The Shell Gatherer

'The Shell Gatherer': cover Anthony Watts (2011)

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I’ve just read The Shell Gatherer. In it you stitch together a tapestry of sights, sounds and smells that, by its very being, celebrates the world of sensation and feeling in which the human participates. Most of the book involves an engagement with the natural world–flowers, grasses, berries, birds, slugs, badgers, wasps, stones, sunlight, the sky–that is at once vital and aware of transience and decay. The poems are full of light, deft touches, language that is fresh and accurate, words loved for their sounds and associations: “poppycloud,” “windlestraw,” “crackmouth,” “bullocks”. There is a quietness and humility to the verses that draws the reader in, a precision that goes far toward deepening the reader’s engagement with life. It is a truly fine work.

Marc Hofstadter, American poet.