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  • Epochal Reckonings

Epochal Reckonings

Winner of the Proverse Prize 2019

J.P.Linstroth


English , 2020/08 Proverse Hong Kong

Tags: Poetry

184 x 122 mm , 154pp ISBN : 978-988-8491-94-0

  • US$22.00


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A description and response to some of the crises of the first years of the 21st century. Linstroth aims, as he puts it, to cause concern, discussion, and surprise, as well as to evoke the emotions of anger, empathy, and sadness.

In, Epochal Reckonings, poet, adjunct professor and editorial writer, J.P. Linstroth describes and responds to some of the crises of the first years of the 21st century. He aims, as he puts it, to cause concern, discussion, and surprise, as well as to evoke the emotions of anger, empathy, and sadness. The events covered include the huge migrations of people seeking to cross borders, whether in the Americas, Asia, Africa, the Middle-East or Europe, hoping for safety and a better life. Linstroth also shows and comments on human and natural acts of astonishing violence: the 9/11 destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York; the Hurricane named Katrina of 2005; the  Haitian earthquake of 2010. Linstroth portrays man’s inhumanity to man, whether callous, careless, mistaken, or deliberate: the police-killings of African-American youths; the genocide of Brazilian indigenous peoples; the torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison; mass school-shootings in the USA; and the Yemeni civil war. Linstroth describes his poetry as emergent and inchoate, outlining the struggles and sufferings of various groups during major crises in the 21st century, embodied by racism, extremism, violence, and tragedies too many to be told. These poems capture such calamities, defining their symbolic significance for many of those who have experienced these disasters of our times across the globe.

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Linstroth's angry panorama of the late 20th and early 21st centuries will be familiar from media reports and is written in appropriate verse, prose and diction. Scenes of displacement, attempts to survive nature's violence, those seeking refuge, social and racial discrimination are attributed to civil war, capitalism, globalisation, fear and hatred of others as well as  President Trump's evil destruction of American idealism. This is an anti-epic mapping our time. 

—Bruce King, author/editor of The Internationalization of English Literature, The New English Literatures, New National and Post-colonial Literatures, etc.

With the finesse and erudition of a classicist, and yet the clarion urgency of a contemporary activist, J.P. Linstroth ably chronicles the struggles of those whose tales are both sung and unsung. While his lyrical invocations speak of historical and contemporary oppression, the varied sufferings of marginalised peoples and more widespread catastrophes around the globe, he infuses his verse with cultural richness, resilience and human indomitability. 

—Akin Jeje, author of, Smoked Pearl: Poems of Hong Kong and Beyond.

To reckon is to count. Words count, as the body-bags have counted up throughout the twenty-first century. The attempt in this volume of poetry recording modern catastrophe after modern catastrophe, some of them echoing ancient catastrophes, is to reckon with what has been disastrous, and with what becomes mere anonymous numbers. Linstroth’s poetry believes in the value of words, and of people within different countries; he attempts not to let us forget them either.

— Jeremy Tambling, teaches as Professor of English at SWAP University Warsaw, and used to be Professor of Comparative Literature in Hong Kong, and Professor of Literature at Manchester before retiring.


J. P. Linstroth lives in the United States and has been writing poetry since he was a boy. He obtained a D.Phil. (PhD) in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Oxford and is an Adjunct Professor at Barry University and Faculty Member at the Catholic University of New Spain (UCNE). His books include: Marching Against Gender Practice: Political Imaginings in the Basqueland  (2015, Lexington Books) and The Forgotten Shore (Poetic Matrix Press, 2017). Linstroth was a signatory of the Brussels Declaration for Peace to end ETA violence (2010). He was a co-recipient of an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Grant (2005-2007) to study immigrant populations: Cubans, Haitians, and Guatemalan-Mayan immigrants in South Florida. He was awarded a J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholar Grant (2008-2009) to study urban Amerindians in Manaus, Brazil and to be a Visiting Professor at the Universida de Federal do Amazonas (UFAM). In 2017, he was awarded a Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award. Linstroth is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Peace Research Association Foundation (IPRAF). In 2019, he received a medal as a “Gentleman of Merit” and was inducted into La Noble Compañia de Bernardo de Galvez (The Noble Order of Bernardo de Galvez). In addition to many academic articles, he writes “opinion editorials”  (“Op-Eds”) in many newspapers and online news sources, including CounterPunch, Des Moine Register, Euroscientist, L.A. Progressive, PeaceVoice, The Houston Chronicle, and Londonderry Sentinel. His academic research interests are cognition, ethno-nationalism, gender, genocide, history, immigrant advocacy, indigeneity, indigenous politics, indigenous rights, love, memory, minority rights, peace, peace-building, racism, social justice, and trauma.  

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