Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My Reflections West Wolf Essay

Lisa and David at "Reflections West" read a short piece I wrote about meeting a wolf, and pair that with my selection from Aldo Leopold's famous passage about watching a wolf die and the "fierce green fire" leave from its eyes, from A Sand County Almanac. Click on the link below to listen:


Thursday, January 17, 2013

More Kind Words for WDS

More kind words for WDS from the Register-Guard. Thank you Brian.

Charles Finn’s “Wild Delicate Seconds: 29 Wildlife Encounters” reads as if watching high-res video footage projected in the imagination and narrated by a world-class poet.

Finn’s details are more real than truth, adding elements of human understanding to descriptions of the natural world that remarkably convey the imprints he possesses.

Resignation and working man’s blues in the blunt faces of bison, a crane in flight as “the old machinery of the world lifting into the sky.”
Finn’s encounters become ours.

-- Brian Juenemann 

For the full post go to: http://projects.registerguard.com/web/livinglifestyles/28152436-41/century-esther-keesey-wild-finn.html.csp

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Here's a review I missed from Foreword Review:


Wild Delicate Seconds

29 Wildlife Encounters

Fall 2012 — ForeWord Review

For those who have lived in a landscape that is shared with wild animals, Wild Delicate Seconds will conjure the transcendent moments that occur between wildlife and humans. In a collection of “micro-essays,” Charles Finn describes his encounters with wildlife while living in the Pacific Northwestern United States. Although Finn admits to seeking some of them out, most occurred in a “chance encounter,” producing a “special quality … a timelessness, a residue of the sacred.”

As editor of the High Desert Journal and contributor to nature writing periodicals including Open Spaces, Northern Lights, Big Sky Journal, and High Country News, Finn has published widely in the genre. But it is his poetic gift that offers access to a reader who has not had his own wild encounter: “In the growing light pewter water reflects pewter sky and I watch how this flower-bird stalks: horror and beauty are at one in the dawn.”

Finn’s collection, however, is not one of drama; his quiet essays are deliberate and powerful, each one containing that nugget of surprise, such as the gentle quality of a passage both feminine and haunting: “Above the geese the soft colors of the afternoon deepen into a tremendous wound and a gibbous moon is birthed, shadows crawling over the snow to dissolve into the river.” His message, though understated, is clear: nature, if observed carefully, is transformative.

While not overly reflective, Finn does philosophize about the human condition and perhaps his own choice to live close to the wilderness: “We are given these days, don’t you know, to do with as we will.” Occasionally he lapses into the anthropomorphic, saying, ” I know my one wish above all others is to spend time with one of these cats, to hold and to pet one, to hear one of them purr.” It is Finn’s subtlety—while watching a herd of mountain goats on a rocky 9,000-foot slope—that conveys a hint of nihilism: “They crowd onto their narrow shelves, staring out of black button eyes onto their beautiful and indifferent world.”

Finn’s book should appeal to fans of nature writing and will be a welcome addition to undergraduate courses in that subject, environmental studies, or surveys of literature that include the traditions of Emerson, Dillard, Thoreau, and Whitman.

Kai White
WDS is being used in classrooms and I just stumbled upon this from Six Traits Gurus, a website:

"Featuring standards, traits, lesson ideas, and the BEST in current literature for young people" and "dedicated to providing you with the most up to date information on trait-based writing instruction and assessment”.

Jeff Hicks at Six Traits says this about WDS:

“Short, nonfiction informational essays. Intended for high school to adult audiences, but passages could be used across all grade levels and content areas … Finn’s perspective is that of a scientist/poet/storyteller/teacher and clearly, a lover of wildlife. These micro-essays will have a macro impact on your young writers.”

I love that last line.

The full version reads:

Charles Finn describes the contents of his book as a collection of nonfiction micro-essays—one to two pages in length, “…each one a description of a chance encounter I had with a member (or members) of the fraternity of wildlife that call the Pacific Northwest home.” Each piece is an exemplar of the many forms details might take in writing: sensory details, quotations, observations, facts, images, definitions, and examples. The author gathered information through close, purposeful observations of each animal, and recorded his descriptions and experiences in journals to be crafted later into these focused essays. From Bumble Bees: “I sit watching the bees, their inner-tube bodies overinflated, their legs like kinked eyelashes hanging down. The white noise of their wings soothe me…” From Water Ouzel (also known as dippers, my favorite bird): “The tiny bird dips and dunks…It is tiring to watch: knee bend, knee bend, knee bend, tail twitch, dunking, tail twitch, kneebendkneebendkneebend…” And from Western Toad (offering a counterpoint to The Wind in the Willow’s automobile loving character, Toad of Toad Hall): “It has eyes cowled like headlights, Popeye forearms, and skin that sags. It could be a burp from a tuba.” Finn’s perspective is that of a scientist/poet/storyteller/teacher and clearly, a lover of wildlife. These micro-essays will have a macro impact on your young writers.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Radio Interview MTPR

This link takes you to a radio interview I did a few months ago for Montana Public Radio. Thanks Cherie Newman and The Write Question for having me.


Review in The Oregonian

wilddelicateseconds.JPGView full size'Wild Delicate Seconds' by Charles Finn
Charles Finn
Oregon State University Press,
$16.95 paperback, 112 pages

Over the past 15 years, Charles Finn has lived in many places across the rural Northwest. In that time, he's also come face to face with some of the region's iconic wildlife. "Wild Delicate Seconds: 29 Wildlife Encounters" is a book of poetic micro-essays about his sightings. A black bear stops 30 feet from his cabin. A red fox shares a stream. A herd of bison plod past him and his truck, parting around him as if he were a stone in a river. "Because of the unexpectedness of these meetings," Finn writes, "they held a special quality for me. Always there was timelessness, a residue of the sacred, and a lingering feeling that I was witnessing something spectacular. And I was." Finn is the editor of High Desert Journal, a literary and visual arts magazine devoted to works about the interior West.

-- Katie Schneider

Short Review from Library Pirates

Friday, July 6, 2012

Wild Delicate Seconds: 29 Wildlife Encounters, Black Bears to Bumble Bees by Charles Finn

Each essay is brief, so I was tempted to gobble up another and another, but I think they'd be better savored one or two at a time. Fans of Aldo Leopold will swoon - these are similar in tone, and perhaps more accessible (less scholarly) than his Sand County essays.

While not all of his 29 creature encounters are native to Wisconsin, local nature enthusiasts still will appreciate his reflective, observational style. The language is gorgeous, and Finn has a knack for simile. My only criticism may be that he's a bit heavy-handed with the religious, spiritual end of his reverie - but Finn's is an easy-going kind of "gee whiz, observing nature sure proves there must be a higher power!"