Yesterday I walked up the brick walkway from my little writing shed to find that a small cardboard box had been placed outside our door—kind of decoratively it seemed to me. Perhaps the deliveryperson has a sense of drama.
In our household, we quarantine deliveries for at least 24 hours (Covid-19!) but I leaned in to read the label: “Author’s Copies”! Inside lay pristine copies of A Fine Canopy: Poems by Alison Swan—my new book.
All I want to do is throw open the doors to our home and say to everyone I know, Come on over! Let’s eat, drink, and be merry! Tomorrow we may die but today I am full of joy I want to share! Every single one of you, even if you are a stranger to me, has made this book possible. I mean this quite literally. A Fine Canopy is my missive, especially to anyone who will pause to read a post about a new book.
What is A Fine Canopy about? Well, canopies, for one thing, as in uppermost branches in a forest, covering, firmament; as in, especially, shelter. All my life, I have engaged with wild places and wild things in a half-conscious attempt to hear their voices and to feel their worlds, both of which I now know, as surely as I know anything, exist. Bracing! It is surely unfashionable to talk about wild places or wild things, but will anything humans cease to engage with endure? And that is another thing A Fine Canopy is about: ongoingness.
I can’t invite you all over to talk about such things in person (Covid-19!). But in October you will be able to have your very own copy. For now you can preorder from your favorite bookseller. Click here to order from Literati Bookstore. I do hope you will buy a copy or maybe two.
Many thanks to Wayne State University Press and to book publishers everywhere. May we always have books full of literary artwork to keep us company along the way.
And many thanks to you for reading all the way to here. Here is a link to more information.
I don’t know that it is “surely unfashionable to talk about wild places or wild things,” — on the contrary, I think many of us have a great hunger for them in these days of human chaos. Congratulations on the book–I look forward to plunging into some of those wild places and things with you.
Thanks Jan. I’m glad you pushed back on that because I felt a little uneasy as I wrote it. I guess by “unfashionable” I mean, not mainstream. My Apple News headlines, for instance, which I try to keep as random as I can so that I get a wide variety of headlines from a wide variety sources, show me almost nothing about anything other than the human story. It was probably inevitable that all the mocking of nature writing and nature writers that has gone on by gatekeepers would lead to a situation where even environmentally aware people mostly talk about environmental threats to humans. This makes me especially grateful for contemporary writers like J. Drew Lanham, Camille T. Dungy, and Aimee Nezhukumatathil, all of whom revel in the more-than-human. I totally agree with you about that hunger, though. Do some people lose track of it? Ignore it? Or really not have it at all? All of which is not to suggest for a single second that threats to humans are not dire, unjust, and worthy of our ongoing attention! Sigh.
I’m so thrilled for you! I just ordered a copy of the book through Indiebound. Looking forward to reading it in October.
P.S.: I’m also really jealous (in the nicest way!) that you have a writing shed!
Thanks so much Wini. You were there when some of these poems were born. About the shed: It has surely saved my mind. And for that I am grateful!
Soooo thrilled to see this. What a joy and warmest congratulations!
Thanks Anne-Marie! And thanks for giving the first poem in the book its first home: Seiche Ways!