“Talen poetically threads personal memoir with imagined futures, nightmares and nostalgia. And yet there is a raw realness to it all, with touching references to his family and friends as well as experiences, ideas and hopes he clearly feels very deeply. One of the main criticisms of catastrophic discourse in environmentalism is that such religiosity turns climate change into Biblical fables, rather than problems to be solved… A critique of Talen’s evangelist garb might be that it simply plays to that. Except the Rev Billy is far from simple. It felt more as if he was inviting us to notice the pseudo-religious cult (of consumer capitalism) we’re already part of, not join a new one. Moreover, for all that it’s a sermon from a preacher, it’s very explicitly embedded in a social system. The “I got to be surreal sometimes to understand” line gradually transforms to “we got to be” (emphasis added) by the end of the poem, which I feel is emblematic of Talen’s approach as a whole. The religiosity of Talen’s style felt, to me, more a matter of “come, let’s congregate” than “you must fear my authoritarian warnings”. There is something very inclusive about his style, and joyous too.”

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