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Jack Smylie Wild

Riverwise: meditations on Afon Teifi (hardback)

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  • £12

'Thoughtful and hypnotic. As rich, lush and meandering as the river it celebrates so well. A book to immerse yourself in, filled with hidden depths and unexpected currents.' Neil Ansell

“What a lovely book, written about one of Wales’s most beautiful rivers. An intimate glimpse in prose and poetry by a man with a profound understanding of his subject. Read and enjoy, I certainly did.” Iolo Williams.

'Jack is a wonderful writer - his voice is wonderful company - tender, thoughtful, profound yet understated, never self-indulgent. It is so hard to achieve this balance - and this writing, like a first chapbook or collection of poems brings a lovely voice into the world, subtle yet powerful. I felt taken by the hand and swept on the current to the wildest secret places of this river and gained a great sense of place as well as of the person ... This is a labour of love filled with the mud and blood and light and half-light of all the secret places of the river. Immersive, often shamanic in its intensity, enthralling and lyrical it brings a startling and authentic new voice to the rich body of writings on place and connection to our known and loved wet places - it's a sinuous love letter to the self and to rediscovery - of the river, and of its importance - more vital now than ever. I'm left with the sounds of lapwing and of the marshes, of the sweet flow of the river in all its moods, human and animal. What a wonderful contribution. I loved it. Very very well done.' Miriam Darlington


“The ale-brown, ankle-deep water, riffling in the shadows of alder, ash and willow, is surprisingly cool. As I feel my way across the shallows with my toes, I spy an up-bubbling in a deeper stretch … an otter. I strain my eyes until the bubbles disappear, and wade on.”

Riverwise, a volume of slow river prose centred around Afon Teifi, is a book of wanderings and 
wonderings, witnessings and enchantments, rememberings and endings. Weaving memoir, poetry and keen observation into its meandering course, it shifts across time and space to reflect the beauty of hidden, fluvial places, and to meditate on the strangeness of being human.

Along the way, hosts of things glimmer on the water and resurface from the depths: characters, creatures, plants, ruins, roots and words, all bound and etched together in the liquid slate of Teifi’s ceaseless becoming. As new questions are asked beside old, half-forgotten streams, currents conjoin into an unexpected narrative.

Above all, though, this book stands as a hymn to those fragments of riparian wilderness which on our maps appear as ever-shrinking horns of green amid a white, gridded landscape of human dominance. Riverwise is a clarion call to learn to love and protect the natural world and its waterways.