Waterworks by Ashley Bullen-Cutting

Winner of Laurence Sterne Prize 2021

Ashley Bullen-Cutting is a writer whose work inhabits the liminal spaces between poetry and prose. His research and writing often concerns the climate crisis and its effects on planetary populations. Some of his previous work can be found at MIROnline, Cauldron, and Perhappened Magazine, where he was nominated for Best of the Net 2020. He recently finished his PhD at University of Sheffield and he now works as a Creative Writing lecturer.

I took a screenshot of the manuscript, these red underlines are obvs not in the printed book, just our word version!


Climate Kindling

[Our house is on fire]14
suffocating on 
cremated self
[Humanity is now 
standing at a crossroads]15 
catching carbon 
in open mouths
[Adults keep saying: 
‘We owe it to the 
young people 
to give them hope’]16

but our [future was sold]17
[stolen from us]18
by the already-dead

[And yet we are the lucky ones]19
continuing coarse
into climate kindling

[Our house is on fire]20
and we are the embers

Praise for the author

“Waterworks is a rich archive of paradoxical water studies deriving from aqua-philia and aqua-phobia, compulsion and aversion. Eros and Thanatos. Death- and life drive, pushing us, too, to immerse, into the currents of water’s catastrophic present and apocalyptic future through a genre bending literary awesomeness; a beautiful liquified collage of poetry, theory and poetic prose written for the planet.”

Ágnes Lehóczky (Senior Lecturer at the University of Sheffield; her latest poetry collection: Swimming Pool (Shearsman)

Background, cover image and cover design by Michelle Moloney King.
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