What the River Knows: Conversations with the Natural World

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The many and varied wonders of nature have long been fodder for poets. Think of Walt Whitman, Joyce Kilmer, Emily Dickinson, and many more. This collection of poems by Andrea Freeman—a naturalist, writer, artist, and more—will comfortably find a place among other nature poets and their works. Freeman examines a wide range of fauna—foxes, dragonflies, California condors, rainbow trout, coyotes, and others—and flora—jasmine, oak leaves, storksbill geraniums—as well as rocks, water, and beyond into the firmament. Her love of all things found in the natural world is apparent in every line, every careful word choice, and every image in her lyrical, mostly unrhymed work. Her personal observations inform every poem, as seen in these lines from “The Fox Meadow”:
“They walk as softly as shadows
crossing a meadow, foxes do —
their ears perked, listening.”
The skill with which Freeman takes her readers along on her forays into the wilderness is really astounding. Her descriptions are rich and personal and paint such pictures, as in these lines in “Reflections on a Rainy Day”:
“The curling mustache of mosses and ferns
unfurled into a festoon of freshly moistened smiles.”

Certainly Freeman’s attributes as artist, writer, and naturalist can be seen all over this collection, and her attributes as a self-described mystic show up often as well with lines such as, “Blow the wind of your soul’s knowing into place” from the poem “Tongues of Fire.”

Poet Freeman has written a highly personal collection and readers will feel they come to know her and what is important to her as well as how she approaches the wonders and magic found in the natural world. At the same time, it is completely accessible and open enough that a reader can bring his or her own experience to the collection and find ways to relate those experiences to many of these verses. This is a lovely work that deserves a wide readership.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 110 pages
Publisher Halcyon Wind Press
Publish Date 2016-06-28
ISBN 9780989089715
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue October 2016
Category Poetry & Short Stories


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