One Year in Nature, Shared by Two Poets

Discovering each other as they discover and rediscover the natural world of Crane Creek, Ohio, a pair of poets celebrate “the simple savage truth of being here.”

The focus of this collection (which is in fact “bifocal,” since it is written by two poets, Robb and Vanessa) is on nature: the animals, plants, and weather through the seasons of one year. Special attention is paid to the many species of birds, but we also spy on and learn about snakes and turtles, crickets and bees, raccoons, foxes, deer, and dozens of denizens bright and beautiful. It’s as if we're seeing these creatures for the first time, which is in fact true in many cases for Vanessa, who is a newcomer to American wildlife, “a land learned slowly through the seeing.” But the wonder is not lost on Robb, who grew up among these shores, woods, and riverbanks.

“We began to go up from Bowling Green to Lake Erie every Sunday,” Vanessa remembers. “We walked, we watched, we listed and noted. When we got home we wrote the poems, often one each per week. We never consulted while in the process of writing and were often quite startled by each other’s take on the day’s events; but after a while, we realized the poems were speaking to each other. Of course we were seeing everything together. That was the point.”

The poems celebrate a sense of place. The seasons change, from the splendor of fall to the silent white of winter to the gush of spring to the heat of August. Beauty, of course, in all seasons. But the poems don't shrink from nature’s dangerous strength, its earthiness, and the rapacious death that serves to keep nature going.

In this book's narrative, the wonders of nature are wonderful because they are enjoyed during the giddy first year of an intense relationship. Thus the Crane Creek that these lovers visited on Sundays was a strange new land, both literally and metaphorically. The intense year was not entirely easy, complicated as it was by the end of Robb’s first marriage and by his separation from his children. The emotions, both joyful and painful, are mostly expressed through poems about nature, and close to the surface of each poem is the message that the experience is shared, and will be shared. “We will follow, we said, the current of lightfall far downstream…and this will never end.”

Robb and Vanessa Jackson met at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, where both earned advanced degrees: MFAs in Creative Writing and PhDs in English. They now live in a very different landscape, on the Gulf of Mexico, where they are Professors of English at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, teaching literature and writing.

Crane Creek, Two Voices
by Robb Jackson and Vanessa Furse Jackson
ISBN 978-1-56474-511-8
96 pages, cloth, $14.00

For ordering information, click here
or phone (800) 662-8351
or order this book now!