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Writing the Self In Nature

Poet Ariel Gordon makes her nonfiction debut with Treed: Walking in Canada's Urban Forests. We're thrilled to featuring this recommended reading list of titles that helped her become comfortable with writing personal essays, which the book comprises. 

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Standing on the sidewalk under a boulevard elm, looking up into its branches….that’s easy. All I need to do is step out my front door. But writing about it? Trying to describe what it’s like to live under the urban forest in a medium-sized city, how wonderful and threatened the trees are here and elsewhere? Well, that’s another thing altogether...

I feel like I’ve been prepping to write this book for half my life—when I was studying for my BSc and writing poems, when I was taking macro photographs of mushrooms in Assiniboine Forest and writing about then on my blog—but I only really started writing the essays that would become Treed four years ago. And I only really figured out how to write the essays I needed to write last year, after multiple drafts and abandoned stubs of essays.

Though not everyone’s comfortable with the personal essay, I discovered that it was the only way I could write about the trees, about urban nature. So I wanted to share a few texts that helped me to get comfortable with …

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