Publication date: 27th April 2023
Format: Paperback / eBook
Cover artwork by Uberpup, Ria Dastidar
What do you do when you are a god – but powerless and unable to prevent one of your favourite species from their insatiable, accelerating death wish? Do you try to shout louder and more insistently, or instead reinvent yourself as a troubadour of romantic ruin, a barkeep, even a football manager? Such are the dilemmas posed by Rishi Dastidar in his third poetry collection Neptune’s Projects, a reshaping of mythology for the climate crisis era which gives bold consideration to the stark choices we face.
A post-apocalyptic jig and reel, these poems are compelling, deadpan yarns of the sea, full of both fury and fun, showcasing the eponymous hero as confessor, computer, and Cassandra, trying to slow our demise, despite our refusal to see ourselves careening towards it. In Neptune’s Projects the end of humanity is made wry, thrilling – and alive.
Praise for Neptune's Projects:
"There has always been an intersection between poetry and the natural world. Now here comes Rishi Dastidar’s Neptune to add wit, postmodern panache and mythic irony to the tradition of the open sea. A richly rewarding read." - Roger Robinson
“Rishi Dastidar’s third collection, Neptune’s Projects is an extraordinary and fascinating deep dive into the underwater world that surrounds us and how our attitude and treatment of it reflects the extreme anxieties of our age. Using the almost futuristic lens of hyperobjects, in tandem with the more mythical and historical ballad form, Dastidar creates an alien, destabilising yet incredibly rewarding reading experience. We are drenched, just like the namesake of the collection, Neptune. Through shifting perspectives and a real, empathetic engagement with the largest element on the planet, Dastidar fearlessly voyages through the deep coming up with innovative language and playful, unexpected linguistic strokes to suggest that maybe, just maybe there is still hope for us and the sea. Neptune’s Projects is completely immersive and utterly thrilling.”
– Victoria Kennefick
"Rishi Dastidar is a ludic myth-maker, a satirist of keen eye and big heart. Whether it’s Armageddon or the Anthropocene via that distinctly British exceptionalism that delivered us Brexit, these poems of the sea and shores of this ‘tight little island’ bite back with verve and gallows wit." - Karen McCarthy Woolf
Rishi Dastidar’s poetry has been published by the Financial Times and BBC amongst many others. He is a fellow of The Complete Works, and a consulting editor at The Rialto magazine. A poem from his debut collection Ticker-tape was included in The Forward Book of Poetry 2018, and his second collection, Saffron Jack, was published in the UK by Nine Arches Press in 2020. He is also editor of The Craft: A Guide to Making Poetry Happen in the 21st Century (Nine Arches Press), and co-editor of Too Young, Too Loud, Too Different: Poems from Malika’s Poetry Kitchen (Corsair).
Photograph credit: Naomi Woddis