Leaning toward Light

Poems for Gardens & the Hands That Tend Them

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Pub Date 29 Aug 2023 | Archive Date 29 Aug 2023
Storey Publishing, Storey Publishing, LLC

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Much like reading a good poem, caring for plants brings comfort, solace, and joy to many. In this new poetry anthology, Leaning toward Light, acclaimed poet and avid gardener Tess Taylor brings together a diverse range of contemporary voices to offer poems that celebrate that joyful connection to the natural world. Several of the most well-known contemporary writers, as well as some of poetry’s exciting rising stars, contribute to this collection including Ross Gay, Jericho Brown, Mark Doty, Jane Hirshfield, Ada Limón, Danusha Laméris, Naomi Shihab Nye, Garrett Hongo, Ellen Bass, and James Crews. A foreword by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, reflective pauses and personal recipes from some of the contributing poets, along with original, whimsical illustrations by Melissa Castrillon, and a ribbon bookmark complete this stunning, hardcover gift format. 

Much like reading a good poem, caring for plants brings comfort, solace, and joy to many. In this new poetry anthology, Leaning toward Light, acclaimed poet and avid gardener Tess Taylor brings...

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EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781635865806
PRICE $22.00 (USD)

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Average rating from 33 members

Featured Reviews

From this book I learned that 'anthology' means 'a gathering or collection of flowers', and what a beautiful garden this book is!
Leaning Towards Light was an incredible journey into a world most poets overlook; the world of nurturing, planting, and tending our piece and place of nature. And we get to see into the lives of the people who nourish them, and are nourished in return. This was a stunning collection from such an incredible range of poets and writers, it seems that our patches of Earth are dearer than most know, and I hope this is only the first in a long line of collections.
While also the focus of this outstanding book, we are shown that gardens are an ever growing, ever changing medium in which difficult truths of life can be conveyed and understood. I was left speechless by many poignant truths, joyful memories, and grieving admissions, so seamlessly woven into the motions of pruning, staking, and feeding. Possibly the shortest poem in the book, an entry on three little sunflower seeds left me nearly in tears!

So whether you have a green thumb-- or in my case, spend more time trying to save plants than eat from them-- I recommend this to all who knows themselves to be lovers of gardens, life, nature, and poetry.
I cannot wait for it's publication, and will eagerly add to my collection, and share among other green-thumbed enthusiasts!

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I loved how this book has these collections of poetry and other forms of writing about the joys of a garden. As well as some recipes and knowing more about planting a garden.

Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for allowing me to read this book for a review.

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I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a great collection!

This book features thoughtful poems and a recipe for every season. This book includes metaphors for gardening and growth as well as love and seasonality. It's a really great collection that talks about the importance of community and tending ourselves.

A good read!

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I am a gardener at heart, soul, and body, so getting approval for Leaning Toward the Light was magnificent. I am so thankful to Tess Taylor, Workman Publishing, and Netgalley for granting me advanced access to this book before its publication date -- August 29, 2023. I plan to feature this book on my Instagram page when my home garden fully flourishes in its prime, which is still before publication day. I love the little recipes and illustrations that filter into the pages of this book and other guest posts from fellow poets and artists alike. Like, completely count me in for the hype. this one.

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Leaning toward Light is an absolutely beautiful collection of poetry about gardens and plant life from a wide range of mainly contemporary poets.

With all the negativity and tragedy that’s going on in our world, this book reminds me of the goodness and purity there is in the natural world, and how we can be a part of that. By slowing down and paying attention, we can find peace and connection. A garden teaches us to take care of others as well as ourselves.

The book is set up in the cycle of a garden through the year, from planting and sprouting, to growing and tending, being and waiting, grieving and release, the harvest, all leading to winter. The artwork by Melissa Castrillon is gorgeous.

There are several recipes throughout the book, going along with a season and personal story.

The imagery in the writing is outstanding. I love how gardening teaches us to “live always in the possible” (Jason Myers, “Closing In”). It’s a state in which we should all wish to live.

Special thanks to NetGalley, Storey Publishing, and Tess Taylor for the opportunity to read and review this work.

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I really loved this anthology. Every page felt like a gift, like warm sunshine or big fat beads of spring rain.

There is a lot to savor here-- a diversity of voices, perspectives, flavors, smells, emotions. This is a really rich book, and the vibrant artwork throughout is so charming, really complementing the variety of poems, recipes, and prose.

I was pleasantly surprised to see some names I knew like Whitman and Keats included here, but I have to say I enjoyed reading the newer voices, especially those whose experiences are different from my own-- the black women and the immigrant mothers who nourish their families with the fruits of their garden toiling. I appreciated the focus on inclusion and the theme of regeneration. I think they're both particularly pertinent to our point in history.

