Entries for the Second Annual Upper Peninsula Nature Writing Contest were received from across the Upper Peninsula –Munising and Ironwood, Copper Harbor and Newberry, Hancock, Engadine, Naubinway, Lake Linden, Chassell and Wakefield to Rapid River, Manistique, Marquette, Ishpeming and many towns in between. The Nature Writing Contest is sponsored by North Country Publishing of Skandia (Lon and Lynn Emerick) and the Falling Rock Café and Bookstore of Munising (Nancy and Jeff Dwyer) and was judged by five of the Upper Peninsula’s resident writers.
The contest winner (!) was Kathleen Heideman of Marquette, with her entry Attending Every Tiny Funeral.
Note: my essay was inspired by curiosity about burying beetles found on the Yellow Dog Plains. Last week, I spotted this lovely specimen:
* Probably Nicrophorus orbicollis (or possibly vespilloides).
The contest’s First Honorable Mention award went to Amanda Rogers of Copper Harbor for Whichever Season is Next. Contest judging resulted in a tie for Second Honorable Mention: Thomas Hoogterp of Engadine for his entry All in a Day’s Walk and Rachel Mills of Marquette who submitted Fiddleheads and Leeks. Noah Hausmann of Gwinn is the Third Honorable Mention winner for his entry: Can’t Wait to Get Back Home. Honorable Mention winners will be awarded gift cards from the Falling Rock Café and Bookstore and Gwen Frostic nature journals during September Nature Writing Evenings.
Evenings of U.P. Nature Writing, sponsored by North Country Publishing and the Falling Rock Café and Bookstore will be held on September 11th at 7:00 p.m. at the Falling Rock Café & Bookstore in Munising and also on September 24th at 7:00 pm in the Community Room of the Peter White Public Library in Marquette. The Marquette Arts and Culture Center is co-hosting the Library evening event. All entrants from the 2014 Second Annual Nature Writing contest have been invited to read their work and talk about nature writing with those attending. Members of the public are also invited to read their own nature writings; a list of favorite nature books will be available as a handout.
The evenings will include an Upper Peninsula photo presentation by Chris Burnett, U.P. Nature Photographer and Program Director with the U.P. Land Conservancy. The events are free and open to the public. For more information on the contest or the Nature Writing Events, contact Lynn @906-942-7879 or email@example.com
This just in: my watercolor painting “Isle Royale National Park: Syncline Shoreline” is included in the Lake Superior Art Association’s 38th Annual Members’ Show, on display in the lower level of the Peter White Public Library during the month of May. According to the MAAC’s website:
“This juried exhibit celebrates the coming of spring after a long U.P. winter which was spent engrossed in creativity. To recognize the achievements of these artists, prizes will be awarded. The show runs from May 7 through May 30, 2014 in the main gallery at the Marquette Arts and Culture Center. The artist and public reception will be held on Fri., May 30, 2014, at 6p.m. in the gallery. There will be great food made by local caterers, and as usual there is no charge to attend.”
Hot off the press! A new postcard is now available featuring my watercolor “Lake Superior Shoreline, Marquette MI.” Painted en plein air, it represents my attempt to capture a sliver of time — one specific, vivid summer afternoon spent sketching on the shore of the greatest of Great Lakes, just south of the Chocolay River’s mouth. A sand dune stabilized by lush marram grass… calligraphic pines… and the hazed blue humpback of Migisy Bluff (slip-strike feature of the Marquette Synclinorium) rising in the distance. A slice of heaven, am I right? All you have to add is the postcard stamp, and a heartfelt message.
Don’t miss this night on the town!
Readings by the U.P. Poet Laureate Finalists at the Vista Theater (218 Iron Street, Negaunee MI) on Wednesday, July 10 at 7 PM.
A literary powerhouse event! Come to the Vista Theater and learn the identity of Upper Michigan’s first-ever Poet Laureate!
The night will feature poetry readings and signings by the top five finalists for the first U.P. Poet Laureate Award: Elinor Benedict, Randall R. Freisinger, Eric Gadzinski, Austin Hummell and Russell Thorburn. Benedict, Freisinger, Gadzinski, Hummell and Thorburn were nominated by authors, bookstores and librarians across the Upper Peninsula. Marty Achatz, Kathleen Heideman, Beverly Matherne and M. Bartley Seigel (who were also top ten finalists), will introduce the top five finalists. Books will be available for purchase following the reading (via Snowbound Books). In addition to the authors, actors from the Peninsula Arts Appreciation Council will be reading selected works by the finalists, and the entire event will be hosted by poet Janeen Rastall.
The poets were selected for their exceptional talent. They have been widely published and have distinguished careers in the U.P. as teachers and promoters of poetry. Elinor Benedict of Rapid River is the founding editor of the literary magazine Passages North. Her recent books include Late News from the Wilderness and All That Divides Us. Randall R. Freisinger is an emeritus professor of Humanities at Michigan Tech University in Houghton. His four books of poems include Running Patterns, Hand Shadows, Plato’s Breath and Nostalgia’s Thread. Eric Gadzinski is an associate professor of English at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie where he was one of the founders of the LSSU creative writing program and literary journal. His poetry collections include Lotus Eater, Sweetgrass and Road’s End. Austin Hummell is a professor of English at Northern Michigan University in Marquette. His books include Poppy and The Fugitive Kind. Russell Thorburn has taught in U.P. schools through the Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs, at Marquette Branch Prison and at Northern Michigan University. He is the author of five books of poems: Approximate Desire, Father, Tell Me I Have Not Aged, The Drunken Piano, The Whole Tree as Told to the Backyard and Misfit Hearts.
Price: Free! As in “free verse.”
Pleased to note that I’ll have work appearing in the soon-to-appear edition of Lit UP — a “literary magazine for the U.P., celebrating the literary community of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We are looking for fresh, new, unpublished work by writers of poetry, fiction, and essay who are influenced and shaped by this place.” The new issue of Lit UP will include three of my poems:
You Reading This Sign, Stop
Further Advice for Poets from Editors of Literary Journals
Some Things Aren’t Meant to Mix
Sneak preview — first stanza from You Reading This Sign, Stop – inspired by a summer I spent living in Big Bay Michigan.
“I know the place you meant to reach
by driving like that, half mad on
hope and brandy-old-fashioneds.
The road don’t go there anymore, friend.
It ain’t happening, tonight.”
Winter make that Spring! on the Yellow Dog Plains. Deep, deep snow still covers the plains in mid-March, Vernal Equinox — far more snow than elsewhere in Marquette. I skied in with a friend, and we enjoyed several beautiful days in the snug Winter Cabin. During this time, it continued to snow on the plains. All my woodpiles were buried! Triple A was drifted shut west of the Salmon Trout.
Above: West Bentley Pond in deep snow, March 2013.
Above: Two views of the Winter Cabin, view of the Gleaning, and view of the Triple A road, buried in snow.