Sheaf; Summer 2021 and Harvest 2022

What does it take to regain a right relationship with the land and what we eat in a time of fall?

In 2020 the Dark Mountain Project collaborated with UK grain and pulse pioneers Hodmedod in gathering of regenerative stories and art about grains and the people who grow them. We invited three writers to write, in fiction, nonfiction and poetry, of days spent on different farms in Somerset, Suffolk and Essex, before and after harvest. That project led to Sheaf: Writers in the Field which inspired more writers and artists to venture out to meet more of the farmers and makers in their network.

This year Sheaf’s contributors have visited farms in Suffolk, Essex and Shropshire and ventured onto allotments in south London. They’ve met bakers, farmers and researchers, photographed the seasons and captured images of roots, flowers and seeds. They’ve imagined the future, seen how the present can be informed by the past and heard how the microscopic world shapes our lives – whether in the soil or in our bodies.

The result are two beautiful softback collections of interviews, fiction, photography, recipes and reports from the field.  A polyphonic swarm of interconnecting stories about agroecology, roots, peas, long straw deep time, future thinking, radical producers and seed preservers.

 

Writers: Cate Chapman, Charlotte Du Cann, Julius Honnor, Nick Hunt, Josiah Meldrum, Olivia Oldham, Joanna Pocock, Nick Saltmarsh

Artists: Richard Allenby-Pratt, Kit Boyd, Anne Campbell, Anne-Marie, Culhane, Popeye Collective, Freddie Yauner

Editors and producers: Charlotte Du Cann, Josiah Meldrum

Farmers and makers: Col Gordon, Fred Price, Peter and Andrew Fairs, Andy Forbes, William and Miranda Kendall, Vanessa Kimbell, Mark and Liz Lea, Paul, Tobias and Emma Watkin, Martin and Toby Wolfe, George Young,

Covers: Domesticated Emmer Wheat by Anne Campbell, grown by Col Gordon; Scottish Highlands; quinoa in the Dark by Freddie Yauner, grown by Peter Fairs, Essex.

 

Sheaf are all-colour softback booklets, 48 and 52 pages long, printed on recycled and FSC-certified paper

From the Mourning of the World

From the Mourning of the World is a unique compilation album, Featuring: an exclusive alternate version of Caesar recorded specially for the album by BBC Radio 2’s Folk Singer of the Year 2011, Chris Wood; BBC Radio 2’s Folk Singer of the Year 2010 Jon Boden; celebrated artists such as Chris T-T and Bethia Beadman (whose track is a duet with REM’s Mike Mills); this is a beautiful compilation of the wild and uncivilised music associated with the Dark Mountain Project.

Produced by Marmaduke Dando. Cover artwork by Rima Staines.

Bird-Woman

 

A long-term Dark Mountain supporter and collaborator, Em Strang has been a member of the steering-group, has co-organised the poetry stage at one of the early Uncivilisation festivals, and more latterly worked for a number of years as poetry editor on the books.

Bird-Woman is her first full collection of poetry, published in October 2016 by Shearsman. Cover art by Kate Walters.

“Em Strang’s poetry reminds us that right dwelling is not just a theoretical or ideological concern; it must also be rooted in the gravity that structures everything, rich in the old pagan knowledge and unafraid to find a home for what we do not fully understand. Bird-Woman is a delicious collection, a book to be savoured in the fullest sense.” —John Burnside

“Em Strang’s poems are shamanic, in that they restore to us abandoned mythologies. Nothing is stable in this very real world, where houses can become birds, where the animal lies shallowly below the surface of the human, where poems are haunted with what is unsaid. An ‘old throat from the other side’, full of bewilderment, concern, passion and beauty.” —Jen Hadfield

Horse-Man

Shortlisted for the 2021 Ledbury Munthe Best Second Collection Prize

We are losing everything. In the second decade of the 21st century, loss and grief have become our daily bread, but we do not know how to chew it. Em Strang’s second poetry collection Horse-Man is an invitation to reacquaint ourselves with the lost skill of co-sufficiency; to re-engage with a deeper awareness of shared experience, where distinctions between self and other begin to blur: we are all in this together.

Horse-Man inhabits at times surreal, at times mystical territory, where the human and nonhuman merge and blend. In this liminal space, loss and grief are acknowledged and sometimes embraced, allowing the human small mercies in the face of That Which Is Greater Than Us.

Part keening, part celebration, this new work immerses the reader in a powerful advocacy of sacred meaning and – fiercely, bravely – asks what it might mean to be whole, a fully embodied human being, in today’s world.

A long-term Dark Mountain supporter and collaborator, Em Strang has been a member of the steering-group, has co-organised the poetry stage at one of the early Uncivilisation festivals, and more latterly worked for a number of years as poetry editor on the books.

Horse-Man is her second full collection of poetry, published in October 2019 by Shearsman. Cover art by Kate Walters.