Bright Stars, Dark Trees, Clear Water:

Nature Writing from North of the Border

This marvelous anthology gathers writers from the United States, Canada, and Europe to provide the best collection of North American nature writing ever put between covers. This is a vast canvas, but Wayne Grady covers it splendidly, from Pehr Kalm’s “Travels in North America” (1753) to Gretel Ehrlich’s moving essay about her encounters with seals in the frozen wastelands of the Arctic Circle (1992). It combines pieces by well-known and much beloved writers (Audubon, Seton, Mowat, Thoreau, Matthiessen, and Peterson among them) with lesser known texts by writers whose work will come as revelations.

Here is a geographic diversity that ranges from Henry Beston’s lyrical description of bird life on the St. Lawrence to Barry Lopez’s account of Banks Island in the Arctic. While nothing can replace the great books from which these excerpts were culled, these thirty-seven selections (often full chapters or extended passages) comprise the very best anthology of nature writing that has ever been assembled about Canada and the Arctic regions. These are writers who all felt the call of the wild, and who wrote about their experiences with passion for the land, compassion for its inhabitants, and a genuine sense of wonder — and often humor — that make for hours of fascinating reading.

Some of the authors featured in Bright Stars, Dark Trees, Clear Water:
John James Audubon, Henry Beston, John Burroughs, Gretel Ehrlich, Florence Page Jaques, Barry Lopez, Peter Matthiessen, Farley Mowat, John Muir, Grey Owl, Roger Tory Peterson, Ernest Thompson Seton, Henry David Thoreau, Catharine Par Traill, Walt Whitman

Wayne Grady has written fourteen nonfiction books and one novel, translated thirteen books from the French, and edited numerous literary anthologies. He received a Governor General’s Award and a John Glassco Prize for his work in translation. He currently teaches at the MFA program of the University of British Columbia.