Rosa Campbell - Pothos

Rosa Campbell - Pothos

Released 31st July 2021 // 158 pages // 978-1-913642-58-7


Epipremnum aureum, devil's ivy, or (somewhat erroneously) pothos is not special. It is not symbolically useful, it is not rare, it is not hard to grow or care for. But in the aftermath of unexpected death, an impossible-to-kill houseplant might have something to say about keeping going.


In Pothos, Campbell traces a polyvocal narrative of loss, absent presence, and queer homemaking through a poetics of attention and an engagement with texts, art, music, and the occasional hologram. Hovering somewhere between memoir, prose poetry and essay, Pothos examines the condition of being alternately infuriated, bored, and overwhelmed by grief - its mutability, its opacity, its refusals. It is a raw and nebulous exploration of mourning, care and domesticity, and the way in which the small background sentience of plants can (maybe) tell us something about our own growth.


Cover illustration by Rosie Robertson, see more of Rosie's wonderful work here




Pothos offers an extraordinarily rich and affecting account of grief, and of how it alters the experiences of love, art, plantlife, technology, friendship, food, illness, protest and crisis. This is a gorgeously messy, passionate book, thrown into disarray by personal loss, and also by the catastrophes of recent history, 'timestamps' of which can be found 'right there singing in the metadata'. Like Frank O'Hara, one of the garrulous spirits invoked by this sociable, choral text, Campbell commits to a way of writing that is 'at least as alive as the vulgar '. Pothos opens itself up, again and again, to remind us that it is the 'silly things' which are 'huge & beautiful forever'.

   - Oli Hazzard, Lorem Ipsum


Utterly contrary to the era of what Philippe Ariès terms 'forbidden death', Campbell's Pothos is the most extraordinary book - a meditation on grief that engages with the poetry of Frank O'Hara, houseplants, iPhone notes and the many and multifarious specificities of what it is to be alive and then suddenly without someone. Pothos might also be a useful book; in an act of tremendous empathy and generosity Campbell makes her grieving, with all its glittering thinking, deft lyricism and resplendent queerness, communal. If grief, as C.S. Lewis believed, feels like fear then perhaps Campbell's writing feels like courage.

   - Richard Scott, Soho


Rosa Campbell's beautifully-observed descent into the underworld after her father's death offers the very particular pleasures of intimacy with a stranger, of recognition, of a report from the in-between place of grief, that other world in our world where we might find ourselves at any time, studying longing when we aimed to study the light

   - Andrea Lawlor, Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl