Archive for Wildflower Books

Bloomsday 2017

Bloomsday 2017 . . .

Trifolium Trio
(NYC 06 2017)

Today is Bloomsday.

Title Page:
Ulysses by James Joyce
(NYC 06 16 2017)

Re(ad)-Joyce.

– rPs 06 16 2017

Postscript: Reconnect with the original wwv Bloomsday story here:

https://wildflowersofthewestvillage.com/2010/06/16/bloomsday/

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Slanted December Sunset Light

Slanted December Sunset Light . . .

Green Side of The Path (NYC 12 2015)

Green Side of the Path
(NYC 12 2015)

Why the sudden inclusion of Poetry to Wildflowers of the West Village? The answer can be traced back five years and some months to an “Ode to Onion Grass” that served my intent in art history, an extended appreciation of Albrecht Dürer.

Most of my poems shared at Wildflowers of the West Village have been subtitled “for insert historical figure’s name here.” Each strives to serve as a summation of sorts. Their existential whole, their individual presence, how has it remained felt in the accompaniment of my own one life? The poems answer.

How my educations, my ethics, my politics, my essential tastes in entertainment and recreation have been directed somewhat can be referenced by their keyword names in their broad honor.

Antecedents. Progenitors. Kin.

The cadence of my rhetoric,
Clear enough to my mind,
Best to share my best,
Universally, no gratuity.

A poem lives by readers, not sales. Sails in my sights have been those boats engaging the Hudson tidal stream. I see them when running the river paths. Running from something? No, on my feet, I am not. My pace may rather be equated to running for something, toward something, pushing for sustained strength, pausing, still, to watch a small town arrangement of wildflowers greet the west wind and the slanted December sunset light.

Green almost Loden bathed in Gold.

– rPs 12 09 2015

Postcript: “Green Side of the Path” photo starring Artemisia, Persicaria, Solanum, Malva, and Galinsoga.

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14 novembre, 2015

14 novembre, 2015 . . .

pour Albert Camus

War in Europe, again.
How ironic
And how parallel

To continental
Historical cycles
This conflict has arisen

To Whenever,
To Wherever,
Perpetual war cataclysm.

We people are a species
Stuck rocking
On our own rodent wheel,

Rolling
Rock of our own
Rolling.

— ron P. swegman
— 14 novembre, 2015

Enduring November Rain  (NYC 11 2015)

Enduring November Rain
(NYC 11 2015)

— rPs 11 14 2015

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Bloomsday 2015

Bloomsday 2015 . . .

Catalpa speciosa (Bloomsday 2015)

Catalpa speciosa
(Bloomsday 2015)

“Under the upswelling tide he saw the writhing weeds lift languidly and sway reluctant arms, hising up their petticoats, in whispering water swaying and upturning coy silver fronds. Day by day: night by night: lifted, flooded and let fall. Lord, they are weary: and, whispered to, they sigh.”

– Excerpt from “Episode 3 – Proteus” of Ulysses by James Joyce

Re-Joyce. Today is Bloomsday.

– rPs 06 16 2015

Postscript: I again refer to my definitive narrative on the significance of Bloomsday to Wildflowers of the West Village: “Bloomsday” https://wildflowersofthewestvillage.com/2010/06/16/bloomsday/

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Eating Wildly

Eating Wildly . . .

Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love and the Perfect Meal by Ava Chin

Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love and the Perfect Meal by Ava Chin




Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love and the Perfect Meal

By Ava Chin
Hardback, 245 pp.
Simon & Schuster, May 2014

When a writer writes about what she or he knows, the final product – the book – will be at its best if one part art and one part life glued together with a unique experience where the two have met.

Ava Chin, I am happy to report, has succeeded on all counts with her debut; an informative, personable, and innovative memoir released today, May 13, 2014, by Simon & Schuster:

Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love and the Perfect Meal

Ava’s botanical journalism has been mentioned several times here at Wildflowers of the West Village. She has returned the favor in kind in her “Urban Forager” column featured in the City Room section of The New York Times. Eating Wildly appropriates parts of that writing project, pairs it with an intimate, at times frank, personal history, one that has flowered into the fruit of a literary urban forger.

Family roots, grounded especially by supportive and culinary grandparents, allowed Ava to grow up as a New Yorker with a contemplative artist’s eye and a sophisticated, yet unpretentious, palate for wild and otherwise regionally-sourced food. This subject she knows, and combined here with her learned writer’s talent for rendering experience in words, the result is a savory read seasoned by some key, occasionally bittersweet, aspects of her own story.

The book begins with a walk, that activity so often entwined like a vine with outdoor exploration. And although she was alone in the living out of that particular autumn afternoon, her retelling guides you like a friend taking your hand and pointing out the details you might otherwise miss. Her specific quest for fresh lambs quarters (Chenopodium album) ended in her being foiled by the late season, yet she was rewarded with a different find earthier in flavor and perhaps even more precious: oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus).

