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Life Without Air

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When Louis Pasteur observed the process of fermentation, he noted that, while most organisms perished from lack of oxygen, some were able to thrive 'life without air'. In this capricious dreamlike collection, characters and scenes traverse states of airlessness, from suffocating relationships and institutions, to toxic environments and ecstatic asphyxiations. Both compassi When Louis Pasteur observed the process of fermentation, he noted that, while most organisms perished from lack of oxygen, some were able to thrive 'life without air'. In this capricious dreamlike collection, characters and scenes traverse states of airlessness, from suffocating relationships and institutions, to toxic environments and ecstatic asphyxiations. Both compassionate and ecologically nuanced, this innovative collection bridges poetry and prose to interrogate the conditions necessary for survival. Daisy Lafarge was born in Hastings and studied at the University of Edinburgh. Her debut novel, Paul, is forthcoming from Granta Books. She has published two pamphlets of poetry: understudies for air (Sad Press, 2017) and capriccio (SPAM Press, 2019), and her visual work has been exhibited in galleries such as Tate St Ives and Talbot Rice Gallery. She has received an Eric Gregory Award and a Betty Trask Award, and was runner-up in the 2018 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. Daisy is currently working on Lovebug - a book about infection and intimacy - for a practice-based PhD at the University of Glasgow. Life Without Air is her first collection of poetry.


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When Louis Pasteur observed the process of fermentation, he noted that, while most organisms perished from lack of oxygen, some were able to thrive 'life without air'. In this capricious dreamlike collection, characters and scenes traverse states of airlessness, from suffocating relationships and institutions, to toxic environments and ecstatic asphyxiations. Both compassi When Louis Pasteur observed the process of fermentation, he noted that, while most organisms perished from lack of oxygen, some were able to thrive 'life without air'. In this capricious dreamlike collection, characters and scenes traverse states of airlessness, from suffocating relationships and institutions, to toxic environments and ecstatic asphyxiations. Both compassionate and ecologically nuanced, this innovative collection bridges poetry and prose to interrogate the conditions necessary for survival. Daisy Lafarge was born in Hastings and studied at the University of Edinburgh. Her debut novel, Paul, is forthcoming from Granta Books. She has published two pamphlets of poetry: understudies for air (Sad Press, 2017) and capriccio (SPAM Press, 2019), and her visual work has been exhibited in galleries such as Tate St Ives and Talbot Rice Gallery. She has received an Eric Gregory Award and a Betty Trask Award, and was runner-up in the 2018 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. Daisy is currently working on Lovebug - a book about infection and intimacy - for a practice-based PhD at the University of Glasgow. Life Without Air is her first collection of poetry.

30 review for Life Without Air

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bart Van Overmeire

    Who would have thought 20 years ago that, instead of working at CERN, I'd be reading poetry about it. Recommended for non-physicists as well (only one poem about CERN šŸ˜‰). Who would have thought 20 years ago that, instead of working at CERN, I'd be reading poetry about it. Recommended for non-physicists as well (only one poem about CERN šŸ˜‰).

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dan Power

    so crisp and bracing, and full of uncanny surprises

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    I really enjoyed this collection, which has made a late dash to take a place in the best poetry I have read this year. It wasn't always an easy read. I had to dip into the dictionary a couple of times, but that isn't a bad thing. I don't need - or want - to be spoon-fed when I read. Or at least not with every book I read. I also liked, and this may appear to be a stupid thing to say about a poet, Lafarge's apparent joy in words. "if you find yourself canalling in another's unconcious or gonderlieri I really enjoyed this collection, which has made a late dash to take a place in the best poetry I have read this year. It wasn't always an easy read. I had to dip into the dictionary a couple of times, but that isn't a bad thing. I don't need - or want - to be spoon-fed when I read. Or at least not with every book I read. I also liked, and this may appear to be a stupid thing to say about a poet, Lafarge's apparent joy in words. "if you find yourself canalling in another's unconcious or gonderliering back through wild hoops of absence rattling off some doggerel verse..." from afflection (28) Lafarge uses of multi-syllabic words precisely applied delightfully, which I always like. Sometimes a simple word isn't the best word and if that means more work for the reader then why is that a bad thing. None of this is impenetrable. I particularly enjoyed 'Feed', 'mineral intimacy', 'afflection', 'dog rose duende', 'A Question for Zeno', which is the longest poem in the collection, and 'understudies for air'. Definitely worth a read. I would write more but I am very tired today and my brain is working effectively as a non-effective thing.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Geraldine Snell

    This book is BEAUTIFUL and what's inside is by turns intense, refreshing, vivid, cathartic, potent, AND.. light and airy. A breath of fresh air that will leave you gasping for air. It has re-sparked a love for poetry, words and the expression and naming of tricky sticky stuff.. read alone and aloud around a bonfire with my lockdown housemates who are as in love with these poems as I am. This book is BEAUTIFUL and what's inside is by turns intense, refreshing, vivid, cathartic, potent, AND.. light and airy. A breath of fresh air that will leave you gasping for air. It has re-sparked a love for poetry, words and the expression and naming of tricky sticky stuff.. read alone and aloud around a bonfire with my lockdown housemates who are as in love with these poems as I am.

  5. 5 out of 5

    peppersocks

    Reflections and lessons learned: Oooo, really not sure about this one - it might take a second listen as I may have been in the wrong state of mind for the but on first listen Iā€™m not keen on the poetry or the narration...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Matt Lewin

  7. 4 out of 5

    Yolanda McKean

  8. 4 out of 5

    Francis

  9. 4 out of 5

    Wed

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rochelle Roberts

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  12. 4 out of 5

    El

  13. 4 out of 5

    KIR

  14. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

  15. 4 out of 5

    Hatty Nestor

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ludwig Berger

  17. 5 out of 5

    Steven Edmondson

  18. 4 out of 5

    No Books

  19. 5 out of 5

    L

  20. 5 out of 5

    Luca

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Chapman-Suire

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jack Emsden

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ellie Rose

  25. 4 out of 5

    Claudia Mitchell

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kris

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alicia S.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rita

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jess

  30. 4 out of 5

    Leah Wingenroth

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