List Price: £15.00
Format: ~ Paperback - 110 pages
Size: 14 x 21.6 cm
Tags: walking arts, environment, poetry, somatics, systems thinking
Stone Talks brings together poems and four talks/essays by noted poet Alyson Hallett on the subject of stones, rocks, somatics and our relationship with our environment.
The book invites us to listen again to the world around us - the world of rocks and trees and sky and stars and sea that we participate in and that participates in us.
It reawakens a childlike curiosity in us, makes connections that we had forgotten, and gives us permission to experience the world in an embodied and vibrant way that was drummed out of the rest of us long ago.
"Stone Talks is a multi-genre foray into listening to what the world has to say, specifically the beings in the world who are considered some of the most static and unmoving: rocks.... The book is a multi-modal marvel; it contains personal narrative, research, journal entries, poetry from Hallett and other writers, and pictures...
For readers who are familiar with Haraway’s ideas of tentacular connections and who have an eye for energy and nature literature, Stone Talks operates as a poignant meditation on what we are connected to and how we are connected to it, in both loving and harmful ways. For those who have limited experience in these academic fields, Hallett introduces topics of petro-subjectivity, extraction, Indigenous rights and sovereignty, and the intertwining of the geologic and the poetic. Hallett has breached interesting ground in the poetic and academic with Stone Talks and its reminder of the being of all things—even the smallest of pebbles.
Haley Keane in The Trumpeter, Vol. 37, #1 (2021)
Read the full review here
"Hallett is a poet and a mystic. Stones speak to her, starting with a pebble picked up on a beach when she was 19.... [Her] achievements in terms of residencies, awards and publications are formidable..."
Myra Connell in Resurgence Nov/Dec 2020
I will be an avid reader of Stone Talks, and I’ll tell my friends to keep an eye out for it. I love the way you travel.
Donna Haraway, author & Professor Emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz
I am SO moved and filled with joy reading your work. I feel as if you’re restoring me to my faith, by which I mean faith in listening to feelings, hearing the instinctual voice. You write so simply and beautifully about your experiences and I admire your trueness of spirit.
Paul Harris, Professor of English, LMU, Los Angeles
Oh I love this little book. I love it from beginning to end. It’s told with clarity and generosity and it’s full of treasures. It moves across my mind like an erratic. From the land of you to the land of me. Lynn Davidson, Poet
It's not a one time read but a second and a third .....:) a never ending 'spiral', this book is so enriching and earthy. It will always be my guide and inspire me in my creative journey. Monali Meher, Performance Artist
"This little gem of a book contains transcripts of some of the talks Alyson has given about her· work over the years. For me, its charm is that it enables us, through her poet's eyes, to see stones, large and small, from huge mountains to tiny pebbles, as a living part of the shimmering fabric of our world rather as some static, unnoticed backdrop to our lives. I love her stories. I love her poetry. I am endlessly fascinated by the way her mind works and the ideas and insights her words evoke." From a Review in Green Spirit Magazine read the full review
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The book starts with an essay on KInship inspired by Donna Haraway's ideas about how we must make relationships of kin with all things, including what she refers to as ‘critters’. In it, Alyson explores the twin ideas of embodied reading and embodied walking. How, exactly, can we embody the ideas in a book? Here, the author "dives into kinship with the decomposed bodies of plankton, plants and animals whose liquidation created that beautiful, black viscous gold we call oil".
In the title essay, Stone Talks, Alyson revisits the keynote lecture she gave at the ‘In Other Tongues’ symposium at Dartington. In it she explores her lived experience of being talked to and guided in her life by stones. She examines the ideas of obedience and yielding, the body as a wilderness, and unfolds a walked artwork with stones that she undertook soon after her father died.
In Haunted Landscapes, Alyson explores the marks and traces of our own and others' lives that inhabit our bodies and experience. Wandering into quantum physics, she asks questions that "set me afloat on a fathomless sea".
Finally, in The Stone Monologues, Alyson embarks on a quest to "understand myself not as a single thing, a single point, but rather a constellation, a layered interruption in time comprising everyone and everything I encounter".
Alyson Hallett has received Arts Council awards for her work. She is a Hawthornden Fellow, works part-time for the Royal Literary Fund and loves collaborating with other artists and scientists. She has a doctorate in poetry with research into geographical intimacy. In Stone Talks, she shares some of what she is learning from stones. She talks “from the mud. From the earth. From the place we haunt and are haunted by.” The talking is exquisite.
Stone Talks is for anyone interested in rediscovering their relationship with the land, rocks, their bodies and the other 'critters' that we share the world with... through poetry, dreaming, walking and the embodied imagination. It is for anyone interested in the politics of place, language, poetry, spirituality, relationships with the land. It is also for anyone who has ever felt an affinity with stones, pebbles and rocks.
REVIEWED in Northern Earth magazine:
"Alyson Hallett is a poet, writer and educator. This, her most recent book, is an exposition on the subject of how we interact and communicate with our environment. Holding as she does, a Ph.D. in Poetry and Geographical Intimacy, her evaluation of geography is not as a way of assessing place and its associated material manifestations by scientific measurement and analysis, but by consultation with the sensations arising from her unconscious mind in response to place and substances such as stone. She uses poetry as a tool to show the link between matter and mind and to expose the misunderstanding most of us have about the mind / matter relationship."
Reviewed in Northern Earth, Issue 159, 2019. Visit Northern Earth magazine