Ditch Vision: Essays on Poetry, Nature and Place

Jeremy Hooker (Awen Publications, 2017)

Recommended by Isabel Galleymore

Ditch Vision: Essays on Poetry, Nature and PlaceThis book provides a useful way to conceptualise the differing scales of British and American landscapes in the context of nature writing from the nineteenth century to the twentieth century. Hooker suggests that many British writers demonstrate ‘ditch vision’ in their portrayals of environments. Rather than grand expanses, this approach studies microcosms of the wild in landscapes otherwise deemed increasingly urban. Hooker takes his lead from Richard Jefferies who in ‘The Pageant of Summer’ finds a ditch overflowing with ‘Green rushes, long and thick … the white pollen of early grasses … hawthorn boughs … briars … buds’ ([1884] 2011: 41–2). The observation leads him to remark, ‘So much greater is this green and common rush than all the Alps’ (ibid.: 43). Hooker applies his concept of ‘ditch vision’ to writers including Edward Thomas, John Cowper Powys and Frances Bellerby.