Concerning ‘Excerpts from a Natural History’ by Holly Painter (A Book Review).

This slim white book, Excerpts from a Natural History,

contains 2 introductions and 53 poems,

on 80gsm acid-free paper,

hand bound by Atuanui Press, Mangatangi, New Zealand

and published by Titus Books in 2015.

 

Along with page 9’s sub-title, the intoductions make clear

that the collection contained within the book’s 67 pages

are the field notes submitted by a poet-researcher

working for the Natural History project,

now in its 392nd year.

 

The project’s aim is to record all that is true –

“a series of taxonomies… structures, operations,

functions, situations, relationships of every occurence” –

with the goal of one day being able to, given all the facts, properly

speculate and hypothesise (as philosophers tend to do).

 

Life leaning towards the mostly mundane, the poem topics

include titles such as “Concerning Buttons for Sale

at the Ryde Hospice Shop on the Isle of Wight”.

But the poet’s creative flare cannot help but burst through,

much to the annoyance of their supervisor, comparatively nonpoetic.

 

First-name and gender undisclosed, the poet and supervisors’

changing relationship is made evident by the supervisor’s notes

at the side of every poem save only two:

“Concerning the Bridport Railway Stations (disused)”, and

“Concerning Los Angeles: Rush Hour on the 405.”

 

As their relationship progresses, the poet cannot help but show

their feelings inappropriately, expressed as flowing words

unfitting for the project (after all, they are a poet).

The word “history” refers to a record or narrative of past events,

thereby also implying that something that once was, is now over.

 

Speaking entirely subjectively, and thus describing a relation

between myself and this book, of which the cover image

exhibits two types of basil and the African marigold:

I much enjoyed reading it, as I have enjoyed all the poems

written by the author, the one (but not only) Holly Painter.

 

P1100282

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Book reviews

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s