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Thinking with Trees by Jason Allen-Paisant: Carcanet Book Launch
Please join us to celebrate the launch of Thinking with Trees, the debut collection by Jason Allen-Paisant. Hosting the reading will be poet Malika Booker, joining Jason to discuss the new book. The event will feature readings and discussion, and audience members will have the opportunity to ask their own questions. We will also be showing extracts of the text during the reading so that you can read along.

Jason Allen-Paisant grew up in a village in central Jamaica. ‘Trees were all around. We often went to the yam ground, my grandmother’s cultivation plot. When I think of my childhood, I see myself entering a deep woodland with cedars and logwood all around. […] The muscular guango trees were like beings among whom we lived.’ Now he lives in Leeds, near a forest where he goes walking. ‘Here, trees represent an alternative space, a refuge from an ultra-consumerist culture…’

And they help him recover his connections with nature. ‘The poetry trains its graze on what links us with the elements. What interests me is process: the composition and decomposition of objects, the ecologies that work to keep us alive, even when we are unaware of them. Occasionally, I am privileged to have a deep sensation of process and I leap into those moments.’ These Wordsworthian ‘spots of time’ revive us. The poems are inevitably political, too: ‘racism pushes us into an attitude of always reacting: to hurt, anger, provocation, exclusion. This is a theft of time, a robbery of the connection that we are meant to have, as humans, with real life. In that sense, these poems are an expression of my taking time, in a societal context that creates the environmental conditions that disproportionately rob Black lives of the benefits of time: leisure, relaxation, mental and physical well-being, etc.’

Registration for this online event will cost £2, later redeemable against the cost of the book. All attendees will receive the discount code and how to purchase the book during and after event.

Jun 30, 2021 07:00 PM in London

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Speakers

Jason Allen-Paisant
Jason Allen-Paisant is from a village called Coffee Grove in Manchester, Jamaica. At present, he’s a lecturer in Caribbean Poetry & Decolonial Thought in the School of English at the University of Leeds, where he’s also the Director of the Institute for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies. He serves on the editorial board of Callaloo: Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters. He holds a doctorate in Medieval and Modern Languages from the University of Oxford, and he speaks seven languages. He lives in Leeds with his partner and two daughters.
Malika Booker
Malika Booker is a poetry lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, a British poet of Guyanese and Grenadian Parentage and the founder of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen. Her pamphlet Breadfruit, (flippedeye, 2007) received a Poetry Society recommendation and her poetry collection Pepper Seed (Peepal Tree Press, 2013) was shortlisted for the OCM Bocas prize and the Seamus Heaney Centre 2014 prize for first full collection. She is published in The Penguin Modern Poet Series 3:Your Family: Your Body (2017) and her poem Nine Nights, first published in The Poetry Review in autumn 2016, was shortlisted for Best Single Poem in the 2017 Forward Prize. Malika currently hosts and curates Peepal Tree Press’s Literary podcast. A Cave Canem Fellow, and inaugural Poet in Residence at The Royal Shakespeare Company, Malika was awarded the Cholmondeley Award (2019) for outstanding contribution to poetry, and her poem The Little Miracles, won The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem (2020).