New Book: “Thinking with Trees”

Jason Allen-Paisant’s Thinking with Trees (Carcanet 2021) will be out this month. This collection will be launched online, introduced by author Malika Booker, on June 30, 2021, from 2:00 to 3:00pm (EST); 19:00 to 20:00 (BST). [See Carcanet for more information.]

Jason Allen-Paisant grew up in a village in central Jamaica. ‘Trees were all around,’ he writes, ‘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 even as they help him recover his connections with nature, these poems are inevitably political.

As Malika Booker writes, ‘Allen-Paisant’s poetic ruminations deceptively radicalise Wordsworth’s pastoral scenic daffodils. The collection racializes contemporary ecological poetics and its power lies in Allen-Paisant’s subtle destabilization of the ordinary dog walker’s right to space, territory, property and leisure by positioning the colonised Black male body’s complicated and unsafe reality in these spaces.’

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.

For more information, see https://www.carcanet.co.uk/cgi-bin/indexer?product=9781800171138 and  https://www.carcanet.co.uk/cgi-bin/events?showpage=635

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