The Climate Reading Group meets four times a year to discuss contemporary literature with climate-related themes. The group is led by Linda France as part of her project Writing the Climate, a residency at New Writing North and Newcastle University.
In this session we will be discussing Mama Amazonica by Pascale Petit.
Mama Amazonica (Bloodaxe 2017) is Pascale Petit’s seventh poetry collection. It was a Poetry Book Society Choice and won the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize (2018) and the inaugural Laurel Prize (2020). It develops her self-declared ‘obsession’ with the Amazon in poems that tell the painful story of her mother, suffering at the hands of Petit’s rapacious father and from the consequences of over- zealous psychiatric treatment. Transformed into the exotic plants and creatures of the Amazon struggling for survival against human depredations, the spirit of Petit’s mother is celebrated and honoured.
‘The poems take you to a place where language feeds on language… no one writing in English today comes anywhere near the exuberance of Pascale Petit. Rarely has the personal and environmental lament found such imaginative fusion, such outlandish and shocking expression that is at once spectacularly vigorous, intimate and heartbroken.’ Daljit Nagra
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