Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Diversifly - Poetry and Art on Britain's Urban Birds

Edited by Nadia Kingsley - Fair Acre Press

Having moved out of London to Sheppey, I recognise that my view of birds in an urban setting is different from that in the country.

In London, I got up early to go to work, walking at 5.30am to the bus-stop. Blackbirds sang each morning as I waited for the bus and helped me face the day. A robin sitting on the wall of the small garden cafe below my office cheered me up when work was getting stressful.

Out here, by the sea and on the marshes, there is a freedom and a space which I share with the birds - it is a different feeling entirely. Out here it is nature in the wild - nature in the ascendancy. In town, it was much more about moments of nature within a man-made place - with people in the ascendancy.

This is very much reflected in Diversifly. It is about birds - very much so, but the people of the urban places still dominate - less so in the art, but certainly in the poems. In the interactions between poets and birds, the 'I' - the human 'I' - still stands out. That's not a criticism (look how I described my experience of birds above) - the relationship is fascinating.

Diversifly captures this relationship between urban life and nature beautifully. Matt Merritt, in his blurb for the book (see Fair Acre website), captures its content superbly, leaving little to add. It is a wonderful book, my only regret being that it would have been even better in a larger format.

As a bonus - and it really is a bonus, if you go to www.fairacrepress.co.uk there are blogs and podcasts to complement the book.

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