From that poetic opening, graced by symbolism, the reader is introduced to a book structured in sections headed by the four seasons, each of which features a variety of urban plants in starring roles. Enter also the people who helped to shape the writer’s life: a conflicted, sometimes preoccupied mother; a distant, always itinerant father; a companion and kindred spirit who offers support in matters of love and letters.

There are also recipes from Ava’s kitchen that stand the test of taste. One example is Wood Sorrel Micro-Greens, a savory that can be harvested at its peak right now as her book greets the reading public.

Wood Sorrel (Oxalis montana)

Wood Sorrel (Oxalis montana)

Ava was raised in Queens and now centers herself on Staten Island, where she teaches creative writing, but all five boroughs of New York City receive attention on these pages, making this book required reading for naturalists of all shades. A large part of Eating Wildly is dedicated to various edible fungi; mycologists will certainly find ample substance and complete author-reader connection. The life of the urban honeybee is also given its due. This book is a special document of the current state of the city’s wild reported from a gifted first-person perspective and should satisfy anyone interested in the power, beauty, or flavor of plants, those self-sufficient Wildflowers of the West Village that inspire ongoing communion with the green corners of the metropolis.

– rPs 05 13 2014

Postscript: Eating Wildly is available for sale at one of my favorite independents, The Corner Bookstore, located on the southeast corner of 93rd and Madison. Here is a link to the shop’s website: http://cornerbookstorenyc.com/event/ava-chin-reads-from-her-debut-eating-wildly/

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A Literary Wildflower

A Literary Wildflower . . .

The Scarlet Pimpernel opens only on sunny days. (photo by Maryann Amici 08 04 2013)

The Scarlet Pimpernel opens only on sunny days. (photo by Maryann Amici 08 04 2013)

My desire to share an enthusiasm for Manhattan’s wildflowers hit home in a delightful way in recent weeks.

The story began, as it often does, with a walk. My wife and I were enjoying a Sunday afternoon outing. We had set out to enjoy the sunshine and unseasonably cool air after seeing a film in Battery Park City. The bonus appeared in Hudson River Park when we found a tiny creeping plant flowering in a color quite unlike the solid white, yellow, or pink I usually see in the urban field. The pointed petals of this example held a hue more like smoked salmon with a distinctly purple center.

When we got home, I began to search through resources for a positive identification. One detail I did note was that the leaves, stems, and general spreading appearance of the plant resembled Common Chickweed.

I had been at work less than five minutes when, from the other side of the room, Maryann announced: “Found it!”

Indeed she had, by using some of the same search terms and comparisons I have illustrated in past posts. My wife, I have discovered, has been an attentive reader. She has honed her own skills and has done so, at least in small part, by reading Wildflowers of the West Village.

The flower we found turned out to be one that has a broader cross-cultural appeal, having given its name to a famous piece of literature –

The Scarlet Pimpernel

Anagallis arvensis is a European immigrant closely related to Common Chickweed; a fact that further satisfied my own little ego, as I had made that connection on my own before reading an authoritative resource, in this case the comprehensive database of The Connecticut Botanical Society, which can be found by following this link:

http://www.ct-botanical-society.org/galleries/anagallisarve.html

I must admit here that I had never heretofore known Scarlet Pimpernel, the wildflower, had established itself in North America. I knew of the name, as most people do, by way of the famous novel of the French Revolution authored by Baroness Emma Magdolna Rozália Mária Jozefa Borbála “Emmuska” Orczy de Orczi.

We were fortunate to come across this little literary flower when we did, The Scarlet Pimpernel blooms in full only on sunny days. Overcast weather and evening compels this plant’s petals to fold up. Had that been the case, we might have missed it entirely, or overlooked it as just another example of Common Chickweed.

This leads me to relate another lesson I have learned, and one I hope to share: students and lovers of nature must carpe diem when a new wildflower is found. Wild plants in urban environments are especially subject to the whims of groundskeepers, vehicles, or in this case, their own unique habits.

The face of the Scarlet Pimpernel. (photo taken 08 04 2013)

The face of the Scarlet Pimpernel. (photo taken 08 04 2013)

— rPs 08 28 2013

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Bloomsday 2013

Bloomsday 2013 . . .

Common Mullein begins to show beside the Corporal John A. Seravalli playground on Horatio Street. (photo taken 06 16 2013)

Common Mullein begins to show beside the Corporal John A. Seravalli playground on Horatio Street. (photo taken 06 16 2013)

A lot of rain has fallen on NYC, nearly 20 inches since the middle of May. The green lining is a bloom as rich as one in Dublin.

There are a multitude of wildflowers at their peak as a result of the rain. One is the massive Common Mullein photographed above on this Bloomsday.

Speaking of which . . . I have a new short story titled “Bloomsday” in the new issue 4.4 of The Flyfish Journal. There is a thrill in this, having fused a literary favorite with my love of the outdoors. The magazine is on newstands now. Perhaps you, too, can enjoy my latest attempt at pairing words with wildflowers.

rPs 06 16 2013

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