The Soil Never Sleeps, published Jan. 2018

by Adam Horovitz on December 1, 2017

My new book, and my second full collection of poems, The Soil Never Sleeps, will be released on January 6th 2018 by Palewell Press. It is currently available to pre-order here at £1 less than cover price. It has been exquisitely illustrated by Jo Sanders, whose drawings also grace my previous book, A Thousand Laurie Lees.

The book, which originated as a commission from the Pasture-fed Livestock Association to write about pasture farming, and humanity’s relationship with landscape and animals, follows four farms across four seasons and closes with an unflinching look at the ethics and politics of farming.

I stayed on each of the farms I visited, from the Yorkshire Dales to Cornwall, Kent to the Black Mountains, for a few days each season, and became involved with the work of the farm, walked the landscape with the farmers and got to know the animals on the farms. The voices of the farmers have inevitably found their way into the poems I’ve written, as have the very definite personalities of the animals I encountered.

Statements from the back cover of The Soil Never Sleeps.

image (c) Jo Sanders

“Personal journal and public statement, lyric observation and prospectus for radical care of the land, this is life-writing in a fundamental sense. Like Ted Hughes’ Moortown or Sean Borodale’s Bee Journal, it is grounded in living the life, and doing the work, day by day, of a place. Unsentimental, many-angled, this is poetry to think with, not to lecture readers but ‘to open them / to the seeds of ideas’ that the earth sorely needs.” Philip Gross

“At the heart of this undertaking is a willingness to learn, to be instructed, so as to understand more closely how people live and work and manage in their particular circumstances. The poems are learning in practice; and as the writer learns, and, with all the sensuous presence he can muster, sets down his gains in understanding, so we too, reading, learn. Adam Horovitz’s  poems persuade you that something vital is at stake. His learning leads to this: there are better ways and worse of farming the land, more and less humane ways of owning and rearing animals. Truth is, we can’t afford to get it wrong much longer.” David Constantine

 

The image directly above is (c) Jo Sanders

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Scenes From a Disreputable Childhood Part 1

by Adam Horovitz on November 12, 2017

So I’m about four, and we’re trawling through London, my parents and I, through a part I do not know, full of tall, intimidating buildings that do not conform to the scenery I am used to, out in the valleys of Gloucestershire.

My parents are excited, chattering to each other. They are ignoring me much more than I am used to or, indeed, willing to allow. I tug and wail. Hunch obstreperously. Demand things I probably know I’ll never get today. It is no use. They pull me good-humouredly into an hotel. All I see is red leather seats, which look comfortable and easy to play on.  [click to continue…]

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A Gap in the Hedge

by Adam Horovitz on April 25, 2017

Social media can be the death of concentration. It can inveigle its way into the lower reaches of one’s subconscious and subliminally demand more and more attention throughout the day, especially if one is feeling down, emotionally fragile or politically fraught. It can hedge you in.

You know how it goes if you aren’t careful: “Here comes Twitter, swinging its way through any sensible discourse like a wrecking ball dressed in Tarzan’s loincloth, yodelling away until all in its path is drowned out. Watch out! Facebook’s here too, meowing cutely and slashing the day to ribbons with a lion’s claws. Instagram-bam! No Pinterest for the wicked! Take a Tumblr for the team!”

Sometimes, however, you’ll find something out there that silences all those capricious little horn-headed algorithms, something that stops the noise entirely and makes the hairs on the back of your neck prickle. You know, the sort of thing that one can get from books, read on a comfy sofa in the still quiet of the afternoon, or from devoted listening to one album over and over. The sort of epiphany that long walks, or sex, or food eaten with a ritualist’s rigour, can supply. The sort of epiphany that sets off avalanches which reveal other glories long hidden beneath the now-moving stones. [click to continue…]

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The Slow, Sure Death of Local Journalism

by Adam Horovitz on November 29, 2016

Exhibition at Stroud MuseumFifteen years ago, pretty much to the day, I started work as the arts editor of the Stroud News and Journal, having spent the previous few months turning up on the doorstep and pestering the then editor, Skip Walker, for work.

The arts were booming in the town at the time – SVA was really hitting its stride, Damien Hirst’s studio had arrived in the area, and there was much to be excited about at the grassroots.

I spent six years building up the arts pages in the paper, intertwining grassroots and commercial arts in a weekly forum, and doing my best to keep it alive in the face of the growing demands of advertising space and the utter disinterest of the sub-editors in Newport (who once cut a review I wrote of a play by two women into nonsensical shreds and then had the nerve to top it with the headline ‘Women Have Fun’ – you can imagine the stick I got in the pub for that…). And then I quit, for pastures slightly better-paid.

Matty Airey took over the role a while later, and has for the last eight years done a sterling job of maintaining the delicate balance between the demands of high art and entertainment, both of which play a major part in Stroud’s life.  [click to continue…]

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Blake’s Birthday, Slovakia and more

by Adam Horovitz on November 29, 2016

Sifting through Blake’s poems on the net this evening, in celebration of his 259th birthday (I was looking on the net because I was unable to find a book of his poems, as most of my poetry books are currently barricaded behind boxes in the small bedroom), I stumbled across his poem The Garden of Love.

The Garden of Love

I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen:
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And Thou shalt not writ over the door;
So I turn’d to the Garden of Love,
That so many sweet flowers bore.

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tombstones where flowers should be:
And Priests in black gowns, were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars, my joys & desires. [click to continue…]

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