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Plant Dreaming Deep

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  404 ratings  ·  38 reviews

May Sarton describes living at her eighteenth-century house in Nelson, New Hampshire"how she acquired it, how it and the garden became part of her.

Paperback, 188 pages
Published December 1st 1983 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1968)
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Plant Dreaming Deep is a memoir of writer May Sarton's first ten years in her first home in Nelson, NH.

I first read this book when in my twenties and in full stride as an ex-urbanite in the deep north woods of Minnesota. I felt a deep kinship with Ms. Sarton, even then, yet what a different perspective now at 58 and living independently in my first home, embracing with relish, reverence, and a sense of discovery, the treasure of life in common with a wide variety of neighbors and the many, many
Paula Cappa
May Sarton! Why aren't people reading this insightful author anymore? Plant Dreaming Deep is one of her best books, full of her poetic thoughts and observations as she lives in an 18th century house on thirty acres in Nelson, New Hampshire in the late 1960s. Drama? Yes. Here is a woman in her mid forties, living alone with the power of silence, light pouring through the windows, and the ghosts of time. May describes herself as a passenger "inward and outward bound." She is a poet, a fierce write ...more
May Sarton is such a calming influence. This is a book I've returned to several times when I need to slow down, pay more attention to the world around me. (She also was a firebrand feminist back before women "did that sort of thing," so she's no shrinking violet.) This is about creating a home for herself -- space and solitude and atmosphere in which to write, a garden in which to replenish herself. It's a book full of hope and goodwill and patience, the learning to cultivate thereof.

I original
I read this one after reading the actual journals in order, so my perspective is likely a bit different.

The pros: May does almost no complaining here, quite a contrast from the journals! She does a terrific job evoking a sense of place, more so than later in York, ME, although she does not own that house itself. The book has almost the feel of James Herriott, without the animals. The last section has a foreshadowing of the changes the 60's would bring to the area; it's a story of the tail end of
4 1/2 stars

"Silence was the food I was after, silence and the country itself - trees, meadows, hills, the open sky. I had wanted air, light and space, and now I saw that they were exactly what the house had to give. The light here is magic."

Plant Dreaming Deep is May Sarton's wonderful memoir of how she bought her first house in New England in the 1950s and the first 10 or so years she spent there.
Included are Sarton's thoughts about the rich history of the house, how she made it her own, the
Loved the poetic rhythm of this memoir. I really enjoyed this memoir for Mary's insights; European roots collide with the American Dream. We should all spend time thinking about our roots and how it impacts our present day lives.
Sarah Ansani
Upon finishing this book, I am grateful that my boyfriend finally found the memoir section in the bookstore. I am thankful for the stool that happened to be--right there--so I could see the spines of the books I otherwise couldn't reach. I am also thankful that I "saw something" in a slim, cloth-bound, modest book with just the title and author jet black inked on its spine. A very unassuming book, indeed. But I bought it anyway, for three bucks.

I am grateful because I love this book. In the pres
May Sarton writes of art, community, humanity, work, and nature, but more than anything else, she speaks to the role that place plays in all of our lives, and the way that making one's own place in the world is a beautiful struggle. Her account of finding a home in rural New Hampshire made me homesick for my own childhood on a farm in Maine. There's an honesty in her view of the world and its flawed people that I love. This was just the right book to read today.
Sherry (sethurner)
I read this because one of my former university professors, Margot Peters wrote a biography of the writer/poet. After hearing Peters speak, I decided I wanted to learn more about May Sarton. Sarton's autobiograpical book describes renovating and moving into a house where she can write and feel at peace. It's not a slender volume, but I really enjoyed her ruminations about her home and environment.
I'm not a fan of the trope wherein the writer describes fixing up a derelict dwelling in San Miquel Allende, the south of France, or (in this case) rural New Hampshire, which through his/her vision (and hours of work on the part of colorful local laborers) becomes an enviable and enchanting abode. However, May Sarton's book is smarter and better-structured than most of this genre. She was considered an old-fashioned writer some 60 years ago when she wrote this, and her style feels sweet or overw ...more
"I woke to sunlight, the washed crystal air after storm, the maples all lit up, translucent, a brilliant world of blue and gold, almost incredible after the darkness of the day before. I was learning right away the immense pleasure it is to have no idea what one will see on waking..." (p53).

I enjoyed all of this short personal memoir by novelist/poet May Sarton, who documents with grace her first solo year in a run-down country home on 30 acres that she restored in Nelson, New Hampshire. Contemp
Oh gosh, I loved this book. It isn't one of her journals but it reads like one and takes you through her first years in her first house, from her first viewing of the house through its renovation, her first visitors, her discoveries with each changing season. May Sarton is who I turn to for affirmation that it's okay to care about friendships and soul-expanding experiences more than anything else--or at least, never to question the centrality of those things and to struggle, if need be, to make ...more
Debbie Spendley
One of my favorite writers!

