Fossil explores planet earth as she experiences anthropogenic climate change, it examines the impacts of climate chaos and the resultant implications of climate justice for the human species. The collection takes its subject seriously through a playful testing of language.
Voices of plants, trees, fossils, rocks, bodies of water and creatures speak about the human impacts on our planet. Interspersed with these poems are poems exploring of how and why the earth is being exploited for capital by humans and what this means for all life on earth. Birds, insects and other plants lyrically comment on how humans are enslaving them for their gain.
The false selling of constellations, what scientists might be releasing when they core into the ice caps and a war over a glacier are all topics for this collection that interrogates the scientific, transmuting the language through the feathers of an albatross, the sap of a Spider Orchid, a banksia dentata seed bursting into life.
“Fossil reveals one of the most appealing voices in the new nature poetry, connecting to the magic and multiplicity of the biosphere while sounding warnings. These poems discover “thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears”, not only in wild flowers, but in fossil butterflies, lava, carrots and black badger Carlin peas. And they know that tears are not what’s needed: what’s needed now are thoughts leading to action.”
Carol Rumens (for the Guardian – click to read the full review)
“In Fossil (Peepal Tree Press) Maya Chowdhry brings beauty to eco-politics, taking us on a journey across the globe and beyond, experimenting with scale, time and voice to inquire into and imagine the condition of the non-human world. I found that the emotional power of this collection of thirty free verse poems accumulated as I read (one sitting recommended) so that towards its final quarter I began to feel there was truly nothing more important than this – than in paying close and constant attention to the beauty and wonder of life in all its astonishing forms; nothing more important than urgently recognising and reversing our role in ecocide.”
Kay Syrad (for The Poetry School – click to read the full review)
“With astonishing ease, Maya Chowdhry’s poems move beyond the human perspective. They change scale, space, and vision: from orchid seeds in razor dust to an albatross whose elegance challenges aircraft; in history and across time – a simple carrot shows itself in the purple, orange and yellow avatars of its heritage, through Pakistan, Persia, Scotland. The language of these poems is unbearably beautiful and would be so for the sake of its sounds, even to a listener who did not understand it. It is also intelligent, equally at ease with the language of science and the deceptive, descriptive simplicity of riddles. A sense of our species’ ecocidal foolishness and bleak future is balanced by the sheer, wicked and vivid life of every form: natural life forms and poetic experiments. in this book. One to read many times, and which will continue to grow through the floor of everyday assumptions like an invasion of dandelions breaking up a fort.”
“This is an artist who sees in the round. The connectedness of everything from race, geographies, gender, nature, beauty, oppression, love, subtlety, politics and anger. The climate movement in the global north is all too dominated by white people who all too often sideline the vital and effective insights of people of colour living here who have it all connected up, effortlessly, like breathing.”
“The poems in Fossil have been waiting millions of years to be born. Maya Chowdhry’s language erupts out of deep time, vital and vivid. This is powerful work.”