Windbown I,’ edited by Lis McLouglin; upcoming book launches at Odyssey Bookshop

Writing the Land: Windblown I

Edited by Lis McLoughlin; NatureCulture LLC

The beauty of nature has inspired countless writers and other artists since time immemorial. That beauty has also inspired any number of people to try to preserve the natural world around us, from forests and fields to mountains and seashores.

These two tribes come together in “Writing the Land: Windblown I,” a collection of poetry, other writings, photographs and prints designed to recognize the work of select land trusts across the country, including the Hilltown Land Trust in Ashfield.

The collection is edited by Lis McLoughlin, a writer and publisher with a background in engineering and science, who is partly based in Northfield. McLoughlin has edited and published a number of other books in the “Writing the Land” series, which she founded.

For each of the 11 trusts and other organizations that are part of “Writing the Land: Windbown I” — they range from Washington state to Kansas to the Northeast and New York City — poets have contributed work inspired by visits to these preserves countries.

JuPong Lin, an interdisciplinary artist from Amherst, writes of her explorations of a Hilltown Land Trust property, Conwell, in the woods of Worthington, a place where she considers the history of the land: “A stone wall calls us off the trail—built / by Pocumtuc from Nipmuc? / Or white settlers? We listen for / the history of the stones.”

Lin delights in the small details of nature as she walks along a small pond on the property: “In the shade of mushrooms adorned / hemlock and pine / foxfires blued twigs and tender / rippling of a stream / melting mysteriously into damp / leafy earth silence / our happy talk.”

In addition to Lin’s poems, “Writing the Land” includes information about Conwell’s trails and habitats that inspired her writing, original pen-and-ink illustrations, photographs and a hand-drawn map.

Some of the book’s poems and photographs celebrate an entirely different kind of terrain: the sweeping prairies of Kansas. “Flint Hills,” by Denise Low, is an ode to the vast skies and vistas of a part of the state where tallgrass prairie has been preserved amid rolling hills.

“Some days thunderheads explode in the sky with lightning/ so loud that the earth shakes. Rainbows follow. // Millions of stars stain the night. All the people who once lived here / surround us. Red-tailed hawks are watching.”

In a statement, McLoughlin said “Writing the Land” is about honoring nature and our relationship with it.

“As poets and advocates, we wanted to contribute to conservation and environmental awareness with our work – to inspire others to visit or donate to the protection of these ecosystems, habitats, sanctuaries, farms and wilderness reserves.”

More information about “Writing the Land: Windblown I” is available at The collection is also available at Amherst Books, Ashfield Hardware, Book Moon Books in Easthampton, Broadside Bookshop in Northampton and Chesterfield General Store.

In other book-related news, the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley has already hosted a number of author visits this month, and the schedule is getting even busier, with some acclaimed authors coming to discuss new work.

On 23 March at Kate Zernikea Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist, will talk about “The Exceptions,” a story about female faculty members at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who confronted the school with entrenched discrimination and forced MIT to admit wrongdoing.

Zernike, who originally broke the story in 1999 when she wrote for the Boston Globe, centers her book on 16 accomplished female MIT researchers who fought back against “decades of underpayment and denial of credit, advancement and equal resources to do their work,” as the blurbs say.

Zernike, the daughter and granddaughter of scientists, will speak in Hooker Auditorium at Mount Holyoke College in an event co-sponsored by the school.

On March 28 at 7 p.m., Odysseen welcomes you Catherine Laceynamed one of the country’s best young novelists by Granta, to discuss her new novel, “Biography of X.”

Named a most anticipated book by several publications, including The New York Times, Esquire and The Guardian, “Biography of X” takes place in part in an alternate America divided into competing territories.

The story is narrated by CM, who attempts to write a biography of his late wife, X, an “iconoclastic artist, author and polarizing shape-shifter”, but discovers in the process how little she actually knew about X.

Blending nonfiction and fiction, “Biography of X,” as one critic puts it, is a “triumphant high-wire act: all the breadth of a 19th-century classic with the drive of a psychological thriller.”

And on March 29 at 7 p.m., Oscar-nominated filmmaker and novelist John Sayles will discuss his newest book, “Jamie MacGillivray: The Renegade’s Journey,” a meaty historical novel set in the mid-18th century, spanning from Scotland to England to Colonial America.

The novel’s eponymous Scottish hero, Jamie MacGillivray, narrowly escapes execution for fighting British forces and is instead sentenced to indentured servitude in America, where he crosses paths with Jenny Ferguson, a poor English girl also sent in chains to the new world.

Featured in the story are real-life figures from that era, including writer Henry Fielding, artist William Hogarth and a young, ambitious George Washington.

The New York Times calls Sayles’ new novel “remarkable in that it manages to be both sweeping and intimate, delivering to the reader the tides of political history but also a moving and internalized portrait of two young people swept along by those tides .”

Sayles will be joined in conversation by Daniel Czitrom, a former professor of history at Mount Holyoke College and author of a series of books about late 19th-century New York City.

To register for any of these lectures, visit and click on the “Events” link.

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