Painting by Wild Grace
Your Death Full of Flowers
A bouquet of poems arranged and translated by Slippery Elm
The thread that ties this bouquet together is that of the story of Blodeuwedd from the Mabinogion. A woman composed of flowers, who sought to kill her husband, and was thereby transformed into an owl. Blodeuwedd meaning flower-face, and the owl said to have been called blodeuwedd in the Welsh of yore.
Just as the wizard Gwydion gathered blossoms of broom, meadowsweet, and trefoil, the editor gathers the poems to conjure something greater, a something that then goes on to wing the poetry out into the world. A deadly and nefarious agenda in the eyes of the princes of our age, or of those who are their followers and find no love or meaning but in their expendable busts.
In the garden of these pages we encounter the whimsy and abandon of the eccentric who goes through life, toothless and in colourful rags, giving out flowers just because. Who heard the patter of Death’s slippers by their nightstand and received him with a bouquet. Who throws flowers at grooms and graves, and awoke suddenly as the rose’s final petal fell. We encounter the lyric and litany, the poison, the perfume, the lament, the laughter, and the eschatological love poem. The flowers that open above us.
Flowers have been plucked from a well pick’d troop of poets, poets of the other breath, of the diverse brushstroke and the obscure melody. Major figures in English, Spanish, Arabic, American, and Welsh literatures, as well as newly emerging voices. Poets both young and old, and poets dead as much as living. Poets who have proven themselves worthy of the appellation, not just through prizes, accolades or infamy but through a certain generosity of the spirit and a marked commitment to the Poetry. This almost spiritual pedigree, of wise innocence, of beatific inspiration, might be boiled down into two words, which in some ways, are each a reflection of the other. For the old: trust. For the young: bravery.
All poems appear in English and Spanish, and one in Arabic. The two languages form a dialectic in which meaning is generated in the space between them. It is in this hermeneutic tension between the Yes and the No, at the interstice between the two different tongues, between the dead nettle and white archangel, right in the centre of the book, that the beginning of an answer is given to the riddle of all riddles.
This book is a fairy dart tipped with a draught to re-enchant a chantless world. That the lector remember his or her mortality and live all the more fully for it. Our aim is true. We swear by all flowers.
Pocket hardback bound in three shades of green leather: holm oak, mugwort, and wild ivy; and in two shades of blue leather: bavarian gentian, and belladonna berry. Stamped in gold. Magenta and cerulean endpapers. Printed and bound by a family of artesanal leather workers from Ubrique, Andalusia, Spain. As the leather work is done by hand, no two copies are exactly alike.
440 pages. 65 poems by 21 poets.
Blooms Cast Upon a Tomb
Flowers of Flight
Flowers of God Making
‘Where the Bee Sucks there Suck I’
Women of Gardens and Gore
Your Final Roses
Casey June Wolf
David ap Gwilym
Erynn Rowan Laurie
MAAM (Maria de los Angeles Argote Molina)
Nicolas Ramajo Chiacchio
P. Sufenas Virius Lupus
Your Death Full of Flowers can be ordered here: