Andrew Feld University of Chicago Press, 2012 Library of Congress PS3606.E385R37 2012 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Raptor, the second book by the author of the widely praised Citizen, is a collection of formal poems and measured free verse unified by its investigation of our ancient poetic, mythic, and scientific fascination with birds of prey: hawks, eagles, owls, vultures, and falcons. Drawing extensively on his own experience working at a raptor rehabilitation center, along with a variety of sources ranging from medieval texts on falconry to the latest conservation studies of raptor anatomy and habitat, Andrew Feld shows these killing birds to be mirrors for humanity, as indicator species, and as highly charged figures for the intersection of that which we call “wild” and that which we think of as domesticated or domestic—and how these opposed terms apply to the imperiled natural world, to our human social relations, and to our most private, interior selves. In these poems, Feld does not shy away from either the damaging world or “the new, more comprehensive view / damage affords” in its aftermath.
Raptor: A Journey through Birds
James Macdonald Lockhart University of Chicago Press, 2017 Library of Congress QL677.78.L632 2017 | Dewey Decimal 598.0723441
From the merlin to the golden eagle, the goshawk to the honey buzzard, James Macdonald Lockhart’s stunning debut is a quest of beak, talon, wing, and sky. On its surface, Raptor is a journey across the British Isles in search of fifteen species of birds of prey, but as Lockhart seeks out these elusive predators, his quest becomes so much more: an incomparably elegant elegy on the beauty of the British landscape and, through the birds, a journey toward understanding an awesome power at the heart of the natural world—a power that is majestic and frightening in its strength, but also fragile.
Taking as his guide the nineteenth-century Scottish naturalist and artist William MacGillivray, Lockhart loosely follows the historical trail forged by MacGillivray as he ventured from Aberdeen to London filling his pockets with plants and writing and illustrating the canonical A History of British Birds. Linking his journey to that of his muse, Lockhart shares his own encounters with raptors ranging from the scarce osprey to the successfully reintroduced red kite, a species once protected by medieval royal statute, revealing with poetic immediacy the extraordinary behaviors of these birds and the extreme environments they call home.
Creatures both worshipped and reviled, raptors have a talon-hold on the human heart and imagination. With his book, Lockhart unravels these complicated ties in a work by turns reverent and euphoric—an interweaving of history, travel, and nature writing at its best. A hymn to wanderers, to the land and to the sky, and especially to the birds, Raptor soars.