Living by Troubled Waters by Roy McFarlane
Living by Troubled Waters is the third poetry collection by Roy McFarlane - an extraordinary, uncompromising book exploring slavery, colonialism, and the continued tragedies visited upon Black bodies whilst these legacies remain unresolved. In his close examination of the horror of racialised violence, McFarlane examines how the strong currents of the past and present flow side by side. His poems ask us to think about the Black Mediterranean of today as much as we do about the Windrush scandal and the aftershocks of trans-Atlantic slavery, where Black people are still imprisoned, enslaved and drowned as they flee persecution and poverty.
Living by Troubled Waters is innovative, formally experimental and far ranging in scope; erasure & inclusion (to make known) poems interweave and speak to the wider body of the collection. In his use of archival documents as a space for activism and linguistic intervention, McFarlane writes back into history, reclaiming voices and reshaping narratives. His poems also draw strength from themes of place and displacement, social justice, Black motherhood, family, art - and from the power of poetry itself as a witness to troubled times.