Why Are You Shouting? by James Womack: Carcanet Online Book Launch

  • DATE

    17 July 2024

  • TIME

    7:00 pm to 8:00 pm

  • AGES

    All ages welcome



Please join us to celebrate the launch of Why Are You Shouting? by James Womack. The reading will be hosted by Sasha Dugdale. The event will feature readings and discussion, and audience members will have the opportunity to ask their own questions. We will show the text during readings so that you can read along.

Registration for this online event will cost £2, redeemable against the cost of the book. You will receive the discount code and instructions for how to purchase the book in your confirmation email as well as during and after the event.

Why Are You Shouting?, James Womack’s fourth Carcanet collection, thinks about two things in particular: our struggle as individuals to find connections between ourselves, with friends, family and lovers, and the efforts we make as groups to connect to the environment we live and die in. Written in the shadow of the climate crisis and the pandemic years, the poems set out to find points of hope and solidarity, against a common backdrop of disruption and collapse to which we are often wilfully blind.

Alongside these concerns runs a narrative of personal blindness and self-enchantment, a willingness to allow oneself to be misled in order to have a quiet life. If the collection’s title suggests that raising one’s voice is the readiest way to reach other people, the poems themselves dare to offer quieter solutions, too: there is space for humour and kindness, even a degree of positive thinking about the state the world is in.

The ghost of Cassandra, the Trojan princess given the gift of prophecy but condemned to have no one believe her words, haunts the collection: her life is a warning, but also an antidote to willed ignorance.

‘The God of whom I speak is dead.
I did my makeup in a disco ball.
I looked at the whole magnificent
creation of the Lord, and asked,
sadly, “Is it cake?”‘

About the speakers:

James Womack was born in 1979. His new collection, Why Are You Shouting?, is published by Carcanet in July 2024. He is the author of three previous collections of poetry with Carcanet: Misprint (2012), On Trust: A Book of Lies (2017) and Homunculus (2020). He is also an award-winning translator, and has translated widely from Spanish and Russian, including works by Vladimir Mayakovsky (‘Vladimir Mayakovsky’ and Other Poems, Poetry Book Society Translation Choice Winter 2016), Aleksandr Tvardovsky, Manuel Vilas and Camilo José Cela. He lives in Cambridge.

Sasha Dugdale has published six collections with Carcanet. The Strongbox is her most recent book (May, 2024).

Her fifth collection Deformations was shortlisted for the 2020 T. S. Eliot Prize and Derek Walcott Prize. Joy (2017) was a Poetry Book Society Choice and the title poem was awarded the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem 2016.

Her recent translations for theatre include Bad Roads and The Grainstore by Ukrainian playwright Natalya Vorozhbit, for production by the Royal Court Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company.

She has published numerous translations of Russian-language women’s writing. The most recent of these, Maria Stepanova’s novel In Memory of Memory (Fitzcarraldo, 2021), was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize, the Weidenfeld Prize, Warwick Prize for Women in Translation and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Dugdale won the MLA Lois Roth Award for this translation. A new collection by Maria Stepanova Holy Winter is forthcoming from Bloodaxe (UK) and New Directions (US) in 2023.

She is former editor of Modern Poetry in Translation, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.