Review: The IRON Book of Tree Poetry (Blog Tour)

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Title: The IRON Book of Tree Poetry
Editors: Eileen Jones, Peter Mortimer
Genre: Poetry
Price: £9.99
Publication Date: 26/03/2020

Hello everyone! Today, I have the pleasure to share my review of The IRON Book of Tree Poetry with you. My review is a part of the blog tour organised by Fly On The Wall Press!

The anthology sets its mood and theme by introducing us to a black and white photo of the Major Oak, the biggest oak tree in Britain which is located in Sherwood Forest. The tree is now supported on various crutches, the result of soil erosion due to the excess of visits over the years. The photo leads us on to a beautiful foreword by Max Adams, the foreword keeps you hooked from the first sentence to last; Adams describes the poems in the collection as a celebration of 'planters and log spitters, cycles of life and illusory death, martyrdom and wonder'. The introduction by co-editors, Eileen Jones and Peter Mortimer, is also worthy of a mention as they describe the process of compiling the poems for the collection and why it was vital to create it.

'Poetry, like any art form does and should react to the world around it.'

The anthology includes poems written by new and established poets which enables us to enjoy different perspectives and introduce us to wonderful writers. The poems are linked by a theme yet are all unique, carrying different meanings and written in different styles, the poems are able to evoke a plethora of emotions in the reader. The poems certainly make you ask yourself questions and reflect on your relationship with nature. 

Nicola Garrard's poem, 'Birch Syrup', reflects 'I wondered if the cut would ever heal. / I wondered what we can ever give without reducing another. / I wondered if you'd accept / this stolen tree sweet, this scrumped blood of the wood.' We are quick to get rid of trees and use them but why are we still not doing enough to save them?

A stand out poem for me is Sarah Mnatzaganian's melancholic, 'Father Tree', as she describes the tree trunk 'like the sinewy back of my father's hand / thrust into the earth, each finger reaching / for Palestine, seeking his mother's bones.'

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this poetry collection and I would love to go through all the poems with you but what I will do instead is encourage you to buy the book over at Iron Press so you can experience it for yourself! The collection of poems was of a different theme to what I'd normally read, however it made me reflect and evaluate how I view nature and how I can sometimes take it for granted.

I think it's only fitting that the review is concluded by a distinct statement from the anthology's introduction:

'We need to plant billions of trees in the next few decades (three billion in the UK alone, by 2050) to help combat global warming and save our planet.'

Massive thanks to IRON Press for providing me with a free copy of the book in return for my honest review, and also to Isabelle Kenyon at Fly On The Wall Press for organising the blog tour!

Make sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour on Twitter and Facebook.

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