By: Rob Cowen, Nick Hayes
LONGLISTED FOR THE JAMES CROPPER WAINWRIGHT PRIZE FOR NATURE WRITING 2022
A year of looking, listening and noticing across four unique seasons and thirty-five beautifully illustrated poems.
‘Dazzling, moving… A book that will touch many, and be given often: here, take this, you must read this.’ ROBERT MACFARLANE
‘So vivid… A call out to our elemental relationship with love and nature. Beautiful.’ WILLEM DAFOE
The world changed in 2020. Gradually at first, then quickly and irreversibly, the patterns by which we once lived altered completely.
Across four seasons and a luminous series of poems and illustrations, Rob Cowen and Nick Hayes paint a picture of a year caught in the grip of history yet filled with revelatory perspectives close at hand. A sparrowhawk hunting in a back street; the moon over a town with a loved one’s hand held tight; butterflies massing in a high-summer yard – the everyday wonders and memories that shape a life and help us recall our own.
The Heeding leads us on a journey that takes its markers and signs from nature and a world filled with fear and pain but beauty and wonder too. Collecting birds, animals, trees and people together, it is a profound meditation to a time no one will forget.
At its heart, this is a book that helps us look again, to heed: to be attentive to this world we share, to grieve what’s lost and to hope for a better and brighter tomorrow.
‘A love letter to all that still remains for us to hold dear, to protect, to celebrate . . . These beautiful poems and exquisite illustrations take something heavy and hard and make it glisten in the newly born light of hope.’ Kerri ní Dochartaigh, author of Thin Places
‘Rob Cowen’s poems speak to us all, guiding us through the emotional journey the nation has gone through during the past year, with humour, pathos and forensically sharp portrayals of people and nature at a time like no other. Powerful, moving and brilliant.’ Stephen Moss, author of The Robin
‘The light shines through this book. Poetry is a kind of breathing space and Rob Cowen has taken to it. Domestic in the best sense of the word – small scale, intimate, known – it is tender in as many senses of that word as there are. I am deeply grateful for it.’ Tim Dee, author of Greenery
‘Vivid, beating, aching. The Heeding feels like both a eulogy and a defiant, wild challenge to go on. I loved it.’ Josie George, author of A Still Life
‘So powerful, and rich, and true. Every line in The Heeding feels freshly discovered, full of urgency and clarity. This is an exceptionally moving and beautiful book.’
- Nick Drake, poet and author of Out of Range
‘A raw, dark and tender, visually stunning, emotionally unravelling distillation of the year in which minutes were endless but whole months disappeared. It’s all here.’
- Dr Amy-Jane Beer, author of The Flow
‘Writing that finds light in the dark… Poignant, powerful, pressing.’
- Cal Flyn, author of Islands of Abandonment
‘It is rare to find a writer that is able to tease apart the threads that make up the fragile fabric of our loves, hopes and despairs with such care and humility. An exceptionally good book for an exceptionally bad time.’
- Matt Gaw, author of Under the Stars
‘Poignant and exquisite.’
- Lucy Jones, author of Losing Eden
‘A dazzling collection of words and images.’
- Helen Jukes, author of A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings