Birds in the Hand

Fiction and Poetry About Birds

Edited by Dylan Nelson and Kent Nelson

North Point Press

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A unique anthology of avian literature

From the myths of ancient Greece to the fables of Aesop, from Chaucer to contemporary poetry and fiction, birds are central to literature because they connect us intimately to the natural world. Whether we watch birds at our feeders, travel vast distances to identify rare species, or simply pause in a busy day to listen to the coo of a dove or the trill of a warbler, birds sustain us.

Birds in the Hand is a collection of contemporary fiction and poetry that explores the complex, often startling ways in which birds shed light upon our lives. In work from a diverse and celebrated group of contemporary authors such as Charles Baxter, T.C. Boyle, Jim Harrison, Flannery O'Connor, Pattiann Rogers, Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott, Ethan Canin, and Jorie Graham, birds are sources of inspiration, confrontation, and revelation.

These stories and poems take us from New York and Hoboken to the Salton Sea and the wilds of Montana, from a hardware store to the westernmost Aleutian island, from a prison to marshes, forests, and seacoasts.

Field guides and natural history books cannot capture the essence of why birds thrill us. Birds in the Hand uses the vitality and nuance of fiction and poetry to get at the heart of our mysterious sense of birds and the way they can reflect the brightest and darkest aspects of our own natures.

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Book Excerpts

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  Birds in the Hand
LI-YOUNG LEEPraise ThemThe birds don’t alter space.
They reveal it. The sky
never fills with any
leftover flying. They leave
nothing to trace. It is our own
astonishment collects
in chill air. Be glad.
They equal their due
moment never begging,
and enter ours
without parting day. See
how three birds in a winter tree
make the tree barer.
Two fly away, and new rooms
open in December.
Give up what you guessed
about a whirring heart, the little
beaks and claws, their constant hunger.

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About the Author

Edited by Dylan Nelson and Kent Nelson

Kent Nelson and Dylan Nelson are father and daughter. They both write fiction and have birded together for the past twenty-eight years. Kent's latest novel, Land That Moves, Land That Stands Still, will be published by Viking in 2003. He lives in Salida, Colorado. Dylan holds a BA in environmental biology from Yale and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Oregon, where she was an editor for Northwest Review. She lives in the Catalina Mountains of southern Arizona.

Dylan Nelson
Kent Nelson


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Available Formats and Book Details

Birds in the Hand
Fiction and Poetry About Birds
Edited by Dylan Nelson and Kent Nelson

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
North Point Press
October 2005
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429928052
ISBN10: 1429928050
392 pages

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North Point Press

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