The Grassling

The Grassling[Reading] ➼ The Grassling Author Elizabeth-Jane Burnett – 'A subtle moving celebration of place and connectedness The Grassling brings the sounds smells and sights of the countryside alive like few other books Burnett stretches the limits of prose infusing i 'A subtle moving celebration of place and connectedness The Grassling brings the sounds smells and sights of the countryside alive like few other books Burnett stretches the limits of prose infusing it with poetic intensity to create a powerful original voice' PD Smith Guardian What fills my lungs is wider than breath could be It is a place and a language torn matted and melded; flowered and chiming with bones That breath is that place and until I get there I will not really be breathing Spurred on by her father's declining health and inspired by the history he once wrote of his small Devon village Elizabeth Jane Burnett delves through layers of memory language and natural history to tell a powerful story of how the land shapes us and speaks to us The Grassling is a book about roots what it means to belong when the soil beneath our feet is constantly shifting when the people and places that nurtured us are slipping away.


The Grassling PDF ´ Hardcover
  • Hardcover
  • 256 pages
  • The Grassling
  • Elizabeth-Jane Burnett
  • 06 February 2016
  • 9780241374122

10 thoughts on “The Grassling

  1. says:

    This is such a uniue book a blend of nature writing memoir and poetry There were a lot of descriptive passages that I enjoyed as well as very astute and arresting observations about land and belonging However this is very much a prose book written by a poet and at times it just felt too dreamy for me personally I would read whole chapters and whilst enjoying the feel and rhythm of the words could not tell you anything of what the chapter was about This detracted from the enjoyment for me but might be just the thing that another reader would absolutely love about the book

  2. says:

    I read the first 55 pages This is a nature memoir of sorts built out of short essays whose titles run from A to Z Burnett teaches in Birmingham but her roots are in Ide Devon where her 80 year old father is in hospital at the time of the book’s writing and in Kenya She has previously published poetry and is going for extreme lyricism in the prose here which at times makes it feel overwritten especially in the prologue There are some really pretentious passages like a “found poem” listing all the yellow things she passed on a journey Some of the descriptions and meditations on ancestry are lovely but I found I was itching to move on to other thingsA representative passage “In the evening I gather lupins in the spilling sun A deer flanks through the apple trees Its golden brass flares a turn as eye to eye we dance In the slow half turn of a drowsy pirouette instinct tells her to go; appled air ripens pulling her back”

  3. says:

    Such a pleasure to read This refreshing reflection was just the medicine I needed to start this new year I want to hold onto this book forever

  4. says:

    A poetic memoir that traverses the landscape of grief and home with an eye for the minute detail of the connections between people and places

  5. says:

    A favorite excerpt “Lightness is both a color and a weight The soil needs its own dictionary”

  6. says:

    ‘This freedom is a feeling that I will try to carry with me wherever I go' 'In the times that lie ahead as territories narrow and common borders close I will think of this forest The clumps of moss the cool of water the hills that hold To remember this whenever I land against something telling me I shouldn’t be there’The Grassling is a beautiful book It is memoir poetry and nature writing at its best Burnett’s prose blends these genres and stretches across body time and place As she walks across the fields that belong to her family and brings her dying father handfuls of its grass and flowers you feel you are there too She describes the sound of bird song the shape of the plants and the taste of the soil in such a multi sensory way The Grassling is also a deeply personal exploration of localness and identity within nature writing and eco poetry as Burnett reflects on her British Kenyan heritage There were so many parts I underlined She imagines a ‘dirt speckled alphabet lifted out of the earth like a row of beans’ and looks back to ‘a time when this field was a sea and we had yet to come’ As Burnett writes ‘reading could be a many layered thing a digging thing a harvest’ 45 stars

  7. says:

    Where is the Society of Soil Mourning and Metamorphosis I wonder where people who wander around fields slowly turning into something they don't recognize gather for lunch and read transcriptions of soil song?I'm not used to reading a lot of poetry so this was uite a departure from what I'm used to with nature memoir and tbh some of it probably went over my unlearned head That said I love soil than most people can comprehend so this immersive and often bizarre homage to rubbing your face in the grass sits well with me

  8. says:

    I really wanted to like The Grassling the words and imagery are just stunning and I found it very inspirational in certain ways but in the end it was tough going and was far too abstract and tedious for me I couldn't get behind any of the chapters when she is The Grassling and ended up trying hard to grasp at any tangible story This is really pure and beautiful nature writing but in saying this I feel that it is not really for everyone as much as I enjoyed the parts involving the author and her father

  9. says:

    A poet roaming the Devon lands of her dying father and of his forefathers the author likes hiding in hedgerows and swimming through soil She writes beautifully about soil ground loam rotifers Words beautiful nature words including Olde English A bit bonkers sometimes but calming to read

  10. says:

    A totally original book is a rare treasure and this is full of love empathy and understanding with daringly poetic prose that evokes all the sensual beauty of the natural world I sometimes had to read it aloud to savour the language and as someone who loved my dad very deeply I connected emotionally with the narrator's relationship with a dying father Gorgeousness on every page

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