Adventures in poetry
Date: 4th November 2018
Extent: 80 pp
BIC Code: DCF
Suzannah Evans’ debut collection Near Future is doom-pop-poetry with an apocalyptic edge, a darkly humorous journey through sci-fi lullabies and northern mysteries. This is a future simulation stripped of the space-age gloss of progression - one where the robots have gone rogue and the hopes of a new millennium are malfunctioning; a skewed yet oddly familiar world gone uncannily wrong.
These playful, sharp, poems are also about more than dystopias and five types of possible apocalypse - in looking at the worst-case scenarios, Evans comes closer to the bigger narrative; universal truths of change, whether man-made or natural, preventable of inevitable, and the uncertain business of human existence where 'there are disasters that you cannot prepare yourself for'. Evans brings a distinctive, skilful and wonderfully peculiar roving eye to our restless and unpredictable times.
'For sci-fi fans, Suzannah Evans's Near Future is essential reading. There are plug-in cities and a robotic blackbird ("his electric beak a bright nib"), but she also sees futuristic weirdness in the everyday: "Of course they dream of freedom," begins her ode to London's sewer-bound fatbergs.' - Tristram Fane-Saunders, The Telegraph
‘Suzannah Evans’s poems offer us a catalogue of disasters and darknesses, imagining asteroid collisions, call centres at the end of the world, a museum of different types of dark, a school play set in a motel run by the devil. Against this, the author sets up an unforgettable humour and a range of everyday objects – alcopops, a nylon carpet, a tin of beans in tomato sauce – in poems which are accessible, entertaining and often deeply moving. Global catastrophe becomes an opportunity to focus powerfully on personal relationships; imagined cities give us the real city anew. Writers like Charles Simic and Matthew Sweeney seem like good reference points for this writing, but there is a spirit and a personality in the work of this exciting new writer which is all her own.’ – Jonathan Edwards
'In an anxious, paranoid world, we need poems like these more than ever. Near Future is a witty and inventive debut collection, offering wry hope as well as a dystopian vision of the future. Suzannah Evans' writing is subtle and precise, shaped by a searching intellect.’ – Helen Mort
'The world could do with poems that make us laugh and think at the same time. Here’s a book full of them – wry, charming, full of love for the world and its oddities.' – Jo Bell
Suzannah Evans lives in Sheffield and her pamphlet Confusion Species was a winner in the 2012 Poetry Business book and pamphlet competition, judged by Carol Ann Duffy. She has had poems published in The Rialto, The North, Magma and Poetry Review and her poem ‘Helpline’ has been ‘Poem of the Week’ on the Guardian website. She has been a Hawthornden fellow and was one of the 2015 Aldeburgh Eight. Suzannah works as a teacher of creative writing and a poetry editor. As a teenager she had an obsessive fear of the apocalypse which has informed and inspired many of her poems, and she still doesn’t know whether it’s best to plan responsibly for the future or party like it’s 1999. Suzannah is the winner of a Gladstone's Library residency for 2019 with Near Future.