Thursday, 28 August 2008

Review: from the field book by Carol Thistlethwaite

I never knew how little I know about birds till I read this book of poems. The poetry dances with movement, the movements of birds, light, airy, full of flights and dips, insights like flashes of wings and tail feathers. There are a few humans mixed in, but not enough to spoil this wonderful play of wildness and nature. Dip into it, drown in it, fly with it, 'from the field book' is a delight of avian (and alien) culture.
Carol Fenlon

It's full of sharp imagery and observation and a treat whether you are an ornithologist or a poet.
Graham Rippon

These poems are skilfully crafted and immensely satisfying to read and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.
Dee McMahon

Walk through these poems and you will find yourself on shores, in woodland and marshes, amongst mudflats, rocks and creeks. These places are evoked with as sure a touch as the vital and often ebullient descriptions of the birds, who are the heroes and heroines of this collection.

Carol, a long time member of the RSPB, knows and loves the Avian world in a way many of us could not begin to understand, but through her eyes we gain a deeper awareness of the morals and mores of the feathered community. We are lulled as we listen…
…to each tern gently rustle down,
on the islet of sleep, where plover already rest
with feather over beak,
then startled awake by redshank…
Quick stepper of the mud,
run, run, stab,
run, run, stab,
to life's rapid beat,
We are taken on a journey of discovery to a greater knowledge of birds, we grasp their essence, their infinite variations, their ways of moving and flying, there is an intensity and urgency in many of the lines that is almost painful, as in 'Kestrel,'…
Hunger hunting
eyes cut the marsh,
focussed like a scimitar,
razored as the air.
I think these poems will inspire any reader to look more closely at what is happening on our shores, in the countryside, in our gardens, all around us, by the way these delicate, often elegant, and sometimes aggressive creatures, come to life on the pages.
Kate Edwards

Carol Thistlethwaite's love of ornithology inspired this collection. Her acute observation and knowledge honed and shaped the contents to make each poem as individual as each bird.
Les Merton

From the beginning, these poems get to the essence of human perception, but which enter - as much as is humanly possible - the consciousness of birds which are their focus. The delicacy of line and line-break enacts this, though sometimes it's the work of diction. Intense observation precedes translation into the most memorable of literary language.
Robert Sheppard


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