In his fifth collection of poems, David Wheatley twins his birthplace and his current home, Ireland and Scotland, to engage issues of globalism, identity, and language. He takes inspiration from the Russian Futurist poet Velimir Khlebnikov, self-nominated President of Planet Earth, who in a state of apocalyptic rapture envisioned a new world culture, its rise and its dramatic undoing. In The President of Planet Earth Wheatley brings an experimental sensibility to bear on questions of land and territory, channelling the messianic aspirations of modernism into subversive comedy. Sequences explore the 'other country' of the poet's Irish childhood, Khlebnikov's Russia, and the Scottish landscapes where Wheatley now makes his home. We move between Pictish pre-history, the imaginary South American nation of 'Oblivia', and post-independence referendum Scotland. Wheatley marries classical, Gaelic, Scots and continental traditions. He deploys several styles - prose poetry; concrete poetry; translations from Middle Irish, Latin and French; sestinas and sonnets in Scots - to heady effect. The President of Planet Earth refashions language and the world it shapes, devising a transformative poetics.
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