August leavings

Hello noble readers. We’ve rounded a subtle curve in the year here on the peninsula. The canopy dries and rustles in a southwest wind, which some days swings to the north and beckons August southward under the stars. High summer has fledged and flown, as it does. We’ll be here when you return.

I write you this month with a brief whir of news — just a couple things I’ve been excited to share. They’re both made of ink and paper, one present and one forthcoming.

In the crown of the birch, sunlight comes in through the thin leaves and casts fluttering shadows. One could imagine living here in the tree.

The Glen Arbor Sun recently published an essay of mine about the work I (and many others) do with Great Lakes piping plovers here in Leelanau County. In it, I give a little sketch of the nesting season on North Manitou Island and try to answer, as best I can — if obliquely, a question I hear from time to time. Why should the survival of a little shorebird matter to us? In that question I catch a flash of a cosmology that is no less chilling for its familiarity. Couldn’t we survive in a fashion without them? Here is a paragraph from the essay:

When we protect the coastal dune habitat — simply give these fellow creatures some space to be — we enrich our own. Wealth, we might remember, is plenitude, fullness — there is perhaps no greater wealth than wildness close by. The poet Gary Snyder calls such pockets of intact habitat shrines, ‘the last little places where intrinsic nature totally wails, blooms, nests, glints away.’

There are no easy answers in this territory; one hopes to contribute a few subversive questions. This issue of the Sun is available for another week in paper form at reputable newsstands around the county.

Secondly, I am pleased to share that The Lune will publish my first book next summer. It is a collection of forty-two poems — some familiar to readers of the zine, many new — titled Drift Gestures. I can’t wait to loose these lines into the wild. The Lune is an independent press in Fort Collins, Colorado doing generous, spirited work. Joe and Indigo there have shown great confidence in my strange writings, and I am delighted to be working with them.

Once a publication date is set, I will be organizing some readings and discussions around the book, so if you have ideas for venues or collaborations, do get in touch! I’ll be traveling in Michigan, and I’m open to venturing further afield. I’d love for these poems, which are less mine than moving through me, to reach a few welcome roosts. Poems must leave the nest as well.

With that, I leave you to receive the poignant offerings of September: the sun’s angle, goldenrod at the verge, aster just arriving. Something has departed, and there’s privilege in staying behind. Until next month, my friends.