“Between My Country — and the Others -- There is a Sea -- But Flowers — negotiate between us -- As Ministry.” — Emily Dickinson
As the world grapples with the tragic human cost of the global pandemic and its aftermath, the need for kindness and gratitude has become more important than ever. The Ministry of Flowers is in many ways a book for our times, one that offers hope in a changing world. The poems call into stark relief the brevity of human life, while also emphasizing the urgent need to connect with others and offer acts of kindness as a way of healing and moving forward. Taking its title from an Emily Dickinson poem, the book explores how flowers, both real and metaphorical, are at the heart of a kinder world. With a strong ecological focus, the poems celebrate nature’s continual ministry in our lives and highlight the need to respect the ecosystems that sustain us. The Ministry of Flowers speaks eloquently to a society in need, in which compassion as well as forgiveness (of both self and others) become the seeds of the gentler, fairer world we seek.
‘A truly compelling and original work.’ — John Sibley Williams
‘These poems will break your heart but leave you feeling uplifted, more grateful to be alive.’ — Faisal Mohyuddin
‘A collection that will resonate long after you have turned the last page.’ — Fiona Bennett
‘I’d begun to think that no poetry could reach me this year … I am, gratefully, shaken.’ — Valerie Wallace
‘A compassionate recorder of our fallible bodies, broken hearts and enduring loves.’ — Tamar Yoseloff
‘Poignant hymns to the transformative nature of life’s experiences. Uplifting, intelligent and immensely engaging.’ — Vanessa Gebbie
‘These poems reach right in and keep the glow of humanity burning. Incredible writing … they take my breath away literally, invoking more senses than I thought I had.’ — Hafsah Aneela Bashir
Winner of Able Muse and Fiction International fiction prizes, Andrea Witzke Slot is author of two poetry collections,To find a new beauty (Gold Wake Press 2012) and The Ministry of Flowers (Valley Press 2020), a collection which had been shortlisted for Eyewear Press's Beverly Prize and Black Lawrence Press's Hudson Prize. She has taught and mentored students ages 3-83; she was a primary teacher in the UK in the 1990s, and then taught at Collin College in Texas as a full-time faculty member while earning her PhD and, upon earning her PhD, joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Chicago.
While in Chicago, Andrea worked as an editor with Rhino Poetry and as the book reviews editor at Fifth Wednesday Journal. Andrea now lives London, where she is a contributing artist with Fiona Lesley's award-winning Poetry Exchange and works daily to capture the temporal beauty of the human and natural worlds through words, paint, piano and photography. A Hawthornden Fellow in 2019, Andrea is currently working on a novel and a forthcoming collection of art.
Watch the online launch of The Ministry of Flowers here, where various actors, poets and and creatives read from the book. □
Andrea's short stories have won prizes with Able Muse and Fiction International and her poetry has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes and for GOSS183's Independent Best American Poetry Anthology. Other work has placed as finalist, honourable mention, or runner-up in over a dozen competitions in both the US and the UK, including:
A Room of Her Own's Clarissa Dalloway Book Prize, one of two finalists for a first novel, selected by Kate Gale