Burning Season

Yvonne Reddick


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Bloodaxe Books
25 May 2023
ISBN: 9781780376455
72 pages

From the publisher

Burning Season is a book about fire and survival, climate change and nature’s defiance. Yvonne Reddick’s understanding of climate change is uniquely personal: her father was a petroleum engineer, and many members of her family worked in the fossil fuel industry. The collection speaks of the paradox that her Dad’s gift to her was her love of nature and mountain landscapes. Burning Season includes a series of vivid, moving and heartfelt poems that explore her grief following her father’s death in a hiking accident. These are set against a wider backdrop of ecological loss and heartbreak.

The book combines poems with nature diaries and lyric essays to trace an intriguing family history. It tells the story of a father who worked on North Sea oil platforms and Omani oilfields, and who transported the entire family to Kuwait four years after the first Gulf War. Reddick’s mother worked in seismology, detecting deposits of oil deep below the ground. This family story forms the bedrock of Burning Season.

Here, too, are poems that celebrate nature’s vibrant resilience: planting oak saplings, spotting rare ptarmigan in the Highland winter, imagining life in an underwater city.

Yvonne Reddick’s first book-length collection builds on the achievement of her pamphlets Translating Mountains (Seren, 2017), winner of the Mslexia Women's Pamphlet Competition, and Spikenard (Laureate’s Choice, 2019), which was a poetry recommendation for early 2019 in the London Review of Books.

‘This first book-length collection from Reddick is as lyrical as it is defiant. A collection that confronts climate change, a world in flames and societies on the verge of collapse, told through an exploration of family history.  This is an incredible exploration of the oil industry.’ – Mairi Oliver of Lighthouse Bookshop, The Bookseller (Scottish books preview), on Burning Season

'To have an ecological education, wrote Aldo Leopold, is to live alone in a world of wounds. Yvonne Reddick writes of the natural world in all its wonder, variety, and woundedness. Her poems are precise, beautiful, and clear-eyed acts of witness. They are also calls to action.' – David Morley

'Elegiac, original and memorable, these poems uncover the private maps and ghost-bearings that guide us in the mountains, creating their own vivid geology.' – Helen Mort, on Translating Mountains

‘Reddick sets a sombre music behind the rawness of loss, like a glimpse of her mountains in the distance.’ – PN Review

‘It’s impossible to read this collection without being moved.’ – New Welsh Review

‘This is a beautifully structured pamphlet that offers the reader a deeply felt sufficiency’ – WriteOutLoud