Primarily, rejected poets without readers within an environmental dystopian reality. “We are proposing a new poetry. We are interested in themes and ideas. Poems are messages from the future.” Much of KIT+CY’s work is environmental with acknowledgment of human contradictions, the Anthropocene and deep time. Former Environmental Management students of Sir Martin Doughty, Chair of Natural England, and ‘well-known figure in modern British conservation’ (Wiki) who died in 2009, KIT+CY’s earliest published poem appeared in the Co-op Caring Poetry Festival Anthology, 1992 (alongside Sophie Hannah) on the theme of ‘People should care’.
When the architect Terunobu Fujimori said, ‘High rise buildings are springing up everywhere. The more of them we build the more we need the opposite, smaller buildings connected to nature’, KIT+CY felt he was talking to them about their work:
The North magazine published Noah in 1996:
He could go neither up nor down,
But out onto the Tintwistle road
With his boat on his back like a cross,
A ghostly shape to the driver who stopped.
Excerpt from Noah (1996)
KIT+CY’s poems have been published by Seam, Blade, Iota, winning prizes in poetry competitions: Yorkshire, Exeter and Dulwich. KIT+CY’s collection What You Will See (Prizewinning poems 1995-2006), first published by Gatto in 2006, was rereleased on May 1st. The collection includes A34 Poems, first published by Yellow Crane in 1996, A34 Poems was written at the height of a violent backlash against climate change protestors who wanted building of the Newbury bypass stopped.
Sink estate. South shore.
He’s grimly learning permanence from the sea
In the seat of a Cortina
Reading the cross-channel ferry
Excerpt from A34 Poems (1996)
KIT+CY draw inspiration from visual artists. “So many seem to speak to us. The American artist Ed Ruscha who’s associated with the pop art movement, for example. ‘It dovetailed with my own work’ is how he describes Thomas Cole’s art in his interview with Anna McNay in Art Quarterly.” Thomas Cole was born in England and painted apocalyptic landscapes. The painting The Scapegoat (1854-6) by William Holman Hunt confronts something that runs through KIT+CY’s work: “The version of the painting in Manchester Art Gallery is familiar to us, and the final version in Liverpool encapsulates some of our contemporary thoughts. Nothing can reverse the sense of isolation, despair and anger we felt in 2016 when the result of the EU Referendum came through. It was overwhelming because it confirmed our worst fears about the dominant culture and how that affects what we can and can’t write about. WH Auden responded to the rise of Hitler with the poem September 1939. Our reaction to the referendum result was two poems: Brexit Wounds and If We Shadows Have Offended (Pif Magazine, 2016).”