Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Poet gardeners

Banners in the exhibition
celebrating the writing of 
Jamaica Kincaid

My recent escape to Utrecht followed several intense weeks. I neglected the allotment and put in my first early potatoes only hours before I left on Eurostar. Potatoes, flower seeds and bulbs were my priority. 

So when Giya and I were looking for things to do it was obvious I'd want to see the exhibition at the Centraal Museum, The Botanical Revolution, On the Necessity of Art and Gardening. And when we wandered around, how delighted I was to see a tribute to Jamaica Kincaid

In my own way, over the two or more years I've been finalising On Poetry for The Poetry Business, I've also attempted to prove the links between writing and gardening. 

Kincaid's been quoted as saying, "Gardening is like writing, I suppose; you don't really know what you are doing, but you don't really want to know."

In the week I was away and before I left, friends were telling me how their pre-ordered copies of On Poetry had arrived. I only saw mine last night when I got back. It was bigger than I expected, but it's two books in one. The poet gardeners inside include Olive Senior, Janet Sutherland, Sarah Maguire and Wang Xiaoni, but of course there are many, many more. 

And where better to daydream about gardening than in The Netherlands, whose old masters knew a thing or two about plants and pollinators. 

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