Category Archives: Essay

Pouring on salt

The Afterlife

From Kenyon Review, July/August 2016. A salmon’s second journey begins with its “collection.” At the Cole M. Rivers Hatchery north of Medford, Oregon, the crowder is drawn through the holding pond once a week, May through August, pushing the fish toward the rear, toward the […]

Panther and Cubs by Edward Kemeys

Still Hunt

From the Spring 2016 issue of The Georgia Review. Excerpt plus link below. The American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art has an airy, skylit atrium, the recently remodeled Engelhard Sculpture Court, a place overflowing with marble and curious marvels. In one corner, the Vanderbilts’ […]

L Anna

Discovering Anna

From The Southern Review 51.1, Winter 2015. Listed as a notable essay in The Best American Essays 2016 and The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2016. Excerpt below. As a child, I set out in search of hummingbirds. Probably this wasn’t ordinary for a boy, and I […]


The Book of Agate

From Ninth Letter 11.2, Fall/Winter 2014-2015. Winner of the 2014 Ninth Letter Award in Creative Nonfiction and the 2015 John Burroughs Nature Essay Award. Excerpt below.   Here, on my desk, lies a handful of beach agates, catching the winter light. They are charms I’ve […]

From The Harvard Review

Slow Flame

From The Harvard Review Online, April 2014. Listed as a notable essay in The Best American Essays 2015 and The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2015. Once, in Northern California, she and I were walking through a redwood park with old growth trees, when […]

From The Missouri Review

The Edge Effect

Surfing with Peregrine Falcons in La Jolla. From The Missouri Review 36.4, Winter 2013. Listed as a notable essay in The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014. Photo album below. In early June, I found myself trailing Will Sooter to his office. Past the University […]

By Clinton & Charles Robertson, via Wikimedia Commons


From CutBank 79, Fall 2013. A companion to an earlier eel essay published in Ecotone.

Illustration by Ellen Edmonson and Hugh Chrisp, Wikimedia Commons

Mother Nature, Her Eels

From Ecotone 3.2, Spring 2008. Under streetlight, the line comes reeling in. It’s Friday night on the Seekonk River, and a Dominican immigrant has an American eel, Anguilla rostrata, on the hook. This is a “yellow eel,” slightly more than a foot long, thrashing in […]

From Orion


From the May/June 2008 issue of Orion magazine. I’m kneeling on a sidewalk in Riverside, Rhode Island, and a squad car has just pulled into the nearest driveway. My fingers are incriminatingly spattered. All the evidence—brush, paper, and body—is laid out before me. Read the […]

Alkali Flies

A Signal from a Distant Shore

From February 11, 2011 in High Country News. A contribution to the Writers on the Range Syndication series. Driving out Highway 167 north of California’s salty Mono Lake, you whiz by a jeep trail that heads for a crescent shore known as Ten Mile Beach. […]