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Dinah Livingstone Essay

 

Dinah Livingstone
The Poetry of Earth

Essay. 2000. 192 pages.
ISBN 0904872 34 3. £8.95.
Cover illustration by Anne Mieke Lumsden.

'The poetry of Earth is never dead,' Keats wrote in his sonnet On the Grasshopper and the Cricket. What is this poetry? It is the abundance, diversity and particularity, which this book explores, not only in the natural world but in human cultures, religions, languages, and of course, poetry -- in the usual sense -- written in these many languages. Those three essential qualities pervade all of Earth's seemingly inexhaustible treasury, which can no longer be taken for granted, since so much of it is being over-exploited, recklessly damaged or even destroyed forever. Poetry, phonetics, theology, ecology and politics are treated as distinct but not separate and the book makes some connections. In considering a wide range of poems, it reflects on themes such as poetry and presence; 'the deep power of joy'; self which 'flashes off frame and face'; mortal beauty which, Hopkins said, keeps warm our wits to the things that are; and imagination, which Mary Wollstonecraft called 'the true fire stolen from heaven'.

Dinah Livingstone lives in London, where more than 300 languages are now spoken. She also loves the country, especially Suffolk and Exmoor. Her substantial list of publications contains both poetry and prose, which she has written, edited or translated. The Poetry of Earth is not a specialist work but a common essay, a down-to-Earth (that is, a 'katabasic') poetic.

'An impressive and meticulously researched book, which will appeal to any writer who is interested not only in the natural world but also in human culture, religion and language... Dinah Livingstone is a generous writer whose passion for her subject shines through her text.' - Frogmore Papers

'Refreshing to see some home truths written without pussyfooting or punch-pulling' - Envoi

'The book as a whole is a courageous undertaking. Above all it is inspiring, and lifts the reader far above the weary trivialities of much contemporary literary discussion.' - Pennine Platform

'Although she makes use of her own experience as examples, Dinah Livingstone's essays are the polar opposite of self-absorbed... Referring to the literature of current struggles around the globe -- often not against oppression but obliteration -- this concoction succeeds in creating overall a feel for our perilous present.' - PQR

'A meandering journey through the author's sharp mind' - Camden New Journal

'In many ways an entrancing book with a big heart' - sof


Click here for chapter-by chapter summary of The Poetry of Earth.


Click on book for more details.

Click here for online review in Stride Magazine.

Click here for brief review on the Jubilee Group website.

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Home |
Alphabetical Stocklist |
Index of Authors |
Order Form |
Dinah's page |
Dinah Livingstone New Poetry: Kindness |
Dinah Livingstone Poetry: Presence |
More Dinah Livingstone poetry |
Dinah Livingstone new prose book Poetic Tales