Featuring some of America's greatest writers and poets, this landmark anthology is a one-of-a-kind field guide to the American literary imagination.
Bird watching offers an encounter with the ineffable, with the transcendence of song and flight, with fragile and evanescent beauty. Birds raise our sights, elevate our thoughts, even as they prompt an earthbound reckoning with their strange and mysterious otherness. Americans have always been fascinated by birds and from the beginning American writers have captured this keen interest in a variety of genres: poems, journals, memoirs, short stories, essays, and travel accounts. Here literature professor and avid birder Andrew Rubenfeld, in collaboration with acclaimed writer Terry Tempest Williams, who provides a foreword, gathers evocative and surprising writings on birds and our fascination with them from an astonishing array of American poets and writers. The result is a literature of singular depth and beauty, with occasional flights of fancy in the mix.
Experience the exquisite beauty of Native American songs about birds. Accompany Lewis and Clark as they encounter new species, Audubon as he sketches near New Orleans, and Emerson and Thoreau birding together around Walden Pond. Delight in Sarah Orne Jewett's poignant tale of a snowy egret in the Maine woods and Florence Merriam's portrait of a winter wren in Central Park. Join Rachel Carson as she watches skimmers along the Atlantic coast and Roger Tory Peterson observing snail kites in the Everglades. And thrill to an impressive roster of modern and contemporary poets, including Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, Sterling A. Brown, Cornelius Eady, Mary Oliver, Linda Hogan, Louise Erdrich, and David Tomas Martinez, as they evoke the magic and haunting beauty of America's birds.