Rating: ★★★ (3 stars)
Title: Fluent in Rivers
Poet: Kathleen Brewin Lewis
Where to buy: Amazon
Summary: “In this lyrical chapbook of poetry, Kathleen Brewin Lewis writes of a hunger to know and connect with the natural environment…” (Source: Goodreads)
Content Warnings: vivid description of plant dissection, mention of starvation, sex, taxidermy, bleeding, implied death, Civil War, cancer.
I wasn’t affected by this collection in the slightest, however, I can see how other people could enjoy it. Nature poetry is a tough sub-genre to master; in order for it to be authentic, I think the poet has to experience these wondrous little things in nature, and I think Lewis has. From the full Goodreads summary, the collection appears to be autobiographical, and it is evident due to the imagery and language used.
There were a few interesting lines that caught my eye:
The outside is trying to come in.
– Whereupon the Writer Thinks She is the Centre of the Universe
I actually laughed at this line as it reminded me of summer holidays and how frustrated my family would become for all the flying things to come into our holiday flat. The poem itself is in reality quite creepy as the beasties are “craving” the writer’s light.
I want to know what would find me
rattlesnake or ranger
heatstroke or angel,
fiend or god.
– On the Brink
This is the final stanza of the poem and is the most interesting. The poem alludes to the biblical story where Jesus spent forty days and nights in the desert and the poem’s epigraph refers to a place called “Island in the Sky” in Canyonlands National Park. After a quick Google search, I can see why the speaker refers to such a place – it is desolation personified. The poem itself is vague and ambiguous; it has left me wondering!
Why did I read it?
I loved the lyrical tone of the title!
Does the poet have other works?
Kathleen Brewin Lewis has written another poetry collection titled July’s Thick Kingdom.
Lewis’ collection is visually beautiful, but I found it difficult to connect to the poetry. If you enjoy nature poetry, then this is for you.
– Melissa Jennings
Should you have to experience something in order to write about it?
Let me know!