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The Tree House

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  59 ratings  ·  7 reviews
An essential new collection from one of Picador's leading poets our conduct within family and society. In The Tree House Jamie argues - as Burns did before her - for an engagement of the whole being through a kind of practical earthly spirituality. These often startling encounters with animals, birds, and other humans propose a way of living which recognises the earth as h ...more
Paperback, 49 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Picador USA (first published January 2004)
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This is one of my favourite books of poetry of recent years and I rank Jamie above the supposed heavyweights of Scottish poetry, John Burnside and Robin Robertson. She deserves greater recognition as one of the best poets writing in scotland and even the UK right now.
This is a short book of small poems dealing mainly with the natural world and all living things; honing in like the macro setting of a camera to give close ups of birds and frogs, the leaves of trees, flowers, revealing them in all
E.G. Jönsson
KJ feels at the same time part of a lengthy tradition, as well as having a style uniquely her own. I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the natural and human world through her eyes - peopled by things, animals, plants, but rarely people. Although 'The Buddleia', which do have people in it, is perhaps my favourite poem of the lot. The second stanza is pitch-perfect, and sums up, much better than I could, the reasons why you should read KJ:

Come evening, it's almost too late
to walk in the garden, and tr
Glorious! I happened on one of Jamie's poems on the internet and loved it. Found this volume in Blackwell's in Edinburgh and snapped it up. Have been carrying it around ever since. I fear that Jamie's books may not be easy to find in the US, but make the effort. Read "The Cave of the Fish"! Think about Dante. Start a journey.
Mandy Haggith
Absolutely brilliant. Many of these poems are short and all of them have a clarity that makes them easy to read, yet they contain within their apparent simplicity tremendous depth. The book contains one of my favourite tree poems - Alder - and these lines give a sample of how Kathleen Jamie combines well-researched accuracy with bottomless questioning..

alder, who unfolded
before the receding glaciers

first one leaf then another,
won't you teach me

a way to live
on this damp ambiguous earth?

I have enjoyed it - but the poetry in English doesn't slice the world open the way the prose in Sightlines does. There is something about the rhythm and rhyme that is too bland. Looking back over the book I find the poems I really want to read again are mostly in Scots not English where somehow both rhyme and rhythm find a cutting edge - so an extra star for them.
Brian Robbins
Initially I was disappointed with this book, having read her prose with "Findings". "Alders" reminded me of nothing more in its structure than "Expiring Frog" in "Pickwick Papers".

However, having got over the initial disappointment, there are many really good poems in the volume. A library borrowing that is next on my list to buy.
one of my Scottish poetry books far, love it (or as they would say in Scotland, brilliant!)
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Kathleen Jamie is a poet, essayist and travel writer, one of a remarkable clutch of Scottish writers picked out in 1994 as the ‘new generation poets’ – it was a marketing ploy at the time but turns out to have been a very prescient selection. She became Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Stirling in 2011.
More about Kathleen Jamie...
Findings Sightlines The Overhaul: Poems Among Muslims: Meetings At The Frontiers Of Pakistan Waterlight: Selected Poems

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