Well known for the fierce confessional imagery of her first three books, The Treekeeper's Tale points towards another facet of the poet's gift, an intense feeling for the natural world, allied with a personal response to historical incidents and to other lands. The title section of this four-part collection adopts the giant coast redwood trees in California as a particular talisman. Lyrical, resonant, strange and imaginative, these poems echo in the mind and leave an indelible impression of the mysterious atmosphere of the redwood forests. The second section, Afterlives, takes us on journeys to the past, as in the burial of a Siberian priestess, and on trips to other places including China, Nepal and Kazakhstan. The colourful paintings of the German expressionist Franz Marc, such as the famous red and blue horses series, provide the key to the third section, War Horse, where dramatic imagery of the horses blends and contrasts with the tragic fate of Europe during World War One. The final part, The Chrysanthemum Lantern, features sensitive translations from Chinese originals.
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