Local Interest

Emily Hasler


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Liverpool University Press
1 April 2023
ISBN: 9781802078145
72 pages

From the publisher

Situated where salt and freshwater meet, where floods and fields 'mingle parts', Emily Hasler's second collection exposes the dailiness of disaster to chart the constantly shifting courses of rivers and lives.

Taking its name from the sections of libraries where much of Hasler's research began, Local Interest maps the friable and slippery landscapes of south Suffolk and north Essex: estuaries and water meadows, coastal defences and disused decoys, possible futures and forgotten pasts.

This is a book of habitats lost, created and threatened, teeming with plants, people, animals and 'legless, uneyed life'. Here are promontories, precarity and potential; the first English sea battle and a forgotten stuntman; rare and familiar birds; a fish die-off and a vanished world; a historic earthquake and continuous erosion. Moments and millennia are as muddled as the elements. In these poems nothing is pure and everything is borrowed. Language is hybrid; poems are 'stolen' and 'observed'.

Local Interest questions boundaries and belonging, squinting at ideas of invasion and migration, borders and crossings. It asks what is 'local' and to whom; how we might celebrate dwelling while looking beyond permanence and ownership.

This is poetry that wallows at the muddy edges of things, that asks you to follow it 'through every breach that was and could be'.