Rough Currency by Rebecca Sharp


A new poetry pamphlet by Fife-based poet, playwright and interdisciplinary artist Rebecca Sharp.



Exploring the poetics of oil and the imagination, Rough Currency excavates our personal, political, mythological and geological entanglements with fossil fuels and the oil economy.

Accompanied by a soundscape from sound artist and composer Philip Jeck, created in response to the central sequence of poems ‘Vinyl/Pirates’ (available on Souncloud).

Rough Currency is an achingly beautiful, far-sighted sequence which leads us above, below and through the exploited world, challenging our complacency. In these difficult times we urgently need a poet with the skill and foresight to look beyond the clutter and write about what really needs said. Sharp is that poet. Visionary. Oracular. Fearless. Compelling. There are plenty of adjectives that apply to her work. She justifies and exceeds them all.
 – John Glenday

The ‘geologic hum’ of oil is all around us, but it often hides in plain sight. Rebecca Sharp’s bold and intelligent poetry unearths the fossil fuel economy. These beautifully crafted poems spiral like an ammonite’s shell and create vivid soundscapes. Rough Currency peers under the ‘briny ribs of soil’ to explore this explosive and controversial industry, which gives us light and fuel, tarmac and vinyl, but also steals the stars. These poems offer an exhilarating glimpse of a world after oil, where birds ‘herald the season of air.’
 – Yvonne Reddick

Rebecca Sharp’s collection is a swoop of “iridescent swirls” that suspend between the creaturely, the climate and the cosmic to conjure a vibrant visual aesthetic on the page, but beyond that, a deeper currency runs for excavation; is sifted through dust, detritus and “gummy fingers” to surface and expose what is often faraway or difficult to salvage. Just as Earth’s basin is not endless, no well is large enough to harbour vagabond human emotions, yet the poet harnesses a wand of cyclical magic; from placard signposts to soliloquy, a dab of the surreal, internal rhymes and mesmerizing rhythms uprooting the sonic qualities of nature in poetry, Rebecca Sharp’s polyvocal play with language steers on loop; a soundscape for the soul and perfect for our new Aquarian age.
 – Janette Ayachi

Rebecca Sharp is a poet, playwright and interdisciplinary artist from Glasgow, based in Fife. She has created several acclaimed works of poetry for print, performance and installation; collaborations with other artists and internationally produced plays.

Rough Currency is an RSL Literature Matters Award winner 2020 (Royal Society of Literature) and an Art of Energy Award winner 2021 (Centre for Energy Ethics, University of St Andrews).


Vinyl / Pirates (1)

Sound carries

the weight of sound – in watermarks
pressed against rock, inching inwards
on a pin’s drop. Fingerprints or rings

in wood, on water.

Time-lacquered vibrational sludge, repeating
a voice, a drum, a geologic hum.

Dust in the grooves,
needling for information.


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