2.18.2009

Rebecca Hey, The Morals of Flowers

this book is on the public domain, and available in its entirety via google books, but I have been unsuccssful thus far in getting a text file out of it -- the text

a moraliser, Hey researched the meanings of the flowers, and then wrote the poem; unusually, the flower illustrator is a man (William Clark)

she went on to do a similar book about trees

in a related search, there's a new crtical work out about botony, flowers, nd women's writing that the lapl doesn't have. by samantha george.

anyway, a remarkable assortment of beyond commonplace book to anthology selection of quotes from (mostly british) poets, sources, other research, musing on eymologies, and verse on flowers or assortments -- while ostensibly versified in order to accompany a female friend's drawings, finally, drawings commissioned

i.e. a coffee table book (actually, more a pretty home library collection book; the coffee table having replaced a room or set of shelves and tables for display of aesthetic and knowledge objects)

the poems themselves then have many of the qualities of the riddle poem and "sourced" poem -- not a modern collage or finding, but very much more than an inspiration or relationship, or creative trigger -- while quotes and phrases are not embedded, words and ideas which tie directly to the epigraphs and preceding-text-as-epigraph are

in this sense, I think the work has a great similarity -- not formally, for this is rhyming verse -- to poems as varied as Elena Byrne's MASQUES and some of the very indebted to fairy tale poems -- Jenn McCreary recently

and again some of my "riddle girl" poems which are colors, materials, patterns (and more than a few flowers -- and I think the bird poems -- in VAUXHALL -- are more polyvalent in their effects

has a great similarity in decorum, strategy, relationship to source

as such, it also relates to Carolyn Wells' nonsense verse

and none of this comment adequately deals with the later section of the book, which deal with tropical plants which have come to represent parts of the new testament, rather than mostly northern european flowers / british poets --> Hey's vision of christian morality -- the pssion flower and palm tree sections promise to be stranger

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