The Herb Garden
By David Solway
Bartholomew the Englishman was a 13th century Franciscan friar and scholar whose only surviving work, De proprietatibus rerum (The Properties of Things), was intended as an encyclopaedia of the world. The Herb Garden is an imaginary representation of what his herbarium might ... Read more
Bartholomew the Englishman was a 13th century Franciscan friar and scholar whose only surviving work, De proprietatibus rerum (The Properties of Things), was intended as an encyclopaedia of the world. The Herb Garden is an imaginary representation of what his herbarium might have looked like. The dialect of the collection is a mix of middle and modern English, a verbal florilegium meant to explore the exuberant richness of the English language that much of contemporary poetry has scanted or forgotten. The collection is also conceived as a kind of “sapiential book,” a form of counsel literature or life manual with an emphasis on everyday practice and the poet's craft.
David Solway is the author of many books of poetry including Modern Marriage, which received the QSPELL Prize for Poetry; Franklin's Passage, winner of Le Grand Prix du Livre de Montréal and Reaching for Clear, awarded the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry. Among his prose publications, Education Lost won the QSPELL Prize for Nonfiction and Random Walks was a finalist for Le Grand Prix du Livre de Montréal. A French translation of his writings on education, Le bon prof, was awarded Le Prix Spirale. He has also published several volumes on political subjects, of which The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and Identity was a Canadian best-seller.
Solway is simply one of the best things to ever happen to English-Canadian poetry.
— Carmine Starnino
An engaging writer with a distinctive style and a gift for pithy, arresting, and memorable turns of phrase.
— Iain Higgins, University of British Columbia
Solway writes with a Gravesian dash and brio, taking (and giving) pleasure in a fine vocabulary, a gift for surprising figures, and a striking breadth of reference.
— Richard Wilbur