Review by Tom Powers, Michigan in Books
I don’t envy the hard choices the editors had to make in selecting the poetry, fiction and non fiction included in this annual publication showcasing the best from what I consider the largest (geographically speaking) writers’ colony in the country.
Among the cornucopia of fine fiction, non fiction and poetry readers will find a profile of a Calumet hockey player who in 1916 was one of the first American born players to play for the Stanley Cup. He enjoyed a long career in both amateur and profession hockey and later in life became a pairs figure skater. The article also recounts some of the early history of professional hockey in the U. P. Then there is The Karate Club a short story in which seven fresh foods in a refrigerator, led by the Sensei Pickle, practice Karate in order to vanquish spoiled food. One of the virtues I like best in this annual collection is the wide diversity of styles and subjects in both fiction and nonfiction. It is a literary three ring circus. And that includes it’s host of poems from haiku celebrating Fiddlehead ferns, to a poem about a dead tree, or Michigamme Grades a poem that embraces the wonder of a place. They all share the magic of poetry represented by this stanza from Michigamme Grades.
“A place where time and essence meet in a dance
with the Milky Way and the flapping of a preening loon.”
I can’t help but comment on my favorite piece. It is an essay by Leigh Mills who cleans year-round and vacation homes in the Les Cheneaux Islands area. She enjoys her work and never tires of it because she takes short breaks or, as she calls them, “little vacations” in a favorite spot in each house where she enjoys, “the peace, quiet, and wonderful views… .” In conclusion she writes, “I focus on experiencing life…every moment is special, not fancy or filled with things…just joy in the smallest way. To be glad we’re alive, attuned to the greatness of life and the glory of the Universe is the attitude I carry with me and share with the world.”
Does anything else need be said?
U.P. Reader 7th vol. edited by Deborah K. Frontiera and Mikel B. Classen. Modern History Press, 2023, 170p., $19.95pb.
Read the full review on the Michigan In Books Blog