Fresh Water: Women Writing on the Great Lakes

2007 Michigan Notable Book ~ Now available as an e-book

East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State University Press

“Wonderfully edited and selected by Alison Swan. This is a sexy, sparkling book–full of history and families, reminiscences and ghosts.” –Patricia Clark, author of She Walks Into the Sea and My Father on a Bicycle


From the Introduction

This book is our invitation to revel in the pleasures of reading, to help us shape a language for the Great Lakes. It is also our invitation to deepen your acquaintance with Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, the sweet seas at the heart of the North American continent, that not so long ago were teeming with untainted fish, and drinkable, right from the shore.

From The Kettle, in Fresh Water

The brew pub was dark and cheerful, the air redolent of fresh beer. Next to my husband and me, a huge aquarium full of freshwater fish glowed brown-green. I was appreciating the nod to locality when a young woman poured a plastic bag of water and minnows into the tank. I watched the tiny silver fish dart or hang among the stones and weeds. Most were eaten immediately. One managed to evade capture for several long moments . I silently rooted for it. I am not a lighthearted person; when a bass gobbled it up, my stomach lurched.

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