Mar 17 2017

On ignoring the news for a minute

A couple of days ago, I was the fortunate recipient of a songbird's wakeup call. Our family calendar and the texting app on my phone had my full attention, but not ten feet away on the other side of our back door a bird was making a racket, chipping and fluttering about. Here's what went through my head in the space of about three seconds: Don't move. Don’t look. Maybe the wrens are back, and they are shy. Last week, the day before an unprecedented windstorm blew through Southeastern Michigan, Read more [...]

Mar 8 2017

Thank goodness for bookstores

Look what I stumbled upon today at Literati Bookstore in downtown Ann Arbor, a little reminder of what fear can cause and why we need to be vigilant. "When we're afraid, we lose all sense of analysis and reflection. Our fear paralyzes us. Besides, fear has always been the driving force behind all dictators' repression." --from The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi I'd never heard of the author or the book, but I knew right away I wanted to share these words here. It turns out that The Read more [...]

Jun 21 2016

Garden as Artist’s Studio, Workshop as Garden

Much as I embrace No Attachment (and I have posted little signs above my desk that remind me of that), I feel that writing poems, indeed making art of any kind, demands abundance and wholeheartedness. And I really do mean demands. Please note that I am most definitely not talking about buying things, the sort of abundance promoted by catalogues, shopping websites, and things like Pinterest and even Etsy. I’m talking about the kind of abundance that is: trees full of leaves in June in the Great Read more [...]

May 10 2016

Color, Beauty, and the Birds and the Bees

A male northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) just lighted upon the spruce in the neighbor's wild patch outside our kitchen window. The bird is much brighter now than in February, the tree's needles much greener. A bit of movement a few branches away draws my eye to the female, with her elegant muted buff and blush feathers, and an orangey-red beak that points to the colors of the male. The flare of his crimson plumage against the dark green needles and the way the complementary colors Read more [...]

Mar 12 2016

Ross Gay in Ann Arbor Today (and Yesterday)

Yesterday evening I had to choose between going to hear M. Scott Momaday or Ross Gay and friends read their work. Oh the riches. I decided to go hear the author of Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (Gay) because Keith Taylor’s excellent review of Gay’s work, in The Ann Arbor Observer, reminded me that Gay is one of the poets whose work makes me want to go home and write poems (as many poets’ work does, to tell you the truth) and throw my arms around this gorgeous flawed world, both, at the Read more [...]

Oct 19 2015

Eco Book Club at Literati Bookstore

I have so much to tell you. For one thing, just the other day I tasted my first pawpaw, straight from the wild grove that's thriving in our neighbor's backyard. For another, I heard Gary Snyder read his poems in the big tent at White Lotus Farms last month--always a sublime experience for me. But for the time being I'm tied up with some compelling undergraduates, and while I wouldn't have it any other way, I do miss writing about cool things I come across out in the world. One of the in-person Read more [...]

Jul 17 2015

Stumbled Upon This in Ann Arbor

Yesterday, before the humidity and crowds hit, I meandered around the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair on my annual solo forage for something there that stops me in my tracks. I'd already spent a few hours wandering happily in and out of booths, fueled only by a candy bar and a great big hunger for art, and was on my way back to my bike, when I happened upon the work of Albuquerque printmaker, Ray Maseman, stepped out of the flow of other meanderers, and settled in for some nice long looking. I left Read more [...]

Jul 9 2015

My Third E x p r e s s i o n s i n I n k at Water Street Gallery

As a poet, one doesn't get (or expect) a lot of assignments, so I find this annual event especially enjoyable, if nerve wracking. As a lover of visual art, especially paintings, I appreciate being challenged to view, respond to, and write, in a very short period of time (this year, just four days), about new work on exhibit now at the Water Street Gallery in downtown Douglas, Michigan. I'm working on a poem that engages two pieces from Acoustic Abstractions: "Arabesque," by Toni Doilney (detail Read more [...]

Apr 17 2015

Early Spring in Bird Hills

This is Bird Hills, Huron River Watershed, southern Lower Peninsula of Michigan.   Read more [...]

Apr 6 2015

If You’ve Never Birded, and Especially if You’re Stuck Somewhere You’d Rather Not Be

I was richly rewarded the other morning for leaving my (well-beaten) paths. I live up-bank from the Huron River, near a one-lane bridge. I crossed it on foot then headed up into the hills, a route I’ve never followed before. I’m an inveterate walker, but I sometimes forget to wander. These hills are thickly settled in that semi-enlightened exurban way: the land’s not been so tidied up that wildlife’s been pushed out. There is quite a lot of what some call scrub and others know as ecologically Read more [...]