An injured dragonfly is picked from a car grill and placed on a rock to recuperate, only to materialize at a distant trailhead to usher the hiker toward a set of ancient pictographs he might have otherwise missed. This is the spiritual world of Michael Leeb, who captures his outdoor experiences in this collection of poetry. He contemplates the magpie's song as winter approaches, and reveals how the private courtship of two crows makes him avert his eyes. The poems in this collection ring with deep appreciation for indigenous culture and history, and how they were formed by the land itself. A reverence for those who came first, and the effects of time and natural forces like wind and water in shaping the natural world, are evident in Michael's work. Leeb's narratives get us off the couch and into hiking shoes, or a canoe, to appreciate the wild environment of southern Alberta that persists around us. He tells us to LOOK closer and SEE how crystallized salt on dark basalt stone looks like frost flowers. And how the Seven Sisters stone monoliths of the Crowsnest Pass resemble Stonehenge. His knowledge of paleogeography and geomorphology enlighten us as to how natural formations came to be over time in poems poignant with the interplay of nature and spirituality.
About the Author
Michael Leeb, of Anishnaabe and German descent is not only a poet but also a visual artist and fine art photographer who makes his home in the Crowsnest Pass area of southwestern Alberta. The land and nature are the inspiration for his work, and his poetry conveys his deep appreciation for the world around him and how it came to be the way it is. As he approaches a fissure in a rock, he contemplates how water and time may have done their work to create it, and commits the process to poetry. Michael has honed his writing craft in residencies at the Banff Centre and in Blairmore. His prints and photographs are displayed in the permanent collections of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, University of Alberta, Medalta Potteries Museum and Ino-cho Paper Museum (Japan).