New From Our Book Review Editor

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Poems of the Pennypack – (Moonstone Press)

g emil reutter’s Poems of the Pennypack has just been released by Moonstone Press. The chapbook captures the respite the park provides to residents from the bustle of city life, reutter’s affinity for the park and the nature that thrives in it.

What Others Say:

Poems of the Pennypack is a forthright book, which reflects a lifetime of exploring a place and one’s self in relation to that place. The poems have a quiet clarity as the book becomes both guide and map. g emil reutter writes, “Beauty and violence of nature in plain view / in this nature sanctuary of Philadelphia / called Pennypack.” Reading the poems now in the spring of 2020 readers may find some of the solace they have been seeking and noticing again in nature. As reutter writes, “nature has reclaimed it, meadows, forest and wildlife are abundant.” There is always more to explore, but there are no pyrotechnics. The book is direct and unselfconscious and the poems keep hitting closer and closer to home. -Thomas Devaney

On Line at :

Now available: The Pennypack Environmental Center, 8600A Verree Road, Philadelphia, Pa. 19115.


Dearest Nature By James E. Diamond


PRELUDE: After a four-day visit to Kodiak, Alaska, during August 2018, I witnessed Mother Nature’s stunning beauty that is difficult to describe in words. It is fortunate that the flora and fauna featured in Kodiak’s breathtaking beauty is protected by the laws of nature and those imposed by humankind. Natural physical forces (earthquakes, volcanoes, storms, tsunamis) cause and regulate these phenomena. The natural forests, landscapes, oceans, seashores, mountains, gentle breezes, powerful winds, tumbling streams, singing birds, fresh clean air, changing cumulus clouds, warm sunshine, falling rains and other features made me feel very blessed that I was able to walk and experience the ambiance of such peaceful creations. Margaret Wolfe Hungerford, in her book “Molly Bawn” (1878), states “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” I was inspired to write this essay titled “Dearest Nature” as a feeble attempt to put into words my thoughts and feelings as I experienced being the eye of the beholder viewing the beauty of nature while meandering within nature’s abode.

Dearest Nature

Dearest nature, I hope that you never know that I was here! I hope I did not leave even a single footprint that would indicate my one-time presence. Nature is for all humankind to view, appreciate and protect by leaving behind no unsightly symbols of human existence.

English Romantic lyric poet John Keats once wrote, “The poetry of earth is never dead.” The poetry of Kodiak Island’s beauty is very much alive, and I would not want to risk disfiguring or marring it by my being there. The beauty portrayed before me on Kodiak Island cannot be replicated by humankind. Only the laws of nature can effectively change, modify, alter or improve the landscape. Nature’s law is stronger than any law humans have ever composed and implemented.

I felt my asthmatic lungs enjoying my breathing in clean fresh air. German-born diarist Anne Frank once wrote, “I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” My late wife always knew I was distressed when she would see me going off for a long walk in the woodlot on our farm.

Visiting nature in its purest form was like being home even though it was just a short drop-in visit. American essayist and poet Henry David Thoreau once stated, “Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” As I meandered in Kodiak’s Forest, I felt heaven was surrounding me with peacefulness, serenity and calmness. The emotions of nearby seas varied with calmness and perilousness. Calm seas dominated two ravishing days of fishing with dear friends. Hazardous seas fraught with danger impeded an additional two days of fishing.

Both calm and hazardous seas were beautiful in their own natural way. Calm seas were ruled by clear blue skies sprinkled with white cumulus clouds. Hazardous seas were commanded by high winds, fast moving white capped waves and rain noisily crashing against rocky and sandy coast lines.

In that part of the world winter can be harsh and gruff but dazzling in its own way. I was confident cold temperatures, freezing winds and snow unrolled their frigid wrath over trees on mountains and valleys with a snow white blanket while they slept during winter months. Rachel Carson once said in her book “Silent Spring,” “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”

To appreciate and understand the traits of nature’s pace, her secretive wherewithal virtues include patience, persistence and perseverance. My love of nature in Alaska evolved because I found pleasure in trail-less woodlands, bliss on isolated shores, a culture where no one disturbs nature’s beauty and the roaring euphonic music of the deep sea. Naturalist and conservationist John Muir wrote, “Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while never-ending cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” Let me close this essay with a prominent Latin proverb, “Nature is our mother!”


