Publication Date: 18/05/2023 ISBN: 9780241556832 Category:

Twelve Words for Moss

Elizabeth-Jane Burnett

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication Date: 18/05/2023 ISBN: 9780241556832 Category:
Paperback / Softback


Out of stock




‘Exquisite, luminous and quietly radical . . . I loved it’ Lucy Jones

‘A fascinating, subtle and risk-taking book’ Robert Macfarlane

Glowflake, Rocket, Small Skies, Kind Spears, Marilyn . . . Moss is known as the living carpet but if you look really closely, it contains its own irrepressible light.

In Twelve Words for Moss, Elizabeth-Jane Burnett celebrates the unsung hero of the plant world with a unique blend of poetry, nature writing and memoir.

Making her way through wetlands from Somerset to County Tyrone, Burnett discovers the hidden vibrancy and luminous beauty of these overlooked places. She also takes strength from them as she recovers from her grief at her father’s death. As she meditates on and renames her favourite species of moss, she finds a healing power in language, and draws inspiration from the resilience and tenacity of her plant – and human – friends.

‘Burnett stretches the limits of prose, infusing it with poetic intensity to create a powerful, original voice’ Guardian

Publisher Review

Twelve Words for Moss is a fascinating, subtle and risk-taking book; its remarkable opening pages in particular dis-orient and re-orient the reader, readying us for the forms of attention-giving to the overlooked and undersung world of mosses which the rest of the book beautifully practices. Poetry, descriptive-evocative prose, memory, memoir, natural history and more all drift and mingle in strikingly new ways in Burnett's book, down at the "boundary layer" where this ancient, modest life flourishes so generatively -- Robert Macfarlane Exquisite, luminous and quietly radical ... so electric and so alive. It makes the world more beautiful and dimensional and vibrant - or moreso, it shows the world as it is to our moss-blind, weary eyes with a prose style that is utterly unique and refreshing ... I loved it -- Lucy Jones Praise for The Grassling * : * 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 . . . Her prose is both sinuous and knotty, stretching language to capture what is often beyond words, while slowing down the process of reading, allowing us to savour them -- PD Smith * Guardian * Exquisite . . . needs to be savoured slowly, and then read again. Burnett is breaking new ground as a mixed-heritage English/Kenyan woman connecting so deeply to the historic land of her father's family in the West Country -- Bernardine Evaristo With a blend of poetry, memoir and a uniquely experimental, sensory style of nature writing, The Grassling celebrates the lusciousness of both land and language ... Ideas that might in a lesser writer have seemed whimsical are grounded by the rich layers of Burnett's prose -- Clare Saxby * TLS *

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