Book Reviews

Fluent in Rivers by Kathleen Brewin Lewis

What Da Cover Says: In this lyrical chapbook of poetry, Kathleen Brewin Lewis writes of a hunger to know and connect with the natural environment, to “crack the botanic bones of this evergreen world, pry ripe marrow.” Her subject matter includes moths, hawks, herons, sumac, daylilies, brown trout and brown pelicans, blue crabs, coyotes, camellias, sunrises and sunsets. Whether writing about growing up in coastal Georgia or fly-fishing in Utah, shucking corn or pruning trees, Lewis is mindful of the beauty around her and feels the pull and tug of the tide of memory. Fluent in Rivers is rich in language and longing.

What I Says: Lewis has an eye for spotting beauty in nature and then putting those sights into words that help the reader see that beauty too. Sometimes all it takes is one line and you can almost see the Heron leaping out of the pages into flight. There are poems about her life, learning to fly-fish, getting a bite and having a moment with the fish before releasing it back into the river.

Most of these poems have some connection to a river or it’s surrounding area, my favourite in the collection is probably the only where you don’t get a sense of the river, it is the most heart-breaking in the collection, Landscape with River Birch, anybody who has seen a tree being brutally cut at the wrong time of the year or just cut badly will feel where Lewis is with this one, the last line is stunning and the tree still feeling magnificent even though it is hurting.

Any fans of nature writing should check this book out, a fine collection leaving you wanting more.


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