Poems written by Cyborgs in the future, melding sci-fi and poetry, human and machine.
The Cyborg Anthology takes place in a future where there was a thriving world of Robots and Cyborgs living peacefully beside Humans, but a disaster destroyed all Robot and most Cyborg life.
The book is organized like a typical anthology of literature, split into sections that include a biography of each poet and a sample of their poetry. It covers early Cyborg poetry, political, celebrity, and pop culture poets, and ends with the next generation of Cyborg poets.
The narrative takes place in the time after a cataclysmic event, and the collection wrestles with this loss. Through the lives of the poets, the book chronicles the history of personhood for technological beings, their struggle for liberation, and demonstrates different ways a person can be Cyborg. The poems and biographies together tell the story of a complex and enthralling world-to-come, exploring topics that are important in the future, and also urgent right now.
“With mordant wit and a playful satiric touch, these Cyborg poems showcase a dazzling range of poetic forms and ideas: imaginative and charmingly subversive. Move over Norton Anthology of Poetry, there’s a new force in town, and they are a delight.” —Renée Sarojini Saklikar, author of Listening to the Bees and Children of Air India
“The premise of this collection alone is fabulous. The poems are potent and powerful. With echoes of Le Guin, Brunner and Monáe, Lindsay B-e’s debut is layered and smart, provocative, and deeply satisfying. I was moved and fascinated. Speculative poetry at its best.” —Hiromi Goto, author of Chorus of Mushrooms and Darkest Light
- 2 To Be Read lists
Almost every time a new book is released it’s declared to be: one of a kind, a new voice, a generational lifetime achievement. I’m aware that these claims are subjective (and often motivated by marketing), so I’m not saying this lightly when I declare enthusiastically, unequivocally that this book is all those things. Including, first and foremost: a once in a lifetime book that speaks to a generation. In this case, a generation that hasn’t happened yet.
The Cyborg Anthology is set in a hypothetical future, one where a solar flare has wiped out all Robot and most Cyborg life. This ‘anthology’, written by the singular talented human Lindsay B-E, chronicles the history of the Cyborg poetics movement and the lives of the poets themselves. The Cyborg Anthology showcases how poetic movements are formed – through personal as political by people with a need and drive to express and vocalise, through poetry found and formed and rebuilt.
you are who you are
the outside breaking in
– ‘BEHIND THAT THAT’ – HAZEL HUSH (P17)
Spanning political and pop culture poetry, this book explores the histories and fame of Cyborg poets like Andre.riga and Tommy the Witch. Each poet’s voice is unique and compelling, to the point where the fictionality of this nonfiction is something I begin to care less and less about. It’s not that I’ve bought into the world building like a true sci-fi fanboi. No, nothing so minor: this historical moment in time has become absolutely real for me. The time-space of Cyborg poetics is so close to our current climate and weaved so incredibly convincingly, that I begin to absolutely believe it without hesitation.
The world has a hierarchy.
We’re near the bottom,
– ‘REPRESS ADDRESS’ – THESEUS (P25)
I find myself invested in the lives of these poets, idly picking up my phone to search for their books before remembering I’m living in 2020 and not post-flare 2202. And yes, I absolutely cry when I reach the end of the book – the knowledge that so many of these poets died in a cataclysmic event is, despite its fiction, close to my heart.
not in the things themselves
but in their shadows
not in the shadows themselves
but in what they’re concealing
– ‘THE SUN HITS’ – MI’LA LALPETIT (P85)
Because through the Cyborgs’ fight for personhood and liberation, I see a mirror of our current fight for human rights and climate preservation. The Cyborg poetic evolution maps a current reality: one where so many folks are urgently seeking equality in a world of structural inequality. Cyborg bodies are debated, questioned and discriminated against, their sentience and classification challenged. So as a non-binary transgender poet with a tattooed, pierced, post-surgery, chronic pain body; it’s an easy leap for me to ascribe the equality-seeking body-modified Cyborg poets as my potential future kin.
Water the seeds, water the seeds with memory.
We will sprout again.
– AHMED AL-TAHIR (P89)
To relate to a book is one thing but what really makes a book like The Cyborg Anthology stand out is its ability to affect change in its readers. To read this book is to reflect on how history repeats itself through the discrimination of marginalised people, their lives and their bodies. The Cyborg Anthology reflects on the hope we could/(should) have for our future: the one we make and create ourselves through artistic resistance, the future we write ourselves into.
Because I (am) matter.
– ‘THE RED CYBORG’ – SYDNEY SCHOOL OF ROBOTICS (P31)