Loosely based on a 1976 report by the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Verges Green reworks its source material into short pastoral poems that can be read forwards or backwards. These poems look for, and sometimes find, traces of lost forests and meadows beneath the tarmac of the motorway.
Heleina Burton’s subversive syntax takes a magnifying lens into the liminal space of the motorway verge. Her poems move at once northbound and southbound, spooling their way between ancient rock, the construction of the earliest motorways and current existential threats to the environment and to life. Her sensitivity to the language and delicacy of touch enable her to address the most urgent concerns of our time with a nuanced, quietly-spoken authority. These are poems to heed.
– Jenny Pagdin
Verges Green does what found poetry does best – take a source text and make it new and strange and contemporary. These poems resist the limitations of the pastoral and instead, through migrating syntax and orbiting nouns, capture the urgency of disintegration and adaptation. The poems remind us that man and nature are not separate, but intertwined like a hawthorn feeling its way across a motorway bridge.
– Andrew McDonnell