Some Thanks and Endorsements for Haggards
A book doesn’t come into being without the help of a great many people, and this was more than usually the case this time. I’ve had help with my research into herbs from all kinds of people, including the musician Kate Young (see here for my post about her herb-based compositions Umbelliferae,) the story-teller Patsy Dyer, who designed the herb garden at Kilmartin, Oregon herbalist Heather Níc An Fhleisdeir, environmental activist Ginny Batson, and members of the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics.
There were people who supported and encouraged me to write – friends from the Burgh Poets and Forth Valley Writers, and in particular, Laura Fyfe who beta-read The Wren in the Ash Tree for me, and Em Strang who encouraged me to send a bit of it to Dark Mountain 9.
But special thanks must go to the two poets who gave me endorsements for the cover. Roselle Angwin, poet and teacher of creative and reflective writing wrote this:
‘The things which you learn with your hands, / your tongue, your ears, the glimpses / at the edge of vision, are not the things /we want you to write down,’ says Elizabeth Rimmer, who makes her fine writing specifically through these things.
Her poetry is deceptive: its delicate observations of the world around her conceal a sharpness of perception that resides in her poet’s eye and imagination, and in her accurate intuitions of what will most add implicit depth to a poem. I’m struck by the collusion of subtlety and surprise in so many of the poems, and also by Rimmer’s fine use of metaphor and diction.
She has an unerring sense of when best to introduce a line break, and of the power of a simple but unusual word-choice.
I wouldn’t want to choose my favourites, but I have to say that some of the poems about plants (the ‘haggards’) and trees seem particularly alive to me.
This is a collection I feel privileged to have had a pre-publication view of; already it’s taken up residence at the edge of my own vision.
and Susan Richardson, poetry editor of Zoomorphic wrote:
The breadth of both the physical and emotional landscape of Haggards is breathtaking. Whether crafting an intimate, pithy poem about a pebble or tackling an ambitious sequence on social and ecological collapse, Elizabeth Rimmer writes in language that’s all at once sensuous, precise and elegant. Themes of resistance, resilience and regeneration in the human and more-than-human worlds are explored throughout the collection, gaining urgency and momentum in ‘The Wren in the Ash Tree’, the stirring final section. There’s no shying away from the anguish of grief and loss, yet Haggards remains an uplifting read, one that celebrates the capacity of woman, bird, seed and herb to survive and thrive ‘in the wild and unregarded places in between’.
– Susan Richardson
Sometimes it feels like a privilege to have your work read at all, but to read a response from someone who really gets what you were trying for, is a gift beyond price.
Thank you, everyone – when you see the book in a bit less than a fortnight, I hope you will enjoy seeing what you helped me do.