A little more than two thousand years ago, the Roman poet Virgil wrote his Georgics, a long poetic sequence about agriculture, suffused with profound reflections on the relationship between humanity, nature, and the divine--and reflecting the political turmoil of his times.
California poet Karen An-hwei Lee, inspired by Virgil, has created her own dense, richly-layered collection of "Neo-Georgics," constituting an extended exploration of such motifs as
happiness, olive groves, vineyards, soil chemistries, the seacoast, and the birth of trees.
In Lee's contemporary rendering we confront an environment blighted by our carbon footprint; advancements in agricultural technology and genetic engineering; the digital age; fossil fuel transportation; and vanishing bees.
Rose Is a Verb explores the ancient tradition of agrarian labor, including tilling the soil and
interpreting weather signs and war omens. The poems flash with verbal ingenuity and mind-bending allusions--challenging the heart and mind but repaying slow, careful readings many times over. A meditation on the natural environment, this collection serves as a biomythography of procreation and a reflection on the meaning of happiness.