The Mara Crossing by Ruth Padel

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"No poet", she says, "is a stranger to estrangement"; few, however, are willing to put the medium they love so stringently to test to see this through.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Home is where you start from, but where is a swallow's real home? And what does 'native' mean if the English oak is an immigrant from Spain? 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. 'We're all from somewhere else", she begins, tracing the millennia-old journeys of cells, trees, birds and beasts. Geese battle raging winds over Mount Everest, lemurs skim precipices in Madagascar and wildebeest, at the climax of their epic trek from Tanzania, brave a river filled with the largest, hungriest crocodiles in Africa. Human migration has shaped civilisation but today is one of the greatest challenges the world faces. In a series of incisive portraits, Padel turns to the struggles of human displacement - the Flight into Egypt, John James Audubon emigrating to America (feeding migrant birds en route), migrant workers in Mumbai and refugees labouring over a drastically changing planet - to show how the purpose of migration, for both humans and animals, is survival. Poignant, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, here is a magnificent tapestry of life on the move from the acclaimed author of "Darwin: A Life in Poems".
 

About Ruth Padel

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Ruth Padel is a prizewinning poet, Fellow of both the Royal Society of Literature and the Zoological Society of London, and first Resident Writer at Somerset House, London. Her collections include Rembrandt Would Have Loved You, Voodoo Shop and The Soho Leopard, all shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, and most recently Darwin: A Life in Poems, shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award. Highly acclaimed for her nature writing in a book about conservation, Tigers in Red Weather, and her novel, Where the Serpent Lives, she has also published two much-loved books on contemporary poetry, 52 Ways of Looking at a Poem and The Poem and the Journey.
 
Published February 20, 2012 by Chatto & Windus. 272 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Miriam Gamble on Feb 17 2012

"No poet", she says, "is a stranger to estrangement"; few, however, are willing to put the medium they love so stringently to test to see this through.

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