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day’). ‘A history in stone’ is a standout poem from the collection.

Notwithstanding these earlier poems, which expose varying levels of vulnerability and violence in the idea of love, it is in the second half of the book, and ‘A is for [Arabs]’, where innocent hunger overshadows terror. Providing, not just sharing, food – that spitting out, passing on – is also an expression of love. And so, love, here, is to get your kids ready for school, fill their bellies:

gobbling down generic milkshake breakfasts, gathering up your collective courage […]

Love is to remember your wife’s face the last time you saw her alive, the –

glow of youth like rosehip, like pomegranate, like sumacscatteredfreckles

Love is to force yourself to – head out to get some comfort food for the kids who will be only too happy to stage a mini-mutiny if they are made to eat macaroni again Further on, nibbling through the alphabetic structure as far as the letter ‘k’, for kombucha, the narrator’s daughter

Jehan is making the titular drink in the kitchen. Her sister teases her (‘oooh – are you making that for Kenji?’):

Kenji and Jehan sitting in a tree K - I - S - S - I - N - G ! And you can almost feel your daughter’s keen embarrassment, the hot flush on her face, the way she betrays nothing,

keeping her kohlcoatedeyes trained on the temperature of the tea so as not to inadvertently kill the good bacteria fermenting in the culture, and you feel a strange sense of kinship in this conspiracy, so you do the kindest thing you know how to, in that moment – you leave her to it […] In a world where hunger is political, no longer merely personal, a young girl puts her soul into saving the good bacteria. In its brute biological manifestation, hunger kills; yet across these collections, it is also – figuratively, mysteriously – the force that keeps their respective authors alive.

Sana Goyal is a writer and editor based between Birmingham and Bombay.

Enmeshment Nicole Jashapara on two new anthologies of the climate crisis

Zoë Brigley and Kristian Evans eds. 100 Poems to Save the Earth Seren £12.99

Kate Simpson ed. Out of Time: Poetry from the Climate Emergency Valley Press £12.99

As anthologies of ecopoetry produced in conversation with the climate crisis, 100 Poems to Save the Earth and Out of Time: Poetry from the Climate Emergency are provocatively positioned as conducive to change. For Kristian Evans and Zoë Brigley, the 100 Poems editors, this is because they see the climate crisis as ‘fundamentally a crisis of perception’: poetry can shift the way we see and thus treat the world, meaning that ‘it may be that poetry is exactly what we need to save the earth’. Similarly, Out of Time’s editor Kate Simpson conceives of poetry as ‘perhaps the most ideal[…] means to visualise, understand and appreciate the full extent of the climate crisis’. To write, or even read, ecopoetry, these editors imply, is a form of political activity, a mode of communication that can ‘reach us on an innate and universal level’.

It’s a neat argument, and one that is made often; ecotheorist Timothy Morton regularly suggests that what needs to change is ‘not what we know, but how we know it’. A variation on that idea is also prevalent in the climate justice movement, where the Western binary between humankind and nature, and the exploitation that it encourages, is contrasted to indigenous philosophies that see humans as wholly integrated in ecology, and that subsequently aim to safeguard the earth and all who inhabit it. But while these shifts in how we see and act will be fundamental to creating an ecologically just future, will ecopoetry lead us there? It’s true that poetry, like any art form, can offer space to nurture and share those changing perspectives, in a way that scientific facts cannot. But it’s also true that this alignment between reading ecopoetry and positive political change is, for the literary middle-class, dangerously convenient: it risks perpetuating the very inaction and complacency these

Poetry London | Spring 2022 39

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