"Gardeners, are, by their nature, people who believe in regeneration...They understand that the broken world we inherit can also be amended, with compost, worms, and steady tending. They have seen that the tended earth, in turn, offers up radical abundance--"

I also enjoyed the shared recipes, especially the feta, tomato, and basil pie recipe from my home state Mississippi. It was nice to see little glimpses of how these gardener poets use their harvests.

Overall, I think this is a very special little book and would make a fantastic gift for any gardening friends. And I'll definitely be checking out the other work of several of the authors included in this anthology-- I love that it tells you about each of them and their work at the end of the book.

Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC.

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A charming book full of gorgeous illustrations and beautiful poetry that inspires the reader through the ups and downs of life through the theme of all things plant love. I LOVED seeing Wendell Berry among the poets! Earth by Cleopatra Mathis resonated so so deeply. There are short essays accompanied by recipes gracing the beginnings of each section, which was such a delicious surprise (pun intended)! Everything about this book would make it a beautiful gift for gardeners, homesteaders, artists, environmentalists, or anyone who appreciates our connection with the botanical world around us.

Thank you, NetGalley!

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Gorgeous book, radiating beams of light and green tendrils of love of living things. There are recipes, memories and poems. I love the fresh tomato pie recipe and the interview with the pear tree. It's a lovely, meditative book. Every time I turn the pages, I think of more friends and family who would be equally enchanted by the collection of like minds and sentiments. Lovely book.

And - thoughtful - the end of the book includes a paragraph biography for each creator featured. So sweet.

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This is such a sweet, endearing book!
Filled with beautiful poems, illustration, and even recipes, it shares the beauty and joy of gardening and caring for the Earth. I am not a gardener, in fact I don't even have a green thumb, but I do love nature and flowers, so this was a charming read.
The collection of poems is very well curated, including authors I had never heard of but will for sure be looking for next time I go to a bookshop and authors I knew but had never read the particular poem included. I recommend this book to anyone honestly, whether you like gardening or not, you will surely enjoy reading these poems and looking at the beautiful illustrations.
I'm also very excited to try the recipes included in this,

Thank you very much to the publisher and NetGalley for the e-ARC!

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This combination of education mixed with poetry and illustrations was amazing. I have been truly inspired.

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Tess Taylor is the editor of a beautiful poetry book. She brings the garden into more light. Then, gifts us with the bounty of words, flowers and fruit. Wendell Berry is one of the many famous poets included in "Leaning Toward Light. There is no shame if a poet's words have never come through your lips or been heard by your unsealed ears. Now, today, is the time you waited anxiously for a new seredipitous moment.

Each poem spoons up its worthiness, it's celebration of light, soil and seed. Laura Villareal writes about uncontrolled happiness when the last days of winter forks up beauty after a snow. Gerard Manley Hopkins looks afar and wonders what if. He is filled with praise for what we hold in our hands now. If we hush, there is the infinitesimal movement of a new bud. Again, there is Tess Taylor writing about an Artichoke. Never seen a dragon? There are "dragon scales" you must hand pick.

.The poetry, prose and Art are amazing. There is nothing to take for granted. It is a heavy treasure chest filled with love and connection.By the way, among the flowers and fruit are recipes. Have a cucumber. How much? The only cost is a lullaby. Complimentary copy from Storey Publishing

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Over the years, we've turned our Mid-Michigan country acre into a series of gardens, islands of happiness and peace (and sweat and toil, but that's needful, healthy, even) where everything is a treat for the eyes or the taste buds, or both. I can't imagine life without at least a small patch of soil to push a seed into. When it's too cold or rainy to work with the soil, I enjoy staying indoors with a good book. Leaning toward Light is a lovely rainy-day read for any gardener.

The subtitle of this book is what first caught my eye and put a smile on my face. "Poems for Gardens & the Hands That Tend Them". I admired the cover art, and when I opened the book, I saw fresh and vibrant illustrations in harmony with that cover, scattered throughout. I paused to make a cup of herbal tea, as I could clearly see that enjoying this book would require one.

Don't skip over Aimee Nezhukumatathil's introduction, which gracefully ties poetry, life, and gardens together. As you continue reading, you'll find anecdotes, recipes, and of course, lots of poetry. My personal favorites are "Wild Oregano" and "Interview with the Pear Tree", but your favorites will depend on your personal experiences with life, gardens, food, family, love, memories, and who knows what else? Everything is connected. If I counted correctly, 89 different poets are represented in this book, and that makes a remarkable gathering.

So, scrub the soil from your hands and set your galoshes aside, just for a little while. Enjoy a celebration of our gardens. It's bloomin' good!

My thanks to Tess Taylor, Storey Publishing, and NetGalley for allowing me to read a digital advance review copy of this book. This review is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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