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Pamphlet via Smith|Doorstop

Winner of the 2019 New Poets Prize


Katabasis means a descent, the sinking of the winds or sun, a military retreat, a trip down into the underworld. This mythopoetic and experimental sequence of poems, texts and translations links the ancient Sumerian epic The Descent of Inanna to contemporary neo-colonial violences as a consequence of military occupation.

EMMA LEE via LONDON GRIP: The use of long lines, mixing poetry and prose-like structures, gives Ying chance to build a sense of fracture, using images to create dream-like visions and question the aftermath of war and devastation.

FREYA JACKSON via THE KINDLING JOURNAL: Throughout the pamphlet, the process of naming is important and Ying asks us to consider these names through the pamphlet’s own engagement with ideas of 'freedom', 'justice' and what is 'infinite' and 'enduring'.


ISABELLE THOMPSON via SPHINX REVIEWS: By creating a pamphlet which inhabits a borderland between the two forms, Ying has heightened the intensity, invoking a landscape of chaos.

REECE MERRIFIELD via FOXTROT UNIFORM: Katabasis is an immense work that can be both complex and varied but also simple and uncompromisingly true.

MARY JEAN CHAN: Taking its cue from The Descent of Inanna, this collection is one to be savoured repeatedly. Apart from its formal experimentation, its lyric epiphanies are also a delight."

WILL HARRIS: At once spectral and vivid, timeless and current, these broken rhythms and stalled narratives attempt to sift through the wreckage of War, and to argue back to it.

VAHNI CAPILDEO: The quiet music of Jay G Ying’s long lines leads gently into the extraordinary: through doorways, into War, among insects, nerved by queer desire. Fine wordplay adorns the substantial sense that demands can come from anywhere, even the wind or a fly, while self and kinship undergo violent transfiguration.