We Are All from Somewhere Else

In 2020, I updated The Mara Crossing to reflect the changing picture of human migration in a new paperback edition, We Are All from Somewhere Else.

It includes the poem I wrote for Dark Water Burning World.  I also describe and update events on Lesbos, as well as at the Mexico-US border and climate disasters creating more migrations and refugees everywhere, and offer an introduction to the new edition for this darker migrant world of 2020.

‘This book is a journey into thinking about migration,’ she begins. ‘Just the first stage. Not the process of settling into a new home, simply the journey you make to find it. It aims to give today’s mass human migrations a biological and historical context, and bring out religious, spiritual and psychological implications of all migration.

‘By shifting between prose and poetry, the book does a bit of migrating itself. It consists of eleven short essays each introducing its own sequence of poems, which pause and reflect upon the argument like songs in a musical. Together, prose and poems reveal migration as a natural and creative movement essential to life on earth.

‘The immediate facts and politics of human migration are constantly changing but the issues and themes of migration are perennial and universal. They come from living on this earth – which provides reasons to migrate, such as changes in temperature and life-sustaining minerals, but also places mortal dangers in the migrant’s way.’


‘A quite beautiful combination of poetry and prose, a unique perspective on migration and immigration’:  The National, Abu Dhabi

‘A prodigy, a book of wonders, sheerly brilliant. Wonder connects with pity and terror, lodged in the searing penultimate section of voices in transit… coercing ‘Compassion – and beyond that, empathy’. Independent

‘This sweeping and unconventional book about migration calls for compassion. Her poems and essays are a lyrical tribute to the instincts and whims, trials and beauties that catalyse movement.’ Economist

‘A thoughtful, often quite magical mix of prose and poetry… Just as fascinating as Padel’s central theme is the insight that she gives us into poetry” Independent on Sunday

‘A broad-ranging meditation on all things migratory – concerned with the making of links, Bifurcation – between poetry and prose, human and animal, privilege and under-privilege, and, crucially, art and science – is at the heart of the collection and powers its explorations of journeying. This is a book of raw interfaces and unnerving encounters, not comfortable oppositions of black and white.’ Guardian