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The Nature in Colour book group is run by Jess and meets every six weeks to discuss books centering nature, environment, climate and ecology written by writers of colour.
Our place in different landscapes, the ties between us and the non-human world, and how these connections are viewed, controlled or depicted, are all framed by structural oppression and bias. Writers of colour have long been forced to challenge confining models for what it means to write 'about the environment', bringing interdependence, issues of justice and radical change to the fore.
For our next meeting on Oct 17th, we'll be reading the much-praised poetry collection Thinking with Trees by Jason Allen-Paisant, about walking, politicised bodies in non-human environment, colonial history and much more.
We read fiction, non-fic and much in-between. This is a book group that centers the experience and views of writers of colour. Please bear your own position and experience in mind when taking part. All views are valued, and incredibly welcome, but if you don't identify as a reader of colour, please do leave space in discussions for readers of colour to respond first.
The book group is primarily virtual but we'll arrange a couple of in-person gatherings through the year to give us a chance to build connections and get to know each other.
Please order your copy of Thinking with Trees from the bookshop - which supports the books and helps us cover the cost of running bookclub - get a 10% discount using code MUSHROOM-LIKE-TENDRILS If you're broke please do use our pay-it-forward fund (the code is SOLIDARITY-BOOK-LOVE at checkout) or support your local library.
About Thinking with Trees:
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.