James E. Diamond, Ph.D. Dean Emeritus (Agricultural and Environmental Sciences) retired after a 47-year career as an agricultural educator.  With Dr. Diamond’s extensive agricultural, academic and international background he felt a need to write prose poetry as a way to put his life experiences into perspective.  He does not profess to be a renowned poet, however his writings are a sincere attempt to express his inner feelings without shame or inhibition.  He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science at Delaware Valley University; Master’s Degree in Education at Lehigh University; and his Ph.D. in Agricultural Education at Pennsylvania State University.  Dr. Diamond has worked, studied and traveled in 58 countries on five continents as a farmer, agricultural educator and international consultant for Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.



A Wilder Time by William E. Glassley

By g emil reutter
Notes From a Geologist at the Edge of the Greenland Ice
Glassley chronicles the expedition of three geologists in search of a truth that is in dispute. Along the way Glassley writes about the wilderness and nature of the massive walls of the fjords they are excavating. He writes of the hillocks, ridges, cascades of rocky knolls where plant life anchored itself in ice-wedged cracks and linchen attached to bare rock and of tundra pockets. There is a silence to the place as there is an absence of trees, houses, streets and people.
Glassley documents a mirage dancing along the horizon, thick horizontal blade of sharp turquoise blue cut along the land stretching hundreds of feet into the air. He writes of sailing on the water when the three hear a sound generated from more than two miles away, a mournful, wrenching sound, morphing into a feminine symphonic chorus, staccato screeches that turn out to a disturbed rookery where hundreds of gulls be gulls cried. Yet, the three believed they had just heard the sound of the Sirens, mythical, the sound Osyesseus had heard 3,200 years ago.
He writes in beautiful prose about his encounters. Such as just off camp in the bay a purplish color below the surface only to find thousands of sea urchins so densely crowded that their spines tangled together, of hundreds of small comb jellies, each shaped like a lantern, iridescent colors propelled as slowly turning lanterns in the sea. Always the observer, Glassley notices small ice blocks from a calving ice sheet floating lazily and that may have enough for some but Glassley notices more. Just under the murky water a river of fish were swimming, a school of herring like fish many feet wide unknown depth stretching in both directions as far as the eye could see. Suddenly the fish exploded, frantic panic possessed them as an Artic sculpin grabbed a straggler slowly sinking back down into the murky water as the herring regrouped and continued on their journey to an unknown destination.
During a thunderstorm he tells us of atoms that had once been part of the rock enclosing the sea were scrapped from surfaces by pounding boulders, released to float freely with the tides… mingle with other atoms whose origins were wind-blown dust, interstellar particles, dissolving dead animals and decaying plants… evolving into unities, become things that construct living forms… become part of snowfall on the high Himalayas, cause seasonal floods of the Ganges or just part of us. In this simple observation Glassely connects everything on earth, at times separate yet always part of the whole.
On a journey to bathe in the ice cold waters he returns to walk up a small bluff to a tundra bench. There while walking through the grasses, short stemmed flowers of the tundra carpet he encounters a female ptarmigan who appears and disappears as her colors blend in with the patterns of brown, tan and black color and texture of the plants. All the while she was protecting her hatchlings. Glassley speaks of the vertical and how much is missed. He knelt down taking in the sweet flower scents of Artic poppy, bell-heather, mountain sorrel, hairy lousewort and more. He describes it as being awash in a botanical sea. Had he not knelt he would never had experienced this beautiful event.
The purpose of the expedition was to prove that Greenland was formed by the collision of two continents. That the ocean between them was sucked down into the earth. The three geologists examine rock formations, individual clusters and patterns. Their work is fascinating and the story telling ability of Glassley brings the reader into geology in an unexpected way. He brings us into the mystery of ice and rock and along the way his simply beautiful observations of tundra and fjords, the wild life and plants that populate the place are amazing. A Wilder Time is a book for those who love nature and have that longing desire to learn the unknown, all hidden along the walls of the fjords of Greenland. 


The official release date is February 2018 but you can check out the book here:


g emil reutter is a writer of poems and stories. You can find him here:About g emil reutter