Saturday, 16 July 2011

Herbarium

Herbarium is an anthology of poems, edited by James Wilkes, celebrating and exploring the contemporary resonances of medicinal plants and herbs. It features contributions from over 50 poets and is published in celebration of the Urban Physic Garden, a pop-up community-built garden of medicinal plants installed in Southwark this summer by Wayward Plants - a collective of architects, designers, artists and urban growers - with the aim of blooming a slice of neglected London land for a short period. The garden is open to visitors Tuesdays to Sundays from 11am to 6pm, until 15 August 2011.

For the anthology, each species in the garden was selected by a participating poet, who then produced a poem around it. My contribution ('Sincerely') relates to the herb gravelroot. Gravelroot is a "white- and purple-flowered plant up to 3m/10ft; North American Indian red dye plant" (The Complete Book of Herbs, Clevely and Richmond, Lorenz Books, 1994). Its roots and seedheads are used to treat rheumatism, backache and urinary disorders - but of interest to me in writing this poem is its employment as a talisman (in voodoo, magic and witchcraft) for gaining success in job hunting and interviews, and for the improvement of career prospects in general.

A reading of the poems from the anthology - and the launch of the print edition (with accompanying CD) published by Capsule Press - will take place on Friday 22 July at 7pm at the Urban Physic Garden site on 100 Union Street, London SE1 0NL. Unfortunately I can't be there, but S J Fowler has kindly agreed to read my contribution.

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