NEW BOOKS: lana del rey playing at a stripclub & nature sounds without nature sounds


Delighted to announce the release of two recent poetry pamphlets, lana del rey playing at a stripclub (Mermaid Motel, 2019) and nature sounds without nature sounds (Sad Press, 2019).

To order a copy of lana del rey playing at a stripclub (£4 plus P+P) drop an email to mariasledmere[at] Cover design by Maria Sledmere.

You can buy a copy of nature sounds without nature sounds (£6 inc. P+P) from Sad Press, here. It comes in three editions: celestia, aquaria and terra firma. Cover design by Finn Arschavir.

lana del rey playing at a stripclub 

Suffering from mutual insomnia and obsession with Lizzie Grant’s entire discography, the artist Douglas Pattison messaged Maria Sledmere with a soOothing video from YouTube. The video in question, ‘lana del rey playing at a stripclub’ is one hour, twenty minutes of sheer hypnagogic delight, soothing reverb, metallic twang and distance. Inspired by the single-image video, in which the user ‘mabel’ parks their car to listen to Lana’s entire set, Sledmere’s poems are interested in the desire economy of the outside looking in, in the tremble between motion and stasis, in shortcuts to a sadcore planetary imaginary. Combining insouciant lyrics with slices of pop hauntology and medial musings, lana del rey playing at a stripclub sings for the night, for the young and (un)beautiful and for the internet of no-one in particular. In spirit it swings between the laconic aporias of Chelsea Minnis and some kind of ambient, apocalypse waltz that even the most adamant of six music dads might tap their brogues to.

nature sounds without nature sounds

nature sounds without nature sounds aims for a pure expenditure of the energy economies of the anthropocene, latching onto shimmering instants of anxiety and happiness among crisis, precarity and ending worlds. Influenced by the likes of Hélène Cixous, Clarice Lispector, Lisa Robertson, Ariana Reines, Lana Del Rey and the new materialist turn in IDM, it chews the rare candies of late capitalism in the hope of a levelling up or survival. Poetry as cheat code, dreamscape; the lyric as sultry song of aporia and longing. nature sounds reflects the ambient poetics of a fractured present, its sonic palettes and ekphrastic realities erected as desire’s latent architecture in the contexts of liminal labour, cherry-flavoured melancholy and the ontological upheavals of ecological emergency. Situated in the microstructures and object universe of everyday life, it nevertheless bears cosmic ambitions: exploring what we ask of meaning and mood, music and image in a time where our every horizon or hermeneutics glitches.

nature sounds recommendations: 

Sheer wonderment. These are poems of the arche-lithic! Maria Sledmere’s sounds inhabit the just out of touch, scary space pre (post? adjacent to?) human and more-than-human co-existence. Vibratory, looping, glitchy, they shimmer across screens and pages. These poems haunt and tremble with alarm (and yet the ringtone of that alarm is so gorgeous you can’t even bear to hit snooze). Somewhere in their crushing effervescence (“this food is so fast, I love soda”) it feels like Sledmere is an archaeologist of the future dragging and cropping our matted lashes and lavish matters for a blockbuster exhibition. In the words of Timothy Morton “is that the sound of something calling us within the grief – the sound of ecological thought?” Sledmere is a poet the way Cixous talks about poets: “a being who paints mimosas by phone”. Pick up the call – it’s going to keep ringing. 

— Colin Herd, editor of Adjacent Pineapple and author of Click + Collect, Swamp Kiss


The colour of your eyelids in a sleepless dream, nature sounds without nature sounds radiates solastalgia in subcutaneous tissue. These poems hover in the flickering threshold between the front- and back-of-house of an interminable shift. Lyric intimacy as the filter for the porosity you can’t bear, yet you can feed on it. The tracks you remember are still honey when they glitch—realplayer visualisations on loop except now the technicolour pixels are also viscous hydrophobics somewhere. The anthropocene is already playing in your cells and it’s a decadence of sensation, a spiralling of fruitless bodies. Even luminously polished surfaces can be dissolved by the right mixer.

— Katy Lewis Hood, editor of amberflora and Cumulus


nature sounds without nature sounds positions Maria Sledmere as an engaged voluptuary of the now, a poet fashioning gorgeous opals out of the psychic effluvia of the Anthropocene. We first read this poetry sybaritically, luxuriating in volutes of sound and colour. But the mantle soon reveals itself as one of “critical velvet”, chafingly betraying the irony of its seductions as it is worn, heightening our attention to the “gilded body on the line”. As Sledmere knows, pain can never be truly effaced, however momentarily alluring the prescriptions (“Nothing a shake of desiccated opals won’t fix”). This chapbook is a necessary “canvas of glitches”, a skin of epochal sigils that mesmerise as they burn.  

— Colin Lee Marshall, editor of Erotoplasty


An expansive landscape of colour, mood, and memory, in which traditional forms, such as sonnets and sestinas, are reconditioned by new textures, chemical hues, and song. Things that have old, long-held meanings, both personal and historic, like memories and ancient rites, go galactic in this melodic score of a book that feels like music, and whose echoes are always tumbling out of reach (rhyming ‘avocado on rye’ with ‘come at you milky-eyed’, or ‘lamb’s ears’ with ‘amnesia’). Its reveries are taut with technological interventions, like an inbox named rainbow, or a phone tracking memory, or a camera that reveals the ‘planetary lashes’ of an eye, all pulling back the veils of plain sight to reveal fresh perceptions. This book reveals an exciting language of connection, remembrance, and feeling that seeks to preserve and record the things we ‘can’t monetise’, creating a resistance to the otherwise commonplace reification of so much beauty.

Marianne Morris, author of The On All Said Things Moratorium, Word / World


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