Dark Mountain: Issue 15 (PDF)


The Spring 2019 issue is a collection of non-fiction, fiction, poetry and artwork that responds to the ‘age of fire’.


This is a PDF download of Dark Mountain: Issue 15

Our fifteenth book was sparked by the long, hot summer of last year when infernos swept through California, Greece, the Algarve, the bogs of Ireland, the forests of Costa Rica and even the Arctic Circle. Unprecedented heatwaves caused thousands of deaths around the world – many countries suffering their worst droughts on record. Where once climate change might have seemed an abstract idea, a concern for the distant future, more and more lives are now being scorched by the reality of environmental destruction.

At a time when the pace of change is accelerating, and the outlook for our world is beset by uncertainty, this book gathers the voices of witnesses from across the globe who are experiencing the shock of this new state of emergency. They speak of what it feels like to be alive in these times, what stories can guide our path through the flames, and what might arise from their ashes.

Much of the work in this book documents the all-too-real wildfires, forest fires and house fires that have obliterated ecologies – both human and more-than-human – from British Columbia to South Africa. In northern Sweden, Ingrid Rieser records the shock of seeing flames from her cabin, while in California, Neale Inglenook dwells on the joys and fears of being a new father as his fragile home is threatened with devastation.

As old certainties go up in smoke, this past year has also seen the sparks of something new. Writers from the wreckage reflect on how the ecological despair and fury of young people has led to activist eruption of Extinction Rebellion and how the changing cultural landscape might reshape our ideas of hearth and home in the years to come.

In the Arctic, Anna Rose-Prynn finds a new twist in the old poetic paradox of a love that freezes and burns at the same time, while Liberty Lawson shows how heat-driven bleaching of the coral reefs is destroying the optimism of marine scientists. Mike Cipra’s letter home from a dusty trailer park is a prayer to the Earth for deliverance. In conversation, novelist Richard Powers, whose latest novel The Overstory places the more-than-human at the centre of the narrative, points out that ‘there is no separate thing called humanity, any more than there is a separate thing called nature.’

Fire has been our constant companion, tool and adversary on our long, strange journey so far on this Earth. It has given rise not only to industrial civilisation but to human culture itself. We turn to it as metaphor to express the light of reason and the most elemental parts of our nature, and, at this pivotal moment in the human story, it stands as a symbol of the danger and difficult choices that lie in our path. In such times, in Charles Bukowski’s words: ‘What matters most is how well you walk through the fire’.


Writers include: Robert Alcock, Polly Atkin, Roger Bygott, Cate Chapman, Mike Cipra, Gary Cook, T, M Delaney, Jasmine Dale, Paul Feather, Rebecca Freeth, Emily A. F. GarcÍa, Brian George, Lindi-Ann Hewitt-Coleman, Dougald Hine, Sara Hudston, Nick Hunt, Neale Inglenook, Liberty Lawson, James Leonard, Rob Lewis, Jane Lovell, Kevin Maccabe, Matt Miles, Emily Paskevics, Anna Reid,  Jess Richards, Ingrid M Rieser,  Christy Rogers, Zeta Rome, Becca Rose, Anna Rose-Prynn, Keen Short, Arnold Schroder, K. C. Snow & J . P. Hurst, Emily Stoddard, Sylvia Torti, Steve Wheeler.

Artists include: Amory Abbott, Terje Abusdal, James Aldridge, Annie Bissett, Emmanuel Depoorter, Ilyse Krivel, Janet Lees, Brian McKenzie, Meg McKenzie, Glenn Morris,  Oliver Raymond-Barker, Ingrid Reiser, Lucy Rose-Kerr, Kevin Sloan.

Dark Mountain: Issue 15 was edited by Cate Chapman (poetry), Sara Hudston, Bridget McKenzie (art), Eric Robertson and Steve Wheeler, and produced by Nick Hunt.

Cover by Terje Abusdal: from his series Slash & Burn set in the Northern forests between Norway and Sweden.

Dark Mountain: Issue 15 is a hardback book, 201 pages long, printed on FSC-certified paper

ISBN 978-0-9955402-5-5