29 May 2010 / Fungi Magazine
Decomposition: An Anthology of Fungi-Inspired Poems edited by Renée Roehl and Kelly Chadwick (2010) Lost Horse Press: Sandpoint, Idaho.
Anthologies of poetry are created to chronicle a movement or to gather poems on a single subject or theme. There are poetry anthologies on war, love, death, food, and a host of special topics. With the publication of Decomposition, we now have a superb collection of poems that derive from the perception that the fungi have much to teach us about the surrounding universe and life itself. Fungi-inspired poems—is this so unusual? Poems celebrating flowers, trees, and gardens have informed literary traditions since Ovid and Chuang Tzu, for nature themes are universal in poetry the world over. We frequently find poems tucked away in mushroom club newsletters, primarily because mycophiles tend to open their lives to the devotion of fungi in every conceivable fashion. But the realization that mushroom-inspired poetry is itself a singular tradition, one that has largely proliferated underground or at the margins of literature, has had to await Roehl and Chadwick’s splendid collection of mushroom poems that have sporulated and fruited in a vivid wordscape of color and form.