Home Creative writing Anhinga Press lets poets smooth their way into an anthology

Anhinga Press lets poets smooth their way into an anthology


The birds, in words.

I am a devoted audience for our backyard mockingbird dwellers and Carolina Wren visitors.

But with a recent dip in a stack of gift books, I’m enjoying an anytime bird’s treat from the beloved and regionally created country Anhinga Press.

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With Anhinga Press’s “The Poets Guide To The Birds”, you’ll find nearly 200 poems by contemporary birdwatchers. Writers cover our region’s esteemed 850 poets such as Rick Campbell and Barbara Hamby, as well as far-flung poets I’ve followed for a long time, such as Pulitzer Prize-winning Natasha Trethewey and former American Poet Laureate Ted Kooser .

Most bird sightings are framed by light and its absence. But the vibrant word images of these beautiful and accessible poems accompany an after-dinner dessert or midnight snack. They can help soothe a 2 a.m. pain or enhance a morning cup of tea before dawn.

‘Its Latin name troglodytes troglodytes/ is a mouthful for a little brown bird /which weighs less than the smallest piece/ in a heart-shaped box /of chocolates.’ Excerpt from “Winter Wren” by Sally Green.

For forest and field birdwatchers, quail, turkey, and pheasant visit this volume, as do the late Pileated Woodpecker and Great Ivory Bill, rightly lamented by Van K. Brock, Georgia born, great poet, founder of Anhinga Press, who taught creative writing at FSU for three decades and is deeply missed by his many admirers.

My only ruffled feather on this volume?

It could be doubled in size. It is elegantly indexed in multiple ways, listing poems in geographic regions and by a specific winged friend. A bonus includes a chuckle-worthy page on avian collective names.

How many times have I patiently stopped my car to admire Canada geese crossing a street, not knowing that they can be considered a corner of geese? (Not just a gag!) Or that the multiple owls squawking in our suburban woods form a parliament?

“The Poets Guide To The Birds”, edited by Judith Kitchen and Ted Kooser, 2009. Anhinga Press (anhingapress.org) PO Box 3665 Tallahassee FL 32315.

Order from your favorite bookseller or anhingapress.org/about-our-books

Jan Godown Annino, MFA Hollins, former deputy editor of the Tallahassee Democrat, wrote “What to do with a derivative stick in the winter?” for an upcoming 2022 chapbook from the MoSt Poetry Center (California.)

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