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     The Charge in the Global Membrane   
     by B.W. Powe with street art photos by Marshall Soules

The Charge in the Global Membrane
by B.W. Powe with street art photos by Marshall Soules

“If Marshall McLuhan were to rejoin us today, he would be stunned at how much has changed so quickly. Powe’s Membrane text does the update exactly as McLuhan would. The art work by Marshall Soules is nothing short of amazing. He’s a sort of Wyndham Lewis, Marc Chagall, and Picasso rolled into one.”

W. Terrence Gordon, author of Marshall McLuhan: Escape into Understanding, dramatist and essayist

ISBN 978-0-9975021-8-3
176 pages
perfect bound, paper,
colour interior

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B.W. Powe is a writer and a teacher. He has written over 14 books of poetry and prose, and he teaches at York University. He lives in Canada and Spain.

Photograph: B.W. Powe with his daughter Elena

Marshall Soules is the former Chair of Media Studies at Vancouver Island University and author of Media, Persuasion and Propaganda (2015) among other works. He has been photographing wall art since the 1980s.

What is the subject of this book?

We’re immersed in a radical transformation of consciousness and sensibility through the advent of digital communications’ technologies. Everything is in heightened conditions of emergent flux and speed, of spiritual emergency. Responding to the transformations, this word-image work seeks the heartbeat inside the Genesis overdrive of our present. It’s a book of pulses and intuitions expressed in prose and poetry, street art and images, all of which record and reflect our deepening engulfment in manifesting generations of electricity. This book is about the charging of our time, and our charge for perceiving.

The global membrane is an evolutionary jump from the global village and global theatre into sensory, psychic alteration in which communications bring us at once closer and into sharp, painful divisions. A time of openings—expressions of humane empathy: a time of terrified, terrorizing closings—reactions against uprooting of what we know. Ecology, the afflictions of the Trump phenomenon, the quick-time evolutions of the internet, the rush of data influx, the upsurges in Nationalism, Trolls and Hackers, spiritual distress, crises of identity and A-literacy, #MeToo, the Netgens, the search for silence and rest, the intimations of a worldwide linked consciousness, the transfiguration of digital experience into cellular intimacies and addictions, the crying out of souls longing to grasp and express this dislocating jump-drive and its illuminating hopes, the shape-shifting artistic expressions of the current: all are elements of what we experience.    

Are you Human? An invitation says on the internet. If so then click here…

How do we penetrate the screens and perceive what’s churning out from us and into us?

How do we catch the streaming, the breakdowns breakthroughs, the yearnings, the fears of the present?

How to describe this unescapable process, the unfolding, our transformations, the devastations, our longing, the effects of hyperdrive?

It’s hard to understand radical change when change is erupting in front of you; and when that charge wholly absorbs your attention and sensibility.      

What are the forms and styles of this book?

This book is written in the streams of the new, pulling in its vibrations and alarms, its wonders and dislocations, the crystalline phenomena of what blazes at us all-at-once.  In its streaming and feeds you’ll find Donald Trump, the Gaia Principle, cellphones, social media and trolls existing side by side with street art, and with William Blake, Arthur Rimbaud, Simone Weil, Marshall McLuhan, Teilhard de Chardin, Susan Howe, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, David Bowie, Joni Mitchell.  It’s a collage-mosaic that absorbs speculations on force and energy, the poetry of theological concern, direct addresses to the reader (breaking the fourth wall), aphorisms, traces and fragments, observations on our sensational phase of communications and the identity crises we find in demagogic nationalist passions and the spewing hatreds of shock-jocks, and a letter of hope to Netgens. It engages the polarizing extremes of politics, presents reflections on refugees and ecology, what it means to be living in the air—in the clouds—through digital access, prose poems about solitude and transfiguring imaginative energies, about the moral and metaphysical rages we confront and make, and which confront and make us.    

What genre is this book?

All of them.

     ~ B.W. Powe

About the Images

"Part of a larger documentary (ethnographic) project, the images of street art were photographed as they were found in various cities on particular days. Often, they are the result of collective creativity illustrating the Charge in the streets, and credit for their creation remains with the original artists. I hope these images will provide wider exposure to artists and allow them to spread their news and views.”

     ~ Marshall Soules


“B. W. Powe’s The Charge in the Global Membrane is a much-needed intervention in our moment of cultural opening troubled by opposing forces seeking to halt the movement. Ranging from ancient literature and history to space travel, ecological crises, science fiction movies, and the current political turmoil around the globe, this powerful book discloses interconnections among all of these phenomena. Having drunk from the same visionary wells as William Blake, Simone Weil, Teilhard de Chardin, Bob Dylan, and the prophet Isaiah, Powe offers lightning flashes of insight into our disturbing and exhilarating times.”

Jerry Harp, author of Spirit Under Construction  

“It takes a visionary to be able to make sense of the blur of the world whirling ever faster around us. The drawn images add another dimension to the words. …It takes a non-linear poetic mind to describe the new normal of our existence. …Loved the way this tied in Rimbaud and the ‘cusp artists.’
Diane Keating, poet, novelist, author of The Crying Out    

“This is a great piece of work: a really timely synthesis of much of B.W.P’s thinking over the years. And the Cuban street-art plays at so many levels (I particularly like the irony).”

Jim Berry, artist and entrepreneur   

The Charge is by far the best thing Powe´s written since McLuhan and Frye, sweeping in scope, finely tuned, and appropriate in style, deeply provocative in thought.”

Wilfred Cude, author of The PhD Trap and Weapons of Mass Disruption