Our nineteenth book revolves around the theme of death, lament and regeneration.
With escalating reports of species extinction, the loss of habitats, and now a global pandemic, many people are waking up to the grief and loss that have threaded through the work Dark Mountain Project since it began. During a decade of descent, the books have appeared like small arks bobbing on a dark ocean, containers for creative work that mourns both ecological and cultural collapse and celebrates the beauty of a vanishing world.
Our core question we took with us as we began this voyage: How can we face and properly lament what has gone?
Shrouded, like a moth inside its cocoon, this collection sets out to hold ways to collectively mourn the loss not only of our fellow humans, but the wild world that has always succoured us. Our forebears knew the effect the dead have on life and the importance of grieving, of keeping the dead close. Our task was to find the words and images that mark the loss in ways we might have forgotten but still lie deep buried within us: how we might, like Caroline Ross, fashion our own Grave Goods out of deerskin and bronze, occupy the Houses of the Dead as in Fawzia Kane’s poems, and bear witness as Stephanie Krzywonos does, watching a penguin walk to its death in the arid Antarctic interior. How we can encounter the currents of the mythic beneath the ordinary world on a South Dakota highway as Samantha Wallen reminds us in The Death Mother.
The book has been created as a memorial by 60+ artists and writers, a gathering of testimonies from people and places, grief walkers and haunted lands. Ringed by the ashes of the burned forests of Australia and the Americas, entwined with the now-vanished tree roots of Deru Anding’s native Borneo, it enshrines the broken bones of dead creatures, reconfigured in ceremonial staffs by Jim Carter or intricately observed drawings by Kathryn Poole, the fallen feathers of the gyrfalcon, the wren and the black grouse, the testimonies of ancient grains and antediluvian fossils, wreathed by leaves of roseroot from Greenland and milkweed seeds from Ontario, the sharp scent of Mexican marigolds that light our way to the Underworld.
Words and images to take with us as companions into the dark…