Emergency Window

Ross Sutherland

"Lucid observations, smart conceits and insight"


Welcome to a science fiction reality of mirrors, windows and menacing simulacra – where nothing is as it seems. Surreal, funny, intelligent and experimental, Emergency Window charts a search for meaning in a disintegrating world.

My love, I feel like this print of Rothko.
I am small and glassy and I want to impress you,
even if it means murdering one of your work colleagues.

You think if you stare long enough at your noodles
you’ll see the combination to the safe.
I don’t have the heart to tell you the truth.

(‘Richard Branson’)

Welcome to a science fiction reality of mirrors, windows and menacing simulacra – where nothing is as it seems. In this ambitious and long-awaited second full collection, Sutherland interrogates the language of authenticity, presenting the poet as an anxious, disorientated collaborator trapped in a world of hacked computers and digital avatars.

Emergency Window features new poems alongside excerpts from two recent sequences, including a hilarious and strangely prescient version of Little Red Riding Hood, a poem written using Google Streetview, sonnets inspired by the Street Fighter 2 video game, and a sequence of computer-generated translations of classic literature. Surreal, funny, intelligent and experimental, these poems chart a search for meaning in a disintegrating world.

Reviews of Emergency Window

“lucid observations, smart conceits and insight into the contemporary world as a fragmented, self-constructed thing”
Holly Williams, The Independent

“The images cohere and expand, making gloriously relevant new ones; the crows rising up in omen as ornate costumes burn is undercut by the pile of singed polyester flares and pink Mia Wallace wigs. Neither image can flatten the other, both floundering in the disconnect between feeling and circumstance.”
Carmel Doohan, Exeunt Magazine

“These poems have a particular beauty, liberated from any notion of original meaning which clears space for new, surprising significance. [… Sutherland’s] engagement with the hyper- and sub-real is subtle and enjoyable.”
Jessica Stacey, The Literateur

“playful, energetic and saturated in the environment (if not the values) of late-consumerist society”
Steve Spence, Stride Magazine

Emergency Window incorporates thoughtful ‘collaborations’ that put existing texts through systems of translation and transformation. The results feel like pieces that have fought free of authorial control altogether and run amuck across the pages.”
Jon Stone, Dr Fulminare

“Packed with humour, heartbreak, innovation and odes to Street Fighter 2”
Colin Waters, Scottish Poetry Library

Ross talks to Amy Liptrot of Dazed Digital about writing Emergency Window.

Praise for Ross Sutherland

“sparky, surprising, joyous poetry”
Roddy Lumsden

“Ross Sutherland’s poetry approaches the epic; a kind of epic on a human scale. If he were a piece of furniture, he would be an elegant high stool that felt uncomfortable and stylish at the same time.”
Ian McMillan, BBC Radio 3

“In his free-wheeling lyricism, caustic wit and brilliantly surreal turn of image, Sutherland is a truly contemporary original”
Luke Kennard

“The ingenuity, pace and spiralling development of each piece is akin to improvised comedy […] Clever and destabilizing, this poetry’s voice is abrupt, sometimes rueful. Bracingly unreliable, it fires its statements out with a fluency that persuades you of the mad logic of its universe.”
Poetry London


Ross reads ‘Liverish Red-Blooded Riffraff Hoo-ha’

Our price £8.99
RRP £8.99
80 pages
ISBN 978-1-908058-02-7
Published 10 August 2012
Cover design: Penned in the Margins / Henry Simmonds


About the author

Ross Sutherland was born in Edinburgh in 1979. A former lecturer in electronic literature at Liverpool John Moore’s University, Ross works as a freelance journalist and tutor in creative writing. His first collection, Things To Do Before You Leave Town, was published in 2009, followed by the limited edition mini-book Twelve Nudes in 2010 and the e-book Hyakuretsu Kyaku in 2011. Ross is a member of live literature collective Aisle 16, and has toured solo and collaborative shows nationally and internationally.

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