk and reading here (a full audio-only version will appear on the Longbarrow site in the near future). Steve will be joined by writer and conservationist Laurence Rose for a talk, reading and Q&A at Holmfirth’s independent bookshop Read on Saturday 30 October (2pm start); click here for further details and to book your place.

J.R. Carpenter‘s This is a Picture of Wind, longlisted for the 2021 Laurel Prize last month, is still available from Longbarrow Press; click here for further details, and to order the book. Finally, Angelina D’Roza is among the poets scheduled to read as part of the Centre for Poetry and Poetics autumn series at the University of Sheffield. The reading takes place at the Arts Tower (LT05), Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, on Tuesday 19 October, 6pm-8pm (free, all welcome, no booking required).

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The European Eel

These eels were born in a continent of ocean
and their parents carried into that vastness
on mindless, reliable, pot-luck currents
from Iceland, Belgium, Tunisia, Spain.

‘Steve’s research of the eel’s complex life history is reflected in this incredible long-form poem – anything shorter would not have done this fish justice.’  Dr Matthew Gollock, Marine and Freshwater Senior Programme ManagerZoological Society of London.

Longbarrow Press is delighted to announce the publication of The European Eel, a book-length poem by Steve Ely.

The European Eel is a long poem that imagines the life cycle, ecological contexts and enigma of the charismatic and critically endangered fish of the poem’s title. Based on Ely’s in-depth engagement with the scientific literature, discussions with leading eel researchers and conservationists, and hands-on experience with the eel in river systems across the country and abroad, The European Eel is unique not only in its sustained birth-to-death focus on the eel, but in the vivid way the eel’s riverine and marine habitats are evoked and articulated—and in its portrayal of the daunting array of anthropogenic threats that are currently threatening this once common species with extinction. Although a poem first and foremost—an Expressionistic epic monology that transforms its natural history into a quasi-gnostic affirmation of the persistence of life in the context of the Anthropocene and the Sixth Extinction—the poem’s rootedness in research enables it to transcend its status as art to function as a credible piece of informed nature writing capable of shaping ecological debate. Seventeen pages of illustrations by the award-winning artist P.R. Ruby complement and interpret the text, and detailed notes provide context that further opens up the astonishing world of the European eel.

A beautifully produced 80-page hardback, The European Eel is available now from Longbarrow Press. You can read an extract from the book here, and order it by clicking on the relevant PayPal link below (major debit cards accepted – no PayPal account required).

The European Eel

UK orders (+ £1.99 postage)

Europe orders (+ £5.25 postage)

Rest of World orders (+ £8.25 postage)

‘Because so much of the lifecycle and ecological context of the European eel is unknown or merely hypothesised—that is, as much defined by absence as by presence—it leaves lots of space in which the imagination can roam. In The European Eel I have created a ‘Body of Dark’ for the eel and projected the species into it.’  In a new post for the Longbarrow Blog, Steve Ely recounts the origins and development of The European Eel, in which months of scientific research, conservation work and field studies create a space for ‘the transformative imagination’. Click here to read ‘Body of Dark’.


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