Hannah Kate

poet, short story writer and editor based in Manchester

Dark Chaucer: An Assortment

Edited by Myra Seaman, Eileen Joy and Nicola Masciandaro

When I set up this new website, I intended things to be easy to compartmentalize. I write academic articles as Hannah Priest and creative poetry and prose as Hannah Kate. And yet, here I am, plugging a creative piece I wrote under the name Hannah Priest. Ah well…

I have a prose poem entitled ‘Unravelling Constance’ in a new collection from Punctum Books entitled Dark Chaucer: An Assortment. It’s creative response to Chaucer’s Man of Law’s Tale (from the Canterbury Tales). Here’s a short extract:

She came from the sea, mazed, amazed – masen – confused, bewildered, senseless. Deceived, deranged, crazed. They stopped and asked her who she was. When they stopped and asked her who she was. When they stopped and asked her who she was, she said she did not know. She said she was so mazed in the sea, that she forgot her mind. Her mind – mynde – seat of memory, faculty of memory, individual remembrance. Reason, understanding. Will, desire, purpose. She forgot her mind, when she lost herself. Constance forgets Constance. Constance is lost. Distress teaches us to be inventive, says the nightingale, but blank Constance does not invent.

Dark Chaucer: An Assortment is now available in both print and digital formats. The open-access eBook is available for free, and the paperback edition is priced at $15 – both are available direct from the publishers. If you download the eBook, please also consider making a donation to support the publishers in fostering and developing new and innovative scholarship.

About the book:

Although widely beloved for his playfulness and comic sensibility, Chaucer’s poetry is also shot through with dark moments that open into obscure and irresolvably haunting vistas, passages into which one might fall head-first and never reach the abyssal bottom. Opting to dilate rather than cordon off this darkness, this volume assembles a variety of attempts to follow such moments into their folds of blackness and horror, to chart their endless sorrows and recursive gloom, and to take depth soundings in the darker recesses of the Chaucerian lakes in order to bring back palm- or bite-sized pieces (black jewels) of bitter Chaucer that could be shared with others… an assortment, if you will. Not that this collection finds only emptiness and non-meaning in these caves and lakes. You never know what you will discover in the dark.

About the publisher:

Punctum Books is an open-access and print-on-demand independent publisher dedicated to radically creative modes of intellectual inquiry and writing across a whimsical para-humanities assemblage. For more information, please visit the Punctum Books website.


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