n. – uncultivated land where water collects

v – to overwhelm


n. – an object that you cannot or do not wish to name

The swamp is not ours. The swamp is not us. The swamp is not useful. The swamp is not property. The swamp is not adept. The swamp is abject. We do not understand the swamp. The rules of the swamp are not the rules we know. The swamp is green and dark, like beginnings and endings. The swamp is moist like eyes and throats. The swamp’s hearts beat at another speed. The swamp breathes differently. Weird fold between the firm and the wet, the swamp is a body of writhing uncertainty. We cannot stand tall and dry in the swamp. The swamp blurs. The swamp swarms. The swamp grasps at our ankles. The swamp remembers the flood. The swamp mutters of others. The future lies deep in the swamp. The swamp is older than we can recall. We are afraid that the swamp harbours monsters. We are afraid that the swamp is a monster. We are afraid that the monstrous might be unbound, like the swamp. We are afraid that the swamp will seduce us. We are afraid that the swamp will dissolve us. Still, we creep toward the swamp. We crouch at its edge. We delight in the secrets it can keep. But listen, the swamp is singing. 

Abridged is heading towards its twentieth year. Anything that lasts twenty minutes these days is worthy of a medal. Not that we want a medal. Unless it’s a very pretty one. Theoretically we should be by now part of the literary establishment, whatever that somewhat nebulous term means. And yet, here we are, presenting to you numerous gospels from numerous swamp creatures. We present to you here our own world, one that squelches when you walk, one where things with eyes just above the water chart your path intently and wait…one where you lose yourself and find yourself in the swirling fog. Thanks to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for commissioning this project. It wouldn’t have existed without you. Thanks to all the participants, who really, as they say, came up with the goods, after being given a brief that was of course uniquely Abridged. 

Image by Fiona Hession.

This Project was Commissioned by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.