The Flower Seeker: An Epic Poem of William Bartram

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More About This Textbook

Overview

William Bartram s Travels, published in 1791, remains a seminal book for understanding the American South, its flora, fauna, and people. Now, acclaimed poet and novelist Philip Lee Williams, who has known Bartram s work almost since childhood, has written what will surely be acclaimed as one of the finest long poems ever to come out of the South.

The Flower Seeker is an epic poem that follows the young William Bartram on his journey in the American South and during his old age in his father s gardens. It is truly a southern Odyssey, using techniques of fiction and poetry to get deeply inside one of the most remarkable men ever to strap on a pair of boots in America.

Written in twenty-four cantos, the book digs deep into the mind and heart of Bartram, who was also an acclaimed visual artist and naturalist.

The Flower Seeker begins with an unusual but regular stanzaic form but quickly changes as Bartram changes during his four-year ride on horseback around the South.

Following in the shadows of other epic poems such as Ezra Pound s Cantos, Paterson of William Carlos Williams, or The Maximus Poems by Charles Olson, The Flower Seeker is a dazzling compendium of poetic devices and approaches. In it, Williams uses the Travels as the basis for an expanding and imaginary universe that describes Bartram s interior world as much as the one he rode through.

Long, complex, and yet immensely readable, The Flower Seeker packs an intellectual and emotional punch like few other long poems in the American tradition. It is surely destined to become an enduring classic of Southern and even American literature.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780881462081
  • Publisher: Mercer University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Edition description: limited edition
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip Lee Williams is the author of fourteen published books and has written about the natural world most of his career and taught nature writing at the University of Georgia, from which he retired in March 2010. He is the winner of numerous literary awards, including the national Michael Shaara Prize for his 2004 novel, A Distant Flame. Among his earlier books from Mercer University Press are In the Morning: Reflections from First Light (essays), The Campfire Boys (novel), and a collection of poetry, Elegies for the Water.

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