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Reading the Flowers

by Linda France

These poems are sensuous, disciplined, earthy and deeply knowledgeable — a knowledge worn close to the skin. Musical and exceptionally eloquent, they glow. The journey of Reading the Flowers brought me almost unimaginably close to the wonders conveyed: "As near to kin as you'll ever be" ('Through the Turnstile Gate').

Moniza Alvi

Reading the Flowers began during Linda France's 2010-11 Leverhulme Residency at Moorbank, Newcastle University's Botanic Garden (now closed). This led to a tour of Botanic Gardens in the UK and abroad. Here nature and culture meet in poems looking at flowers cultivated and wild, trees in the garden and the rainforest, plants and creatures that live alongside them under the microscope of memory and imagination.

Reading the Flowers is a book to read and reread. By sticking to her subject — not just the flowers of the title but also trees and grass, insects and birds, and humans who interact with them — Linda France has created a collection of poems as various, as extraordinary and as marvellous as the creations of nature it celebrates. It is a work of scholarship, imagination and precise observation: learned, sexy, witty, personal and moving. The poems are as perfect as poems can be: their language rich and seductive and exquisitely judged. They sing in the way poems should.

Vicki Feaver

978-1910345-49-8 pbk
978-1910345-50-4 hbk
978-1910345-51-1 ebk
Published 2016

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