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Opposite: Poems, Philosophy & Coffee

by Helen Mort, Aaron Meskin

'I don’t have to taste it to know it’s good.'

50p from every copy sold of this book will be donated to the the Leeds Community Foundation’s Healthy Holidays campaign, which enables vulnerable children in Leeds to have access to food and fun activities during the school holidays.

If you're interested in the meeting of poetry and philosophy, you may enjoy this episode of BBC Radio 3's The Verb, featuring Helen Mort, inspired by Opposite and including readings of two of the poems.

What happens when poetry and philosophy converge? Over coffee at Leeds’ Opposite Cafe, award-winning poet Helen Mort and Professor of Philosophical Aesthetics Aaron Meskin set out to explore that very question.

Their caffeine-fuelled discussions morphed into the intriguing concept behind this book: a cross-disciplinary creative dialogue in which the poet lets her imagination loose on philosophical texts and the authors of the papers respond.

Like all the best coffee shop conversations, the results take unexpected turns through the art of tattooing, graffiti, Belle & Sebastian, food, rock climbing and whether there’s such a thing as bad art. So pull up a chair, and join Helen, Aaron and ten of the world’s leading philosophers of art for coffee, poetry and everything in between.

“A fascinating series of exchanges that delight and inspire in equal measure, and will be of interest to anyone looking for ways to engage with the world afresh.”
— Marion Thain, Professor of Literature and Culture at King’s College London


Helen Mort is a poet, novelist and lecturer in creative writing at the Manchester Writing School, Manchester Metropolitan University. Her poetry, collected in Division Street and No Map Could Show Them, has been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Costa Award. Her first novel Black Car Burning has just been published by Chatto & Windus, and she has also written plays, short stories and creative non-fiction. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

She collaborated with philosopher Aaron Meskin on Opposite: Poems, Philosophy & Coffee, published by Valley Press in May 2019.


Aaron Meskin is Professor of Philosophical Aesthetics at the University of Leeds. He works on a variety of issues in philosophical aesthetics, the philosophy of food, and philosophical psychology. Aaron is the editor and author of numerous publications including The Routledge Companion to Comics (2016) and The Art of Comics: A Philosophical Approach (Wiley-Blackwell 2012). In July 2019, Aaron will begin as Head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Georgia.

He collaborated with poet Helen Mort on Opposite: Poems, Philosophy & Coffee, published by Valley Press in May 2019.


Date Published: 2019-05-10

ISBN: 9781912436217

Catalogue Number: VP0141

Number of Pages: 60

Cover design by Jamie McGarry

Cover photograph by Justin Slee

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