I meant to post a couple of blogs between now and the last time but got distracted. Writing seems to have taken a back seat, as life has been busy with editing, admin, some live poetry events at last, and some long overdue family time.
Reading, however, has happened apace. I am still discovering more about the history of this territory, thanks to some Twitter connections I made in October. (That sort of thing will be so much harder if Twitter really falls apart, as it looks as if it might.) There has been an awful lot of fighting here, it seems. Gang warfare didn’t start with the ice cream! But I’ve also discovered some excellent poetry and other stuff I’d like to share.
Marsh, River, Raft, Feather by Clarissa Álvarez and Petero Kalulé, an innovative collaborative work published by Guillemot Press, that extends the range of poetic form and thinking about landscape. I will have to re-read this one a couple of times to get the full extent of its fascination.
Subterranea by Jos Smith (Arc) which takes poetry underground into the geology and archaeology of South-west England. Uneven, but beautiful.
Weeds in the Heart by Nathaniel Hughes and Fiona Owen (Aeon). This is not your usual herbal – it describes itself as a ‘sensory’ approach to herbal healing and interaction, which makes a lot of sense to me (as anyone who has been to one of my workshops will know!), but which is being made popular by the Seed Sistas at the Hackney Herb Garden. It includes a lot of psychotherapy in its information, but its real appeal to me is in the map, which connects plants and place and people in a beautiful visual way.
Belonging: a Culture of Place by bell hooks (I like the statement those lower case names make!) It is published by Routledge but they seem to have done a shocking job of proof editing, so it might be worth finding another edition. This book brings together a lot of things I’ve been trying to say for years, but from the perspective of black small-holders in Kentucky, which makes me aware of dimensions of place writing that writers of place and environment really need to take on board, even here in Britain where relationships and access to land and indigeneity seem so very different. Like many people, I wasn’t really aware of bell hooks until she died, but I will be diving in to as many of her books as I can get.
This website is going to get a bit of a refresh and future-proofing, and I’m very excited about its new look. One of the lovely things it will have is a Zotero plugin, so I can give you links to all these good things easily. When the relaunch is done, I will come back and edit all the links in, because these are books many of you are going to want.