The Spaces Between Us, eds. Kathleen Morgan, Jamie Stewart and Oz Hardwick, Indigo Dreams
This miscellany of poetry and prose comprises the eighth annual Wordspace anthology produced in collaboration with Indigo Dreams Publishing. All of the 30 contributors in this volume, ranging from established writers to previously unpublished authors, are associated in some way with Leeds Trinity University – students, staff, alumni, and performers at monthly Wordspace open mic events.
The idea for the anthology arose from a desire for writers to engage with the themes of distance and home in a post-Covid world. Living and writing through periods of lockdown has provided a unique opportunity to reflect upon the elusiveness of both personal and geographic space. It is a reflection on the pandemic, how it has transformed our private spaces, our notion of home and how we relate to other people. The twin concepts of safety and protection are pitched against the problems of isolation, confinement and loss of freedom.
The book is dedicated to all those recovering from the effects of the pandemic, who have lost loved ones, jobs and stability. It is also dedicated to all healthcare staff and key workers who worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic and to those who organised online open mics to keep the voice of creativity alive.
In these wide-ranging stories and poems we encounter our own vulnerability in open and closed spaces, the fulfilment of childhood dreams, the traces we leave behind us when surfing the internet, ideas about safety, personal struggles with faith and hope, our own vanishing wildlife and, during lockdown, street life, a redefinition of home and the enjoyment of small things such as biting into a Cox’s Orange Pippin or taking up knitting to kill time. It is a rich collection of perspectives that invites us all to re-examine our thoughts, now that we find ourselves in a rapidly changing, post-pandemic world.
Standouts for me were Jenny Robb’s poem ‘Crossing Borders’, Tim Ellis’s poem ‘Corn Buntings’ and the prose pieces by Jennifer Rushworth, Aneta Šitel and Jamie Stewart.
The cover art by Jane Craig, a collage of a brick dwelling and a landscape superimposed upon an Ordnance Survey map, is the perfect fit for an exploration that pitches our interior thoughts in confinement against the open spaces that await us in the big wide world beyond.
Kathleen Morgan Jamie Stewart and Oz Hardwick [editors], The Spaces Between Us, Indigo Dreams Publishing, £9
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