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The Ministry of Flowers

by Andrea Witzke Slot

Poetry of kindness, gratitude and compassion for a healing world.

“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


Andrea Witzke Slot is a London-based poet and fiction writer. After teaching for many years (primary school in the UK, then at Collin College in Texas and at the University of Illinois at Chicago after earning her PhD), Andrea now lives in London where she works as a contributing artist with Fiona Lesley's Poetry Exchange and tries to capture the unexpected beauty of humanity and nature in words, paints, and photography. Her publications include To find a new beauty (Gold Wake Press 2012), a poetry collection inspired by H.D.'s Sea Garden poems.

Her second collection, The Ministry of Flowers, was published by Valley Press in November 2020.


Edition: First

Date Published: 2020-11-02

ISBN: 9781912436439

Catalogue Number: VP0171

Number of Pages: 104

Cover design by Jamie McGarry

Cover illustration by the author

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