Heirlooms are book reviews of works that have played an important role in the environmental movement or have otherwise contributed to the literature of environmental consciousness. 

Sudden Spring: Stories of Adaptation in a Climate-Changed South
by Rick Van Noy

University of Georgia Press, 2019

Reviewed by JULIE DUNLAP

A fast eroding coastline baffled author Rick Van Noy on a recent drive through Louisiana’s bayou country.

The Secret Lives of Glaciers
by M Jackson

Green Writers Press, 2019

Reviewed by JENNA GERSIE

The Secret Lives of Glaciers is best read with a cup of coffee. In her acknowledgments, geographer and glaciologist M Jackson thanks her friends who “helped me access the ice, provided support in the community, and poured more coffee” (xi). It is the conversations and observations over caffeine that make the book, for it is the stories about ice, more than the ice itself, that interest Jackson here.

The Library of Ice: Readings from a Cold Climate
by Nancy Campbell

Scribner, 2018


At the end of the author’s time in Upernarvik in March, she reflects that “The ice was beginning to disappear—and before it vanished I wanted to learn what words it would teach me.”

One Size Fits None:
A Farm Girl’s Search for the Promise of Regenerative Agriculture
by Stephanie Anderson

University of Nebraska Press, 2019


Even readers who are not directly involved in food production will come away from this book as more informed consumers, able to make better decisions about purchasing the food that sustains us, and with a much deeper understanding of how agricultural production has changed. And how it will—how it must—change again.

Watershed Redemption: A Journey in Time on Five U.S. Watersheds
by Diana Hartel

Madrona Arts Press, 2018


As she makes clear throughout the book, when it comes to the health of watersheds, things look bad, desperate even, but Hartel has chosen to write a manifesto instead of an elegy.

In the Watershed: A Journey Down the Maumee River
by Ryan Schnurr

Belt Publishing, 2017


Our guide shows the ways in which the river has continued to evolve, defining and redefining its course (not to mention local cultures) well after the last glaciers receded from this part of the country.

Telling My Father by James Crews

Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2017

Reviewed by RAY HUDSON

This is a mastery I have to trust. This is poetry at its most powerful; that is to say, at its most subversive. Images and lines and music all combine to transform me even as they carry me from beginning to end in one deft movement. I accept what the poem says unconditionally whether or not, on reflection, I buy into the philosophical theories at its core.

Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett

Riverhead Books, 2017


As you acclimate to the narrator’s consciousness, you’ll realize that some things are obviated so that other things can sing. All of Bennett’s true focal points are microscopic (the plastic cook nobs on her stove, the way fruit sits in a ceramic bowl, the party guests in spatial relation to the chaise lounge, the sounds of frogs in rain).

To Look Out From by Dede Cummings

Homebound Publications, 2017

Reviewed by TIM WEED

A keen and patient observer of the New England landscape, Cummings beckons us into her poems with images so transfixing that they’re impossible not to visualize.

Winterkill by Todd Davis

Michigan State University Press, 2016

Reviewed by JAMES CREWS

Gratitude and wonder radiate from each of Davis's poems, rendering them sacraments for readers lucky and openhearted enough to receive them. Surely Winterkill will solidify Davis's reputation as one of our most fearless, attentive chroniclers of the natural world, which he shows, over and over, must also include humans.