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If Bees Are Few: A Hive of Bee Poems
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If Bees Are Few: A Hive of Bee Poems

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4.09  ·  Rating details ·  34 ratings  ·  16 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 300 pages
Published May 30th 2016 by Univ Of Minnesota Press
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Sue
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Everyone experiences bees throughout their lifetime, positively or sometimes negatively due to stings or allergies. But our lives are oh so dependent on these hardworking little creatures. This collection of poems, ranging from prose poems to haiku, celebrates the bee's existence with works dating as far back as Virgil, and more "modernly" with Shakespeare, Dickinson, Rumi, Yeats, Whitman and Neruda. And on to the present day with poets such as Alexie. There are also many new-to-me poets that I ...more
Yodamom
Apr 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
How do you review a book on poetry written by so many different people ? I loved a few poems, liked a few more was stumped by several, and disliked only a couple. I am not a poetry reader, I stretched my mind for the bees. Some of these I had to read slow and carefully, then think after finishing them to judge my feeling. Ouch, thinking is so rare in most of my books. LOL There were a few that I got right away, I felt something. This is a collection, not every poem is for every person.
The facts,
...more
Rebecca
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
(3.5) You’ll be amazed just how many poems there are out there that mention bees – enough to fill a 300-page anthology! The title is from a Dickinson poem, and these selections vary in form from haikus to prose poems and in author/time period from Coleridge and Burns to Lucille Clifton and Sherman Alexie. Unfortunately, I was already familiar with a few of the key poem sequences (by Sean Borodale, Carol Ann Duffy and Jo Shapcott), which felt like I’d kind of spoiled a surprise for myself. My fav ...more
Cynthia
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Calling all bee lovers! The University of Minnesota Press and Editor James P. Lenfestey have pulled together a collection of intimate, poignant and thought provoking poems, sonnets and proverbs of and about bees.

Poets have long loved this little dynamo of industry. Their existence linked intrinsically to man’s, to all of nature. An existence now in peril. The collection is a labor of love, a chance to spend a long lazy afternoon in the company of these magicians on wing. In these pages they are
...more
Clare O'Beara
Jul 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nature, literary
"We are bees then; our honey is language."
- Words Rising by Robert Bly.

Indeed humans are like bees, and we depend upon these industrious little pollinators.
Published to highlight the threat to the bees worldwide from colony collapse, insecticide, impoverished landscape and varroa mite, this diligently collected set of poems has something for everyone, young and old.

I noticed that some poems were principally about bees, but many more just mentioned bees as part of the scene they were depictin
...more
Bonny
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I found If Bees Are Few on the table at the library and enjoyed the varied and diverse collection of poems contained within, especially this short and to-the-point one by Sherman Alexie:

The bees are gone.
We need new bees
Or we are fucked.

J Aislynn d'Merricksson
May 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
***This book was reviewed for Netgalley***

‘Forget not bees in winter, though they sleep.’
~Victoria Sackville-West

If Bees are Few.. is an anthology of poems about bees written by poets through the ages, and edited by James P. Lenfesty. Why a book of bee poems, you might ask? Bees are cornerstone creatures, critters that, by virtue of the work they do, support the underpinnings of the environment. If bees disappeared, as hives are doing at an increasingly alarming rate, it wouldn't be long befor
...more
Amy
Apr 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
With a title taken from an Emily Dickinson poem, this book is a collection of poetry highlighting the bee in culture, history, imagery, and daily life. This was a powerful read as we move back into spring in the Northeast and another summer where we all have responsibility for saving the bees our region needs. A portion of the proceeds of this book are donated to the University of Minnesota Bee Lab. Even more reason to love it!
Brian Wasserman
Jul 20, 2018 rated it liked it
a decent anthology, mostly read it to find new poets, the poems all coincide in their relevance but not in their craft, the editor would include 5 poems by the same author even when the poems are terrible.. those book could have been better if the editor had been more selective in their choices
Nikki
Apr 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
I was hoping that this book would end up being a good mix for me as I sometimes enjoy poetry and I am a big believer in saving bees. Unfortunately I ended up disliking the majority of the poetry and feeling as though the book failed at its goal of helping bees. First of all, I was perhaps not in a poetry mood but that does not dismiss the fact that many of the poems included were dull, a bit too "out there" for my liking and some were even negative towards bees. Now tell me, how does a poem that ...more
Virginia McGee Butler
May 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If Bees Are Few

If Bees Are Few, edited by James P. Lenfestry, unapologetically lauds bees. If you have paid any attention to bee issues, you are probably aware of warnings that their numbers are seriously dropping. Approaching this book with a mindset of embarking on a sermon or didactic environmental treatise would be a mistake. The motivation would be correct, since putting their money where their mouth is, some proceeds from sales of the book will aid the Bee Lab in the Department of Entomol
...more
Jane
Apr 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoy poetry and am worried about the status of bees, so this anthology of poems about bees intrigued me. The fact that some of the proceeds will benefit the Bee Lab in the Department of Entomology at the University of Minnesota alone makes it a worthwhile endeavor.

Some of the poems are focused on bees; in other poems, the bees are merely background. Some poems are long and lyrical, and others are short and modern and to the point about vanishing bees. As usual with anthologies, some of the po
...more
Marylou
I am not a big fan of poetry to be honest, but I do like bees =P
Netgalley was advertising a bunch of poetry books and I thought why not?
Unfortunately, this book didn't keep my interest...
This is a sample poem:
Honeybees prefer the nectar
of the youngest blossoms.
Ground bees delight in
ripened fruit on the grass.
The honeybee turns nectar to honey,
then dies and is pushed from the hive.
The ground bee dies sated
in the sugar of fallen fruit.
I just don't get it I guess...


...more
Jane from B.C.
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to NetGalley and the University of Minnesota Press for the opportunity to review and ARC of this book of poetry.

This is a wonderful anthology of bee related poems. It is something one can take out in the yard or to a park and read alongside the busy buzzing of bees.
Polly Krize
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Utterly enchanting! Such a comprehensive collection of bee literature throughout history. Engaging and charming, each and every one! These precious beings need to be protected for so many reasons. Recommended.
Lily
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, poetry, bees
Most of these are pretty cute, but I admit by the end I was like, yes I get it you can only repeat the same bee metaphors so many times.....
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