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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. 


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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