Amanda Ackerman. Les Figues Press, $17 paperback (196p) ISBN: 978-1-934254-58-5
I was at first captivated and struck by the title of Amanda Ackerman’s collection. Feral Flora. I imagined stories that were darkly whimsical, tales of wild plants on the hunt perhaps, or poetic explorations juxtaposing the fantastic. Some of the material in The Book of Feral Flora was apparently generated by plants themselves- a concept which I found to be extremely intriguing. Ackerman recorded herself reading her work and then sent it to a programming poet, Dan Richert, who played the recordings for plants. Richert then recorded the responses of the plants, via electrical impulses, and new texts were created from the originals. These ‘plant writings’ make up much of the text pieces compiled in the section “Feral Iridium Animate Matter: flowery uneconomical language” (another title that I love) and the Table of Contents. Ackerman also points out in her Process Notes that while writing the texts meant to be recorded, she interacted with different plants in various somatic ways such as touching or ingesting the plants. In short, Ackerman is not afraid to take wild experimentation to the edge. I admire the way she thinks and have to give her props for committing herself wholeheartedly to the production of the pieces in “Feral Iridium.” Ackerman is clearly a writer who lives and breathes the material she has dedicated herself to.