Release Date: September 6, 2021
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Field Guide to Invasive Species of Minnesota
by Amelia Gorman
Gorman's Field Guide to Invasive Species of Minnesota is a poetic journey into the strange and wonderful world known previously only to the wild. Take a walk through the woods of Minnesota, past the Salton Sea, into the high grass of the prairie, beyond the rivers and creekbeds, into a world of the near-future where nature rules all. After all, the biggest ecological danger of invasive species is the monoculture they create.
About the Author
Amelia Gorman lived in Minneapolis for fifteen years before moving to Eureka, California in 2018. She loves the tide pools, redwood forests, and kinetic sculptures of her new home but misses lakes, looking at snow with a hot drink in her hand, public transit, and Eat Street. You can read more of her poetry in Liminality, Star*Line, Vastarien, and other places. She also writes weird fiction, including stories in She Walks in Shadows from Innsmouth Free Press and Nox Pareidolia from Nightscape Press. Find her online on twitter at @gorman_ghast and www.ameliagorman.com.
Praise for Field Guide to Invasive Species of Minnesota:
"It’s a grim enough near-future Gorman foresees. Climate is an inanimate system. But each “beautiful and weird” invasive species obeys the universal prime directive: Survive, and then if you can, thrive. Not being alive in the case of the first threat and needing to stay alive in the case of the second render both these threats innocent. What about us? Doesn’t the prime directive apply to humans as well as the rest of animate creation? I say yes, it does. " --Tor.com
"Overall, this is an eerie collection, especially upon rereading. Amelia Gorman takes very innocuous, even deceptively helpful, species that are, by definition, invasive and turns their natural conquest into a near-future, preapocalyptic nightmare. What makes it more chilling is the cautionary aspect of this book. This is not a far-distant future, but one in which readers could very well be alive and experience. The subtle but overwhelming horror of this realization builds deceptively through the book until readers are left with a sense of dread upon completion. This is a magnificent collection that any horror reader will enjoy." --Cemetery Dance
"Amelia Gorman’s Field Guide to Invasive Species of Minnesota uses invasive flora and fauna as a jumping-off point for 21 speculative poems. The title entities include zebra mussels, spiny waterflea, trapdoor snails, mute swans, and flowering rush. Some of the invasive species depicted, like Norway maple and garlic mustard, were familiar to me; others, less so. This made me appreciate the illustrations, taken for the most part from open source and public domain sources, that accompanied each of the poems." --Lisa Timpf, SpecPo Blog
"A delicate blend of ecological awareness and mythological sensibility, Field Guide to Invasive Species of Minnesota lures the reader in with a semblance of clarity and rationality, and then tips you into a complex surreal world that resembles ours--it is ours--but is also not. I want to wrestle with some of these poems until they yield meaning, but they dance, just out of reach, evanescent and tantalizing." —Deborah L. Davitt, author of The Gates of Never
“A thoughtful and intelligent collection of one-page poems and elegant illustrations that slowly bud from gentle cricket song into a poison-leafed and weedy future. Field Guide to Invasive Species of Minnesota is a thorned and exciting imagining where each specimen is handled as if by a daring and sun-smeared trickster, the delight in getting muddy and making up stories proudly prominent, and a refreshing pleasure in a collection of nature poetry.” —Julie Reeser, author of Beak, Full of Tongue and Terracotta Pomegranate
"This good book by Amelia Gorman really struck a nerve. Minnesota was my happy summer home for decades. Then some hideous things called Zebra Mussels showed up in the water and somehow seemed to ruin everything. It never occurred to me to write a dystopian book about the horror and alienation these things caused. I wish I had. This is a clever and enjoyable chapbook that captures the mood of how our lives are invaded by change." —John Philip Johnson, Pushcart Prize-winning science fiction writer and poet
"Poems inspired by ecological destruction--both ongoing and potential--can be difficult to pull off. But Amelia Gorman has triumphantly managed it here, turning to 21 different invasive species as springs for 21 different poems, ranging from short brutal lyrics to more complicated prose poems. Leaping between the now and near-future, they offer warning and hope in near measure, with lovely and shocking images. If you've never connected mute swans and pianos before now, nor contemplated the full meaning of your desire for an unblocked view - well, you will after this. A timely and needed collection, especially recommended for readers interested in poems that straddle the lines between the literary and the speculative." —Mari Ness, author of Through Immortal Shadows Singing and Resistance and Transformation: On Fairy Tales.