164 pages, b/w illustrations
Otters and Martens brings together 150 poems concerning those members of the mustelid family, written by a poet who writes in the line of Basil Bunting, but whose work is not as well know as it ought to be, owing to the fact that the majority of his publications have been from small presses, where distribution has often been limited. The poems, gathered from over 40 years of activity, demonstrate a spectacularly gnarled language that owes a debt to much older forebears, to exemplars such as Bunting, and to north-country dialect. They are poems for lovers of poetry and of mustelidae alike.
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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.