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Released 29th February, 2024 // 978-1-916938-07-6 // 82 pages // RRP £9.99

 

In the wake of five years which had seen a heart-attack, an operation to remove one third of his lungs, and increasing pain and difficulty walking from arthritis, Callum James resolved to walk the South Downs Way, one hundred miles from Winchester to the coast at Eastbourne. Walking five miles one day each weekend, James limped down the steep hill into Eastbourne four months later. The South Downs is partly a grimoire of the walk, partly a linear topography, partly a treatise on necromancy. Subverting the expectation that books on landscape are divorced from folklore, spirits, and the magic of a place, Callum James writes as one who does this magic, speaks to these spirits, and follows this lore. As a result, this is a book which is neither fiction nor non-fiction, because those categories don’t work when you leave materialism behind. It is story.

 

PRAISE for The South Downs:

Callum James has produced an exceptional work that tells of place and our relationship to it without the cliquey distancing art language of psychogeography that chokes so many other books. Refusing to dismiss the spirits of place summoned by walking, his words offer an alternative poetry of emotional punch and connection. This is a walking of the South Downs with mud on its boots, beauty entangling its soul and the shout of the dead in its ears.

   — David Southwell, Creator of Hookland

 

We stack words as markers along paths; cairns of language that dissolve over time into mere place-names. In Paths of the Dead, Callum James takes one of the 'old roads' of southern England and attempts to build these mounds anew by walking a linguistic archaeology. In the tradition of Hamish Fulton, Tim Robinson and Peter Riley a web of cartographies - of birds and trees; fellow travelers both passing by and long dead; suburban detritus - are fashioned into a prose-poem landscape of grief, love and life.

   — Justin Hopper, Author of The Old Weird Albion

 

ABOUT Callum James:

Callum James is a poet, artist, bookseller and magical practitioner. His literary and artistic concerns are based in landscape, memory and magic: encounters with more-than-human persons are at the heart of this praxis. His perspective is queer and animist. His poetry has been widely published in national magazines. This is his first single-author title.

Callum James - The South Downs