Wombwell Rainbow Ongoing Book Interview: “The Water Engine” by Ankh Spice. Question 4.

the water engine by ankh

Ankh’s 2019 interview with me:

Ankh’s on his latest book:

Q3: Why is water so important to your poetry?

Ah the biggest question of all, dear DW!

Water is all our ws, is the short answer – our where, our why, our who-what-when (and that single h that should be a w – the how).
It’s that first wiggle of our building blocks, our precursor, our ur-species, then the habitat of our ancestors. Bigger than even that, it’s the first wiggle of *any* organism, of any species-in-potentia, at least in our universe. We scour for signs of it out there in the huge darkness, just as far as we can reach or even conceptualise – to reassure ourselves we’re not alone. And it’s our first wiggle as individuals, too – our first swim as consciousness lodges in these bodies. These bodies that yes, remember it in its shapes, and are also water. I think of us all as ambulant oceans, still carrying around everything I just mentioned, sloshing away inside this thin skin-barrier we’ve grown between us and the world. This way of thinking is so inextricable from my poetry, if you removed the water from it, it would cease to exist – just as surely as I would or you would.
And how could I exist *where* I do – on this archipelago, this city the fallen body of a taniwha, this island the body of a fish, and never more than birdcall away from the tideline, to write as I do, by channelling from without and within – and not be overflowing? You’ll recognise all of this, feeding every line of every poem in The Water Engine – truly it isn’t about the fountain, it’s all of this – it’s us, the way we begin in water to intake from the source (all our sources). The way our being, our baffling mechanism, directs and urges those takings-in to move through our twists and turns – the water of us finding its way through our dark interior, through blockage, obstruction, silt, breakage, leaks. To the release, the rush, the great urgency of knowing our time moving upwards in this way is limited – that eventually we drift up there in the light, we dissipate, all that momentum translated to a calm float – right back to that source. And it’s in it’s way pointless, this circle, but it’s utterly beautiful and also *completely* the point – water moves because that’s what it does. And it moves *us* because on some level we all know, coast-dwellers or not, that it’s the reason we’re here. And given how brief our rush feels, to think about it being fed by all we take in, and returning to an origin that persists and re-feeds, is endlessly comforting. Thank you for asking this question, Paul – I think if I wanted anyone to take any single thing away from my poetry, or to approach my book holding any kind of map, it would be this awareness.

(sending you light from the ocean, right where I’m sitting now)


Here’s where to get a copy of Ankh’s debut: https://femmesalvebooks.net/the-water-engine-by-ankh-spice/


More answers to come.

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