May Sarton was introduced to me by a wise and wonderful friend. I have read many of her novels and always feel that I am "LIVING" her moments of life at the time of the writings. I am always made calm and serene by her words and her simple yet wondrous examples of life living each day to its fullest. She is an American icon of memoir and poetry writing.
This is a beautiful, beautiful book. I've read it so many times. It's unlike May's other work, and it's by far her best, in my opinion. Gentle, luminous, evocative. Read it!
Mary Jane
i think I may have read memoir of Sarton renovating an old farmhouse in Dublin, NH, this before, but my younger self would not have appreciated it as I did this time--meditations on aging, creativity, the discipline of writing--very moving.
Loved! A favorite.
Sometimes rereading a book treasured in adolescence is a disappointment--but this account of how the poet/novelist/diarist found and made her home in the small New Hampshire town of Nelson has gained resonance for me with the family losses that recent years have brought. This journal is a moving account of the challenges, practical and spirtual, of her uprooting and resettling and even I, a determined non-gardener, enjoyed the ongoing story of how she made her garden.
Constance Kwinn
An introverted, middle-aged novelist/poet purchases a run-down country home to connect with herself and her art, create a nest for the precious objects she's collected and inherited, and pursue a quiet life in communion with Nature. It's a sweet, thoughtful memoir of personal influences and what makes a home.

If you think you might find this precious, you probably will. I found it precious in the good way.
There is something about books that are about houses and gardens that captures my soul. This is my favorite May Sarton, because the story of the creation of this home space is so..bright, so luscious. A book in which the floor boards seem to have a particular character. And the gardens, the interior and the exterior. And the heart. The passion of the ordinary. Love it.
I adore this book. Even as a 20-something woman, I felt such a kinship with the elder May Sarton as I read it. And I felt like her journey to put down roots and to express herself into a place via the creation of her home was very moving and impressed me deeply. Ever since, I have longed to own a home to wrap myself into as well.
Black Elephants
For a book about a poet who buys her first house in the quiet landscape of New Hampshire, this was a gripping read. I finished it in day. The language, the pacing, the imagery, the storytelling were so wonderful that I just didn't want to put the book down until I was done. This is probably one of my favorite reads of the year.
Carolyn Heilbrun--see Writing A Woman's Life--says May Sarton wrote this autobiog about buying a house and living alone and then wrote another later (Journal of a Solitude) about the same time, only including all the difficult feelings and dark parts of the experience and herself, that she left out of the first book.
I enjoy all of Sarton's books. This may be my favorite -- reminds me of Celestine Sibley's book, A Place Called Sweet Apple. There's something very transformative about the middle aged woman who takes a fixer-upper house and renovates it to become a haven for her artistic endeavors.
one of the best Sarton books - get in beside this sometimes cranky but always tasteful lady and enjoy her NH property and interior thoughts. Some deep thoughts on mutability of life and how shall we live...but I liked it just as much for the descriptions.
I've always admired Sarton's poetry but based on a recommendation by Margaret Roach (see, I decided to read this book about Sarton's home, garden and life living alone.
This is as if a prequel to "Journal of Solitude." It specifies the town in New Hampshire where Sarton lived and characterizes its people. It is made up of her daily life jottings. It fits with its companion beautifully and is as beautifully written.
Another lovely insightful journal by May Sarton when she retreats to solitude in rural community in New England. I highly recommend all her journals...this and The House by the Sea as well.
Very creative in relating her own experiences in buying a home and moving to a new place to life as a whole, in how we learn and grow. Very insightful. I definitely recommend May Sarton.
One of my earliest of Sarton's and it convinced me to explore her in depth -- I'm not done yet but this one holds a special spot in the collection -- and I've rereead it at least once.
Just an absolutely lovely, lovely book, perhaps made more precious to me for its picturing of life in New England... it made me nostalgic and hopeful and content in so many ways.
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May Sarton was born on May 3, 1912, in Wondelgem, Belgium, and grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her first volume of poetry, Encounters in April, was published in 1937 and her first novel, The Single Hound, in 1938. An accomplished memoirist, Sarton boldly came out as a lesbian in her 1965 book Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing. Her later memoir, Journal of a Solitude, was an account of h ...more
More about May Sarton...
Journal of a Solitude The Fur Person The House by the Sea As We Are Now Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing

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“It is good for a professional to be reminded that his professionalism is only a husk, that the real person must remain an amateur, a lover of the work.” 1 likes
“It is good for a professional to be reminded that his professionalism is only a husk, that the real person must remain an amateur, a lover or the work.” 0 likes
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