Soul External – Rediscovering The Great Blue Heron
So much expectation, yet such disappointment: Soul & External by writer Steven Semken, and illustrator Andrew Driscoll, is a strange volume, combining nature writing, ornithology, bird watching, poetry, and art. There are so many disciplines that it is hard to see who the targeted readers are. By combining all these, the book is nearly unreadable, and it’s difficult to follow what the author is trying to say. The book is filled with quotations, some short, even though they take up a full page, and some very long and mostly in a hard-to-read script. In addition, some fantasy and mysticism are added to further the readers’ confusion. The frequent change of script and fonts, and the just-as-frequent change from justified text to centered text, though meant to be artistic, simply creates another degree of confusion. Even blank pages are inserted here and there. The book is all about the great blue herons in a wetland area of Kansas, yet there is only one faint illustration in a painting to show readers just what this bird looks like. The artistic paintings have little or no connection with the text. This book failed to meet expectations.
Steven H. Semken, Andrew R. Driscoll, Illustrator
Ice Cube Press, LLC