Bartholomew the Englishman was a 13th century Franciscan friar and scholar whose only surviving work, De proprietatibus rerum (The Properties of Things), was intended as an encyclopedia of the world. The poet has culled certain details from the tome and added many others to construct what he conceives his garden might have been like, assuming he had one, and how he might have described it. He has also repositioned him as a poet. This collection is to be understood as an invention.
Habibi: I have enjoyed David Solway's poems for decades. Here, as always, Solway writes with a Gravesian dash and brio, taking (and giving) pleasure in a fine vocabulary, a gift for surprising figures, and a striking breadth of reference. -- Richard Wilbur