Tag Archive for: beauty

Everybody Needs Beauty book cover

 

Everybody is talking about the healing properties of nature. Hospitals are being retrofitted with gardens, and forests reimagined as wellbeing centres. On the Shetland Islands, it is possible to walk into a doctor’s surgery with anxiety or depression, and walk out with a prescription for nature.

Where has this come from, and what does ‘going to nature’ mean? Where is it – at the end of a garden, beyond the tarmac fringes of a city, at the summit of a mountain? Drawing on history, science, literature and art, Samantha Walton shows that the nature cure has deep roots – but, as we face an unprecedented crisis of mental health, social injustice and environmental devastation, the search for it is more urgent now than ever.

Everybody Needs Beauty engages seriously with the connection between nature and health, while scrutinising the harmful trends of a wellness industry that seeks to exploit our relationship with the natural world. In doing so, this book explores how the nature cure might lead us towards a more just and radical way of life: a real means of recovery, for people, society and nature.



‘There’s a deep personal feeling found in Forrest Gander’s desperately beautiful ‘Librettos for Eros’ [in which] feeling masters the poems, and it is feeling about self, desperate, squandered, willful, all but out of control – and ultimately uncivilised…’ ~ Thom Gunn

‘Forrest Gander knows that the poet’s first duty is “to see what’s there and not already patterned by familiarity” – and in Your Nearness he brings to that task a combination of vision, generosity of spirit and humility in the face of wonder that singles him out as one of the finest, and most vigilant, poets working in English today.’ ~ John Burnside

Source: Arc Publications

Unexhausted Time inhabits a world of dream and dawn, in which thoughts touch us ‘like soft rain’, and all the elements are brought closer in.

Feelings, messages, symbols, visions… Emily Berry’s latest collection takes shape in the half-light between the real and the imagined, where everything is lost and yet ‘nothing goes away’. Here life’s innumerable impressions, moods, seasons and déjà vus collect and disarrange themselves, while a glowing, companionable ‘I’ travels the mind’s landscapes in hope of refuge and transformation amid these displaced moments in time. Whether one reads Unexhausted Time as a long poem to step into or a series of titled and untitled fragments to pick up and cherish, the work is healing and inspiring, always asking how we might harness the power of naming without losing life’s ‘magic unknownness’. By offering these intangible encounters, Emily Berry more truly presents ‘what being alive is’.

‘Emily Berry has a refreshingly free, not to say incendiary, approach to poetry.’ ~ Observer

Much With Body is the startlingly original second collection by poet Polly Atkin. The beauty of the Lake District is both balm and mirror, refracting pain and also soothing it with distraction: unusual descriptions of frogs, birds, a great stag that ‘you will not see’. Much of the landscape is lakescape, giving the book a watery feel, the author’s wild swimming being just one kind of immersion. There is also a distinct link with the past in a central section of found poems taken from transcripts of the journals of Dorothy Wordsworth, from a period late in her life when she was often ill. In common with the works of the Wordsworths, these poems share a quality of the metaphysical sublime. Their reverence for the natural world is an uneasy awe, contingent upon knowledge of our fragility and mortality.

Ricky Ray entwines the beauty of the world and his love of life with the weight of physical pain he shoulders daily, in this stunning chapbook which urges you to find new meaning in nature’s mysterious workings: “Every time I look up/ into a canopy, I see a mind at work.”

In The Sound of the Earth Singing to Herself, Ricky Ray invokes the animalistic yet the utterly, undeniably humane. Visiting the most intimate corners of memory, this is a chapbook that promises linguistic prowess and the healing – however raw – of the ache of living. From Indiana, Florida, and Oklahoma to the inescapable moment of our own death, the moment the sun sinks below the horizon, the moment “the cancer / bloomed like an angry / flower in her liver”, Ray’s language is masterful, transfixed on elevating the mundane and exposing every private moment of our existence. ~ Kayla Jenkins, Writer

“The flames now appeared to lift from individual treetops in showers of orange sparks, exploding the way a pine log does in a campfire when it is poked. The sparks spiralled upward in swirls like funnel clouds. Twisters of brightness against grey sky.”

On the Appalachian Mountains above her home, a young mother discovers a beautiful and terrible marvel of nature: the monarch butterflies have not migrated south for the winter this year.

Is this a miraculous message from God, or a spectacular sign of climate change?

Entomology expert, Ovid Byron, certainly believes it is the latter.

He ropes in Dellarobia to help him decode the mystery of the monarch butterflies. Flight Behaviour has featured on the NY Times bestseller list and is Barbara Kingsolver’s most accessible novel yet.

 

Read our Librarian’s top climate change fiction picks by heading to our Fiction section