John Evans, seemingly loathed by the Welsh establishment but a hero to many, for his willingness to not only write about the issues that affect our nation but also to be one of the few writers in Wales that actually stands up for what they believe - whether it's social deprivation and unemployment, or campaigning to safeguard our wildlife and environment, he is one of the few voices to be heard.
His latest work, `Goshawk', is contemporary nature writing at its best. It challenges the usual norms and pastoral tendencies in nature poetry, and defies convention, to take us with him on a journey to the kingdom of this rare bird of prey. The writing is lyrical, vivid and magical. There are also facts, yes, the natural history of the Goshawk: `Shot and trapped to the edge / Strung on a fence where crows hang'. Yet, this is a spiritual odyssey, a spell and incantation - the writer invoking the spirit of the bird and landscape, inciting and challenging the reader to look beyond what the eye sees: `And all the trees / Calling / Calling up / The earth whispers / Sound / Of the crows'.
The poetry is taken from his field notes and journals after spending a number of years studying the Goshawk close-up. The book has a wonderful cover and the beautiful illustrations inside of both the bird, and the landscape it inhabits, are also magical and perfectly accompany the text.
John Evans is up there with other great modern nature writers like Richard Mabey and Robert Macfarlane, yet his poetry here reminds me most of Gerard Manley Hopkins' `The Windhover'. The poetry here has similar spiritual qualities and moves me in the same way - I can think of no greater endorsement of this book.