I was delighted to receive my review copy of Birds Nobody Loves - A book of vultures and grackles by James Brush. It is a beautiful looking book with a striking black and white picture of a grackle on the front. Inside is a selection of excellent poetry about these two types of misunderstood birds along with more black and white illustrations.
The poetry is well observed, here is someone who clearly watches birds carefully and has a way with words to describe them in striking ways. The poems show the more engaging sides of the birds and also comment more directly on people's hatred of them. This latter is particularly captured in the prose poem God Hates Grackles:
They / marched up and down the street outside the capitol / chanting verses from Leviticus about unclean birds.
While in the haibun The Grackle Tree people are shooting grackles out of their tree because their droppings have landed on a car.
But many of these poems are full of the wonder of the birds:
Overhead turkey vultures soar
on steady outstretched wings
folding sky and letting it move
around and over them
from Summer Solstice
This poem captures the wonder of vultires in flight, while the character of the grackle is beautifully rendered in Grackle Ghazal:
I hang for hours on back porches, strumming
old guitars, swapping lies with folksy grackles.
There's also the understanding that vultures have an important role to play in ecology:
Now I understand
vultures too, are beautiful:
they clean our messes.
from Patton's Army
and in Lines Discovered in an Aging Ornithologist's Field Journal, the narrator asks, when he dies, to be left by the highway for the vultures to find him so that he could:
finally fly on dusky wings
buried in the sky.
By the end of this book, I'm sure that grackles and vultures will no longer be birds nobody loves, but birds that fascinate and intrigue!
James Brush blogs at Coyote Mercury, where you can find out how to order a copy of Birds Nobody Loves.
I'm delighted that two of the poems in this book, Good Authority and My Tourist Yard appeared first on Bolts of Silk, you can read them here.
Reviewed for Brighton Blogger's 2012 Reading Challenge.
As ever, text in red contains hyperlinks that take you to other websites where you can find out more.