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on March 9, 2002
This is Sarton's story of her quest for a home that will provide her with physical shelter and the space, solitude, and spiritual sustenance she requires to write. It is also the story of her search to bring all the various parts of her past - her parents and their European roots, precious physical keepsakes, and the spirits of those who had touched her life deeply - together under one roof.
Sarton finds what she was looking for in a run down old colonial house in the remote township of Nelson, New Hampshire. There she embarks on renovations and adjustments that profoundly change how she sees and lives her life.
For anyone who is interested in Sarton, Plant Dreaming Deep offers a revealing look at the artist's inner procees. It also allows us to see her in the context of a community. Over the course of time, we are introduced her many and charismatic neighbors. There is Bessie Lyman who lived in Turkey and speaks Arabic, Quig the deepely introspective artist, and Mildred his distinguished wife, Newt who helps her with woodchucks, and Perley who helps her transform her land into a garden. And then there are the people who are not physically present who nevertheless seem as real to Sarton as her next door neighbors. Set against the backdrop of the New England seasons, and defined by the various events and crises that occur in her personal and professional lives, the writing is rich with experience and Sarton's own peculiar blend of poetics and matter-of-fact whimsy. This is a book that any fan of Sarton will enjoy.
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on April 21, 2005
I don't know who reads May Sarton nowadays (hopefully at least students are still imbibing) for hers is a chosen art beholden to stillness and its plenitude, and we know the short shrift given to reflection in an oversized disposable culture. I do know that everything she's written holds magical lessons for every writer - her poems and journals are steeped in subtle lessons of patience, fearlessness and conscience. Plant Dreaming Deep (a title intended both as admonition and hopeful reflection) is a masterpiece. Part memoir, journal, survival guide, it's a kind of holy book for seekers searching the scrub of rocks and weeds. Sarton's intrepid gift has always been to secure for us the infinite contained in the small and unnoticed, to plant within the careful reader a kind of loving understanding to bloom unexpectedly farther on down the road, easing the load even as it deepens the search. Above all else, hers is an enlightening art that cannot lead astray. Quietly artful black and white photographs (of house and garden and friends - most by Lotte Jacobi and Eleanor Blair) are among the treasure found in the 1983 Norton paperback edition I own. Sarton's voice never fails; it's always rich and reasonable and true. It's easy to surmise that she's a overlooked writer, but if you really want what you're looking for, read May Sarton. Once born inside you, she's faithful to the end.
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on May 7, 2001
May Sarton is not for everyone, and in this text she goes even deeper into the contemplative stillness that marks her work. She writes beautifully about her life and the living creatures (human, vegetative and otherwise) that fill it. For some strange reason I read this book for the first time as a teenager, and it was a great antidote to the hormone-induced fervor of adolescent life. It actually made me look forward to what life would be like once I got old...
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on February 9, 2007
This is the first May Sarton book I ever read.

In this journal Sarton describes buying and moving into an 18th century broken-down house on thirty-six acres in a small New Hampshire village.

She chronicles for us the many varied emotions and pressures involved with getting the house repaired and renovated to her liking.

She describes moving in and then adapting (both as a writer and as a human being) to the solitude of living there alone.

She describes her relationships with many of the people (some of whom are unusual characters) that she comes to know living in Nelson.

She does very well in communicating all the sensory impressions that she experienced living right in the heart of nature and the outdoors.

I read it a chapter a day so that I could allow it to sink in slowly.

All chapters seemed well-paced (and not too long nor too short) and I didn't get bored anywhere along the way.

As a writer Sarton seems to have a nice gentle natural writing style.

I liked this (my first Sarton book) so much that I intend to read much more of her work.

I recommend this journal to you.
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on August 13, 2006
When you need to take a deep breath and destress, pick up this book. Sarton has a rich understanding of the rhythm of nature and lives often in harmony with it...and she will inspire you to do the same.
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on July 8, 2007
This was the first May Sarton book I read. I admit I had never heard of her and am not sure where I picked the book up. I now own a few of her works and will be buying more. This is a wonderful look at the life of a writer, a woman, who buys an older home in an isolated area, and starts a new chapter in her life. She immerses herself in the solitude in order to write, and to bring together different aspects of her life. The title is very appropriate as she talks a lot about gardening and plants AND dreams and hopes. I have passed this on to a friend to enjoy.
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on May 22, 2015
May Sarton! Why aren't people reading this insightful author anymore? Plant Dreaming Deep is one of her best books, full of her poetic thoughts and observations as she lives in an 18th century house on thirty acres in Nelson, New Hampshire in the late 1960s. Drama? Yes. Here is a woman in her mid forties, living alone with the power of silence, light pouring through the windows, and the ghosts of time. May describes herself as a passenger "inward and outward bound." She is a poet, a fierce writer, and every page gives the reader an enrichment. She eats dinner alone at her table with flowers, wine, and a book to read. Her adventures open up daily and go in all directions. The world of May Sarton is transcendent as she spends each day "tasting the air." If you are looking for a book to clarify how to appreciate living alone or just communicating with your environment, this is the story that will bring you on an inspiring path.
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on April 10, 2013
I have read a lot of books by May Sarton. They are written in a manner that makes me feel as if I am sitting across from her and she is just talking to me. Easy to read - very descriptive but not overly and she understands perfectly my love of quiet solitude.
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on February 25, 2013
I purchased this because I had found one of May Sarton's journal books at a literary bookstore in Northampton, Massachusetts. I wanted to read all of her "journals" releases. By the time you are finished, you feel like you know her as a friend. You share both her lovely musings and her candid opinions on people around her.
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on July 15, 2015
May Sarton was introduced to me by a wise and wonderful friend. I have read many of her novels and always feel that I am "LIVING" her moments of life at the time of the writings. I am always made calm and serene by her words and her simple yet wondrous examples of life living each day to its fullest. She is an American icon of memoir and poetry writing.
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