Ditch Vision: a book of essays on poetry, nature, and place that extends Jeremy Hooker’s thinking on subjects that, as a distinguished critic and poet, he has made his life’s work.

From Anthony Nanson; Awen Press

This recently published book from my press, Awen, may be of interest to some on the Environmental Humanities list. Jeremy Hooker was a professor at BSU for many years.

Ditch Vision is a book of essays on poetry, nature, and place that extends Jeremy Hooker’s thinking on subjects that, as a distinguished critic and poet, he has made his life’s work. The writers he considers include Edward Thomas, Robert Frost, Robinson Jeffers, Richard Jefferies, John Cowper Powys, Mary Butts, and Frances Bellerby. Through sensitive readings of these and other writers, he discusses differences between British and American writers concerned with nature and spirit of place. The book also includes essays in which he reflects upon the making of his own work as a lyric poet. Written throughout with a poet’s feeling for language, Ditch Vision is the work of an exploratory writer who seeks to understand the writings he discusses in depth, and to illuminate them for other readers. Hooker explores the ‘ground’ of poetic vision with reference to its historical and mythological contexts, and in this connection Ditch Vision constitutes also a spiritual quest.

‘For thirty years and more I have admired Jeremy Hooker’s poetry, criticism, and journals. These essays touch both upon some of his familiar and deeply loved subjects, and on concerns that are more recent. His prose is clear and resonant, a pleasure in itself. His views are always challenging. He is, and has been for many years, a necessary voice.’

John Matthias

‘Lovely intense encounters with landscape come into these essays. Suddenly, in a discussion of poetry, there is the presence of warm earth on a Spring day in chalk country, or sunlight coming through trees, or drying shingle when the tide has just withdrawn. Throughout Hooker’s writing about poetry, place and environmental concern, there is this direct and frank openness to particular moments of experience, and the power they have to keep people constantly changing. Hooker searches for an environmentalism rooted in these moments of intense and poetic yet everyday experience, but also alert to global perspectives and to history. In this search, he reads other poets, including several who have been unjustly neglected, and tells the story of how place and memory influenced his own development as a poet. To all of this he brings the skills that his poetry, his childhood and his places have given him – his love of imagery, speech-rhythm, conversation and colour.’

Richard Kerridge

Jeremy Hooker grew up in Warsash near Southampton and at Pennington, on the edge of the New Forest, and the landscapes of this region have remained an important source of inspiration. Many of his poems were written in Wales, where he has lived for long periods. His academic career has taken him to universities in England, the Netherlands, and the USA. He is now Emeritus Professor of the University of South Wales. As well as for the eleven collections of poetry represented in The Cut of the Light (Enitharmon, 2006), Jeremy is well known as a critic and has published selections of writings by Edward Thomas and Richard Jefferies, and studies of David Jones and John Cowper Powys, all of them important to his own creative life. Other critical works include Writers in a Landscape (University of Wales Press, 1996) and Imagining Wales (University of Wales Press, 2001); his features for BBC Radio 3 include A Map of David Jones. Jeremy’s most recent books are Diary of a Stroke (Shearsman, 2016) and two new collections of poems, Scattered Light (Enitharmon, 2015) and Ancestral Lines (Shearsman, 2016). He is a Fellow of the Welsh Academy and a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.

Anthony Nanson
MA (Cantab + BSU), PGCE, PGDip, FHEA
+44 (0)1453 840887

‘Deep Time took me on an incredible journey through the heart and soul of time, of nature and of the human being. I’m certain I will not read a more powerful book this year’ – http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Time-Novel-Anthony-Nanson/product-reviews/1907359591

AWEN WEBSITE: www.awenpublications.co.uk
New: Pilgrimage: A Journey to Love Island by Jay Ramsay: https://www.awenpublications.co.uk/product-page/pilgrimage-a-journey-to-love-island
New: Mysteries by Chrissy Derbyshire: https://www.awenpublications.co.uk/product-page/mysteries

Anthony Nanson’s Deep Time blog: https://nansondeeptime.wordpress.com/
Awen Publications blog: https://awenpublications.wordpress.com/

Author: Owain Jones

I work at Bath Spa University as a Professor of Environmental Humanities, and I am Director of the University's Environmental Humanities Research Centre

One thought on “Ditch Vision: a book of essays on poetry, nature, and place that extends Jeremy Hooker’s thinking on subjects that, as a distinguished critic and poet, he has made his life’s work.”

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