One River is a series of haibun studies of the Hunter River and its tributaries. Haibun is a Japanese poetic form of prose punctuated by haiku. In this instance, the longer, but still brief, Korean sijo are employed as lively sketches of the birds, trees, weather and waterways encountered in the author’s wanderings. The heart of this book are unique meditations on the river and its hinterland. In their whimsical complexity —and leaps of imagination — they constitute overlooked truths, truths distinct from those that arise from objective observation. These poems are an immersive experience, one in which the reader might find a nascent sense of their capacity for flow as is manifest in the limber movements of waterfalling.
‘Armstrong has made something marvellous here: wise, open-hearted, austere, funny, moving, and about much more than a river. This work will find its place and speak well beyond our lifetime. It inspires me in many ways; it inspires me to get out in the wilds, makes me want to feel again that at-one-ment, that re-membering.’ – Mark Tredinnick