Date: 14th October 2021
Extent: 72 pp
Cover artwork by Jasmine Ward https://www.jasmine-ward.com/ Twitter @jazward66 Instagram @jasmine.c.ward
Caleb Parkin’s debut poetry collection, This Fruiting Body, plunges us into octopus raves and Sega Megadrive oceans, in the company of Saab hermit crabs and ASDA pride gnomes. It’s a playful invitation to a queer ecopoetics that permeates our bodies and speech, our gardens, homes, and city suburbs. It reintroduces us to a Nature we’ve dragged up until it’s unrecognisable.
Parkin’s perceptive poetry sparks with neon visuals, engaged in the joyful, urgent, imagining of alternative realities and new futures. How might we relate queerly and dearly to our environment and its shared conundrums? These adventurous poems delight in human and nonhuman intimacies, teem with life, ponder bug sex and put masculinities under the microscope. This Fruiting Body roves our grandiloquent planet, embracing our kinships with matter, culture, creatures and drag-mother Earth herself.
Praise for This Fruiting Body
“This Fruiting Body is an exhilarating book that fractures categories by showing the reader what thrives beyond the prison of the human self. The queer filaments between its poems form a compassionate brocade that holds together all living creatures, the dreams of ants and mould allowed to ‘billow and spore’ alongside deep-fried skyscrapers and ASDA pride gnomes. The stakes are urgent, the days ‘trembling like antennae’ but let’s think like a dung beetle, one poem whispers, and ‘roll the sun together’. Generous, monstrous and inspiring.”
- John McCullough
"Burrow into Caleb Parkin’s wondrously weird poetic ecosystems—where taxidermy seduces, a compost heap merits an ecstatic ode, and Earth is our drag mother. You’ll get a bit dirty, but you won’t be sorry!"
- Nicole Seymour
“Unwriting and rewriting our myths of ‘nature’, This Fruiting Body is a thrilling collection of queer love songs for the earth. Parkin’s femme earth mother may be on an IV drip, but she wears her artifice with joy and audacity: this is mother earth, drag queen of the universe, a body aching from harm but still devoted to pleasure. Parkin’s poems are infinitely lavish and full of wit, morphing human and more-than-human bodies in a post-human lyric disco lit with ecological thought. I felt better and wetter after reading it: more open to the press of language, life, and the strangeness of the earth.” - Samantha Walton
Caleb Parkin is the third Bristol City Poet. He won second prize in the National Poetry Competition 2016, the Winchester Poetry Prize 2017 and various other shortlists. Poems in The Rialto, The Poetry Review, Under the Radar, Butcher’s Dog, Coast to Coast, Strix, Magma, Envoi, Lighthouse, Finished Creatures, Tentacular and Molly Bloom. His educational work is extensive, tutoring for Poetry Society, Poetry School, Cheltenham Festivals and First Story. He holds an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. His debut pamphlet Wasted Rainbow was published by Tall-Lighthouse in early 2021. He was awarded ACE DYCP funding to explore queer ecopoetry in this first full collection.