Herbaceous is gardening with words. It is a book of audacious botany and poetic vision which asks us to look anew at our relationship with plants and celebrates their power to nourish the human spirit.
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PAUL EVANS spent many years as a gardener working in rose nurseries, graveyards, historic gardens in Wales and a botanical garden in New York. He is a writer, broadcaster and award-winning playwright, best known for his 'Country Diary' in The Guardian and various natural history programmes and drama-documentaries for BBC Radio 4. Paul has also been a performance poet, a nature conservationist, holds a PhD in philosophy, and is currently a lecturer at Bath Spa University. He lives in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, with his family.Review:
"well-tuned prose poems charting the seasonal cycle of herbaceous plants" NEW STATESMAN "the John Clare of his generation, feet not just on the ground, but deep in the ditch. " JOHN VIDAL, --The Guardian
A one-time gardener in Wales and New York, Evans narrates the natural history of the UK through an exploration of flowers, herbs, and weeds. This volume tells the story of each plant within the seasonal context, beginning with the springtime yellow of celandine, trout lily, and cowslip, and ending with winter brown lady's bedstraw, hogweed, knapweed, and devils-bit scabious. Considering each plant in turn, Evans writes prose poems thick with metaphor, myth, and sensory detail. He weaves bits of cultural memory into the poetry references to Robert Frost, medieval medicine, and Aztec gods abound and strikes a bittersweet tone throughout, showing how climate change, imperialism, and industrialization have encroached on the plants' story. Ultimately, the book implicates humanity in disrupting the natural world, a place that we rely on for narrative and cultural memory. VERDICT Recommended for readers of poetry and natural history, this ode to plants is at once beautiful and nostalgic. --Library Journal
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