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.’
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