Laura Erickson's For the Birds

Monday, April 18, 2016

A few lovely poems from J. Drew Lanham's wonderful Sparrow Envy

I love poetry, I love birds, and I love the magical spaces where birds and poetry intersect. One of my treasured friends, J. Drew Lanham, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology in the Forestry and Environmental Conservation Department at Clemson University, lives in what he describes as the shadows of the Blue Ridge Escarpment of South Carolina. He’s a great birder and a wonderful writer whose evocative poetry stirs my imagination and draws me into the warmth and magic of life in South Carolina the way Robert Frost’s poems draw me into rural New England. 

Drew just put together a gorgeous book titled Sparrow Envy, published this month by Holocene Press. I’d have been delighted enough had he given me permission to read a few of his poems. Imagine my elation when he agreed to read them himself, in his rich voice! (I didn't transcribe his poems to prevent unauthorized copying. If you can't easily read them from the images, click on them to hear the poems read by J. Drew Lanham himself.)

I’ve been overwhelmed with writing assignments lately, drawing me to his “Wild Wishes beyond Widgets.”

I’m directionally impaired, but always thinking about where I want to be, both geographically and metaphorically, so I find “Compassing” especially evocative.

Anyone whose eyes are drawn skyward as migrating birds pass over can be drawn into “A Dream of Swans.”

As night passes into morning and reality intrudes on our R.E.M., or “rapid eye movement” dreaming sleep, we may find a deeper purpose to our day if we open our hearts and minds to what J. Drew Lanham calls “Wren R.E.M.”

If you want to get an autographed copy of this splendid book of poetry, send $16 to:

J. Drew Lanham
112 Kirk Drive
Seneca, SC 29678

J. Drew Lanham