The Mara Crossing Hardcover – 5 Jan 2012
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"A vertiginous compendium, a prodigy, a book of wonders: it is Montaigne’s and Darwin’s 21st-century child" (Independent)
"A broad-ranging meditation on all things migratory...This is a book of raw interfaces and unnerving encounters. Magnificent poems... a triumph of imagistic ingenuity" (Guardian)
"(A) thoughtful and often quite magical mix of prose and poetry…What is just as fascinating as Padel’s central theme is the insight that she also gives us into poetry, or rather, into the creation of a poem." (Lesley McDowell Independent on Sunday)
"The Mara Crossing is a major meditation on migration. The prose is crystalline, the poems full of the wonderful material stuff of life. It's a poet's book to the core, a passionate exploration of her subject, proving that pressures on cells, bodies, creatures (human and other), and on the planet itself, are fit and essential matter for poetry" (Jo Shapcott)
"A glorious fabric, weaving lyricism and hard facts, poetic insight and scientific detail unwinding from the multitudinous threads of geographical migration. A beautiful, far-ranging book about physical journeys and all they might mean to humans and animals alike" (Mark Cocker)
In ninety richly varied poems and illuminating prose interludes, Ruth Padel's original new book weaves science, myth, wild nature and human history to conjure a world created and sustained by migration.See all Product Description
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... Protozoa, copepods
and krill, a ragtag army
preyed on by larger predators still -
the bioluminescence brigade:
lantern-fish glowing cold
three hundred species
of dense packed cephalopods;
following their own fixed upward gaze.
(from "Nocturne", alliteration and rhythm helping fit the words for their new home.)
At times the structure has similarities with a post-Wagnerian opera, rich arias and recitative, plotless (like Glass's "Satyagraha") but with compulsive leitmotifs. The prose passages are built on inductive logic rather than tightly argued syllogisms. They are the bright pickings that sparkle in a jackdaw's nest, the fruits of such extensive reading that one almost feels there should be a bibliography. The Haitian-born Audubon's first banding of birds in America throws the mist net of migration over birds and humans; and Lowenstein, another migrant, discovers as late as 1961 that living organisms contain the mineral magnetite in their bodies, allowing some to use Earth's magnetic field to guide their movements.
The overall theme is that "Home and migration belong together, two sides of the same ancient coin. Home is something we make, then things change, either in ourselves or in the world, we lose home and have to go elsewhere.Read more ›