211 pages, no illustrations
Hen Harrier Poems is Colin Simms' fifth collection with Shearsman, and his third devoted to poems on a specific species, following Otters and Martens (2004) and Gyrfalcon Poems (2007). Future plans include volume devoted to poems on merlins and on goshawks. Simms is a naturalist who has observed the harrier and its North American cousin, the marsh hawk, for decades; his poems fuse a rich Bunting-esque diction and sonority with a focused eye and imagination.
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Colin Simms – poet, naturalist, and lifelong independent observer – was born in 1939, and lives as an author and freelance naturalist in the North of England, with journeys throughout the northern hemisphere, wherever his objectives live-his homes have been where the martens, otters, birds of prey and other enthusiasms are. He is not an orthodox conservationist, but insists on the privacy, 'isness', for wildlife which modern trends deny. He also demonstrates the poet-naturalist's concern for precise observation, apposite language and cadence. This concern for sound, including northern dialects, mark him a true heir of his long-term mentor, Basil Bunting, a fellow-Northerner.He has published thousands of natural-history letters, articles, reports, scientific notes and papers, broadcasts and (above all) poems, and his scientific work has an international reputation. He has given hundreds of readings, and produced several paintings and prints of mustelids and other predators since 1953, which have been exhibited and are available in very limited editions. He has also made a number of photographic studies of these same subjects. Most of his 1200-plus published poems have been in small-press publications, and his Shearsman volumes are the largest-scale publications of his work to have seen the light of day. In each case they collect related poems and present them as small Collected editions.