What We’re Reading: Sugar Mule – Women Writing Nature Issue
Posted by on November 18, 2013

On a rainy afternoon this past weekend, I found myself reading Sugar Mule’s Issue 41, which was their annual Women Writing Nature issue last year. With over 160 contributors, and packed with some wonderful fiction, nonfiction and poetry, this issue of the online journal is enough for more than a few rainy afternoons. Issue 41 is guest edited by Jeanetta Calhoun Mish.


Some of the pieces that really stood out included Nora Boxer’s “Ursa Minor,” a poem for a young bear killed by a hit-and-run driver in Woodstock, New York. Her language takes the reader to another place:

“nightbirds were dreaming
age threading the muscles
and you were
Ursa minor”

JoeAnn Hart, author of Float, begins her essay “An Unlikely Passion: The Lady and Cross Creek” with this first sentence:

“In 1928, thirty year-old journalist, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, originally from Washington D.C. and a Yankee to   boot, visited northern Florida on her honeymoon and discovered a full-blooded landscape that grabbed her by her soul.”

Like Boxer, Ann Beeman takes the reader deep into her story, without an over abundance of words. Her descriptions in “Dune Complex” invoke imagery:

“This is nothing like yesterday, the three of us wandering among black, Suess-like basalt forms, our progress and our horizon line continually interrupted with columns and walls, knobs and hollows.”

And now I end here with a sentence by Beeman, which is the first line in her essay — for the rain still falls, and there is more to read in this 468-page online issue:

“If you lie in the saddle between two dunes, day pack propping your head, sarong shrouding you knee to crown, you can imagine feeling the Earth’s movement around her axis.”

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  • Photo by Tyler Malone