Poetry News

Poetry, dandelion, and lady's bedstraw: check out Herbarium

By Harriet Staff

In more journal news, this is one for the herbivores. The UK's Urban Physic Garden—a collective of designers, urban growers and would-be alchemists keen to transform neglected spaces into community gardens—has published an anthology called Herbarium, edited by James Wilkes. Herbarium, they write, "is an anthology of poems written by over 50 poets celebrating and exploring the contemporary resonances of medicinal plants and herbs...." Contributors include Emily Critchley, Posie Rider, Harry Godwin, Holly Pester, Edmund Hardy, Jeff Hilson and Carol Watts, among other notables of the UK scene. The poetry is indexed by herb, so you'll find everything from coriander to foxglove to horseradish to motherwort to valerian.

The poem "Purslane," by Jeff Hilson—always one to count on—might give you an example of what they're up to.


to eat verdolaga with pork & tomatoes
only in provence farmers put pourpier in wild mesclun
o bonne femme de la rue de rivoli
we will hunt the glistrida at dusk
making sure not to tread on the almost
turkish semizotu & the suberi-hiyu of absolute japan
o bonne femme de la rue des rosiers
ma chi xian ma chi xian ma chi xian
once twice three times I tried to spell lionel
richie if you have a sec cut him into 1 inch
lucky for me he wasn’t interested in bonne femme
I joined up now truly I’m creeping into his bed
in the rue de rennes in may it’s like a cot no
pillow a bed only big enough for a head

But do visit all the contributions here, or order yourself a copy.

Originally Published: July 20th, 2011