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Touch the Sky: Tree Poems

In Worth More Standing: Poets and Activists Pay Homage to Trees, celebrated poets and activists pay homage to the ghosts of lost forests and issue a rallying cry to protect remaining ancient giants and restore uncolonized spaces.

Themes of connection, ecology, grief, and protection are explored through poems about trees and forests written by an impressive number of influential poets, several of whom have attended the recent Fairy Creek blockades and still others who defended BC's old growth trees in Clayoquot Sound nearly 30 years ago.

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Want To Touch The Sky?
—Rae Crossman

touch
the tip
of a young spruce
go about your life for twenty
or thirty years
come back
lie down
on the needle bed
look up
and see
your finger print
on a cloud

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Evergreen Lines
—Rob Taylor

a crow bends the tip of a four-storey pine

wind high in the pines—this morning’s rain still falling

standing and standing... deep-winter pines... my tongue gone dry

pines bent under snow—springs awaiting spring

finally sunlight wild from the swollen creek warms the inner pines

drifting spring clouds—one thousand greens in the pines, then a thousand more

almost back inside the dream—full moon pine shadows

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“At the last judgement we shall all be trees” —Margaret Atwood

—Pat Lowther

Trees are
in t …

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TreeTalk-ing or, "How I Became a Serial Poetry Monogamist"

Ariel Gordon, award-winning poet, brings things together—people, ideas, forms and genres, and more. She is author of essay collection Treed: Walking in Canada's Urban Forest, and her latest release is TreeTalk, her third poetry collection.

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It was a midnight proposal.

I was a long-time admirer of Synonym Art Consultation’s residency program, which took place at The Tallest Poppy, a Jewish diner/hangout in Winnipeg’s West Broadway neighbourhood.

One night, after a good half hour of browsing SAC’s website like it was a dating site, all I could think was: “I want to do one of those!” And: “But what could I do?”

At that point, I was halfway through the writing of my collection of essays, Treed: Walking in Canada’s Urban Forest, which means I was (and still am!) obsessed with all things arboreal.

And while I was officially working on Treed, I am a serial poetry monogamist, which is to say that I’d published two collections of poetry (Hump and Stowaways) and generally made it my mission in life to convert non-believers to poetry.

At events, I’d shamelessly try to steal prose-writers’ audiences. My favourite thing, afterwards, was to hear people say, “You know, I don’t read poetry usually, but that was really interesting…”

(And yes, if you …

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Launchpad: Legacy of Trees, by Nina Shoroplova

Today we're launching Legacy of Trees: Purposeful Wandering in Vancouver's Stanley Park, by Nina Shoroplova, which Wayne Grady calls "a fascinating answer to why we should care about trees in the first place." 

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The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence:

Legacy of Trees: Purposeful Wandering in Vancouver’s Stanley Park tells the stories of the trees of Stanley Park through the eyes of an amateur botanist and researcher who has much to learn and appreciate.

Describe your ideal reader.

A Vancouverite or a British Columbian who loves our world-class park and wants to learn more about it, especially how the stories of its trees also tell the story of Vancouver.

What books is your work in conversation with?

Gerald B. Straley’s Trees of Vancouver. Alison Parkinson’s Wilderness on the Doorstep. Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World.

What is something interesting you learned during the process of creating and publishing your book?

I set myself the mission of getting to know Stanley Park well enough to be able to confidently call to call it “my park.” To do this, I realized I would have to wander it purposefully, path by path, plaque by plaque, monument by monument, tree b …

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Launchpad: A Forest in the City, by Andrea Curtis

Launchpad Logo

This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter, great insight, and short and snappy readings to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today it's Earth Day, and we're launching A Forest in the City, by Andrea Curtis and Pierre Pratt, a book which "imagines a city draped in green."

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The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.

It’s a lushly illustrated kids’ nonfiction picture book that looks at the many benefits trees bring to cities and the challenges they face growing in a harsh urban environment.  

Describe your ideal reader.

Lives in a city and loves to dig in the soil, and roll in the gra …

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Seeing the Forest AND the Trees

Book Cover A Forest in the City

A Forest in the City, by Andrea Curtis, illustrated by Pierre Pratt, is the first in Groundwood Books’ new series ThinkCities about sustainability and urban systems. It looks at how trees in the city help mitigate climate change and help us all stay healthy and well. Author Andrea Curtis marks its April publication with a list of books for young people about trees. 

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Trees and nature have provided balm for the stress and anxiety of our lives since, well, forever. But perhaps no more so than in the midst of this pandemic. There can be little that is more soothing than to inhale the smell of green things growing, to gaze up at the swaying branches of a forest and know that these giants persist despite it all. But when self isolation and physical distancing has got your family cooped up, the next best thing might just be reading picture books (fiction and nonfiction) about trees. Here’s a list of some standouts in the category.

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Picture Books

 

The Night Gardener, by Terry Fan and Eric Fan

This fantastical and moving story of a topiary genius, who c …

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Reading Beyond Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! These books celebrate nature and the wonders of the world around us, underlining why it matters so much that we take care of what we've got. 

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Birds, by Robert Bateman and Kathryn Dean

About the book: At a time when bird species are disappearing rapidly, the poignant beauty of Robert Bateman's paintings is more urgent than ever. It reminds us why Bateman was compelled to study and paint his subjects and why we must work to secure their futures.

Bateman has sketched and painted bird life in every corner of the globe. His special relationship with some of the planet's most beautiful and fascinating creatures is captured here in an elegant volume that will appeal to bird lovers and art lovers alike.

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Cleaner, Greener, Healthier: A Prescription for Stronger Canadian Environmental Laws and Policies, by David R. Boyd

About the book: In Cleaner, Greener, Healthier, David R. Boyd sets out to remedy Canada’s environmental health problems. He begins by assessing the environmental burden of disease, identifies its unequal distribution, and est …

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