Isle Royale Reflection
"As a writer, I have wanted to explore those places Thoreau called “mossy and moosey”—not only in my native state of Maine but also across North America. I have spent time in Newfoundland, Labrador, Alberta, and Alaska. I have wanted to be where the large mammals were—moose, bear, wolf, caribou. From my reading about wolves, and about moose, I had thought of Isle Royale as a kind of fantasy land, an island surrounded by a great expanse of water, somewhere to the west—a place to dream about, but not a place to actually be. A trip out to Isle Royale had never seemed a possibility until I learned of the Park’s Artist-in-Residence Program.
"Isle Royale" by Gary Lawless
A place where the wolves are wanted,
About the Artist*
Gary Lawless was an Isle Royale Artist-in-Residence from June 10th to June 25th, 1997. He says “I have always lived in Maine, where, as a child, I felt a great love for the outdoor world—the woods, the rivers, the ocean.” In high school he started reading poetry about the natural world and trying to write poetry. In college he focused on East Asian Studies, especially Chinese and Japanese poets. Instead of going to graduate school, he went to live at the California home of poet Gary Snyder and worked as his poet’s apprentice.
Homesick for Maine, he returned and has lived there ever since. He co-owns a bookstore with his wife, runs his own book publishing company (Blackberry Books), writes poetry, and teaches creative writing and environmental literature (currently at Bates College). “I have always felt that poetry is a useful way to bring voice back into the community, so I have led long-term writing programs with Maine’s homeless and disabled communities.” He has also worked with refugee families and prisoners and taught in an adult education program for six years.
Last updated: December 23, 2019