The Butterfly Collection

The Butterfly Collection

This is the first book to celebrate each of the 58 British butterfly species in verse. The poems mix fact and fun and will be enjoyed by those already passionate about butterflies whilst enthusing others to become so. Brief introductions to the poems explain aspects of the butterflies’ lives necessary to appreciate the poems fully. Many are dedicated to people who have inspired the author in his entomological career. All are wrapped in colour images from life, producing a splendid and enchanting book to be treasured.


Author: Richard Harrington
Publisher: Brambleby Books
Year of Publication: 24 April 2018
Format and Pages: Hardback, 120pp
ISBN: 9781908241566
Retail Price: £20
Our Discount Price: £18

Sample text from The Butterfly Collection

Wood White

Splitting Headache

The dainty and graceful Wood White

Has a quite unmistakable flight.

It lollops around

A few feet off the ground

But it sends me as high as a kite.

Beware, though, the Cryptic Wood White

Can fly at superior height,

And stronger as well,

So it’s easy to tell

Your identification is right...

...Except then there’s Réal’s Wood White –

Exactly the same at first sight,

But split inter-alia

By their genitalia,

Though, frankly, the difference is slight.

Duke of Burgundy

Your Grace

In days of old your province ranged

Through every southern down and wood.

Alas, your reckless servants changed

The nature of your neighbourhood.

Your downfall puts us all to shame,

For now your situation’s stark.

We’ll battle to restore your name,

Oh bold and handsome metalmark!

Your knights and serfs are on the case.

We’ll coppice hard with hook and saw

And soon you will return to grace

A duchy stretching shore to shore.



The Saint

Those modest wings you slowly beat

Are dusky so they capture heat

And cheer us on a cloudy day

Whilst lesser species hide away.

Your spirit in the gloom is prized

And has been rightly recognised:

Beneath your dark side several small,

Bright yellow halos say it all.


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Reviews and readers' comments

A joyous, lyrical and witty delight, wonderfully capturing the personality, magic and science of Britain's butterflies. --Patrick Barkham, author of The Butterfly Isles 

It will surprise no one who knows the author that most verses are infused with a happy wit, whilst some, including lines on 'The Gatekeeper', are surely serious poetry. I warmly recommend this collection: it is a book that can be dipped into, re-read and thoroughly enjoyed. --Prof. Jeremy Thomas OBE

Professional entomologist Richard Harrington provides a colourful insight into the world of UK butterflies in his book of original poems, The Butterfly Collection. Each species is treated to its own lyrical tribute, brought to life against a backdrop of striking images and accompanied by the author's own personal reflections and experiences. Light-hearted, educational and fun to read, this book would make a wonderful gift for budding lepidopterists and experts alike. - Katie Callaghan, Butterfly, Butterfly Conservation

The Butterfly Collection is definitely about butterflies but not as we normally see them. Richard Harrington has produced a wonderfully alternative take on the UK butterfly fauna offering a personal and often idiosyncratic perspective on our islands butterfly species.…The book is also lavishly illustrated with colour photographs of each species which enhance and compliment the whole experience of reading the poems. …The Butterfly Collection is an unusual fusion of the arts and sciences that have been blended with a large dose of the author's wit and obvious love of his subject, it is a celebration of the beauty and diversity of our butterflies that will be loved and cherished by all who read it. – Peter Smithers, Antenna, RES

This one isn’t something that can be flicked through – it needs to be savoured. The 100 pages contain poetry that is completely original, eccentric in places, funny, witty, interesting, informative and clever. They cover all the British butterflies, with no attempt at conformity. The pictures need to be there of course, but it is the poems that make the book, not the butterflies. Self-indulgent but in a very interesting way, this is a delightful poetry book, unusual and excellent. – John Tennent, Atropos

It's all tremendous fun and will entertain and delight butterfly lovers. – Peter Marren, British Wildlife

This is a very readable book and, surprisingly, packed with useful information. Not only is each sidebar informative, but the poem associated with each species is well-crafted and brings to life the essence of the butterfly - whether it is referring to its structure, behaviour, history or other aspect that is unique to the species. I have no doubt that many readers will come away enlightened as the nuances of each species are elicately interwoven within the overall structure of each poem. Just as importantly, each poem is an easy read and sprinkled with humour. This book may even encourage the reader to take more interest in our butterfly fauna. … (Full review here) - Peter Eeles, UK Butterflies, Dispar


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