James P. Lenfestey & Su Smallen Read From If Bees Are Few: A Hive Of Bee Poems

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James P. Lenfestey & Su Smallen Read From If Bees Are Few: A Hive Of Bee Poems
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Magers & Quinn Booksellers says
An anthology of 2,500 years of poetry, from Sappho to Sherman Alexie, humming with bees, at a moment when the beloved honey makers and pollinators are in danger of disappearing

It is said there are 20,000 species of bees, a genus 50 million years old, but in the fertile imagination of the world’s poets, there is no beginning or end to the bee buzz. Virgil wrote of bees, as did Rumi, Shakespeare, Burns, Coleridge, Emerson, Mandelstam, Neruda, Whitman—a lyrical hum heard well into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in poems by Yeats, Lawrence, Plath, Mary Oliver, Carol Ann Duffy, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Sherman Alexie, among many others.

Virgil wrote of bees, as did Shakespeare, Burns, Coleridge, Emerson, and Whitman, among many others. Amid the crisis befalling bees—hives collapsing, wild species disappearing—the poems collected here speak with a quiet urgency of a world lost if bees were to fall silent.

The title of this book is from Emily Dickinson: To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, / One clover, and a bee, / And revery. / The revery alone will do / If bees are few. Her conclusion resonates with a terrible poignancy today, as bees are indeed becoming few—hives collapsing, wild species disappearing. Amid this crisis, the poems collected here speak with a quiet urgency of a world lost if bees were to fall silent.

If anyone can save the bees, it is entomologist Dr. Marla Spivak and the hive of bee scientists and beekeepers at the Bee Lab at the University of Minnesota. A portion of the author proceeds from this anthology will be donated to support research at the Bee Lab.

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James P. Lenfestey is a former editorial writer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where he won several Page One Awards for excellence. He has published a collection of personal essays, five collections of poems, the poetry anthology Low Down and Coming On: A Feast of Delicious and Dangerous Poems about Pigs, and coedited Robert Bly in This World, also from Minnesota. His memoir with prose and poems, Seeking the Cave: A Pilgrimage to Cold Mountain, Milkweed Editions, was a finalist for the 2014 Minnesota Book Award.

Su Smallen is the author of six collections of poetry. Her first collection, Weight of Light, was nominated for the Pushcart Press Editor’s Book Award, and Buddha, Proof was a Minnesota Book Award Finalist. Su was awarded the Jane Kenyon Poetry Prize, fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Jerome Foundation/Tofte Lake Center, and a residency with the St. Croix Watershed Research Station. With Laurel Poetry Collective, Su published books and broadsides for ten years. Formerly a professional choreographer and dancer, Su’s poetry has served as scores for dance and film, including Miracle of the Spring. She works as a production editor with the science publisher Annual Reviews and in private practice with writers in many disciplines.
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By: Magers & Quinn Booksellers

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