"The Huron River . . . was called 'Cos-scut-e-nong Sebee'. . . . [It] is a beautiful, transparent stream, passing alternatively through rich bottoms, openings, plains, and sloping woodlands, covered with heavy timber."
-History of Washtenaw County, Michigan, 1881
The Huron River-stretching 130 miles through three counties-has inspired numerous writers throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Contained here is a collection of new poems, essays, and stories, accompanied by maps, photographs, and illustrations that celebrate the Huron River. Over twenty locally and nationally known literary figures, including Alice Fulton and Charles Baxter, have contributed to this volume. In addition, the work of biologists, naturalists, and even an arche-ologist have been included to give a richer sense of the physical and cultural environment.
Each of these writers reminds us that our lives are more intertwined with the river and its watershed than we might think. The Huron River opens with these words: "Watersheds are the oldest and most durable markers of place. . . . These boundaries affect our lives by defining our natural environment, not only its topography but its soils, its plant and animal life, and to some extent its weather. The water that sustains most of us is the water that flows through our local watershed."
And the river's strength is wondrous unto itself. "The water will always be there, and it will always find its way down," writer Gary Snyder tells us. The river is sometimes visible, sometimes not; yet it "is alive and well under the city streets, running in giant culverts."
John Knott is Professor of English, University of Michigan. After working as a bookseller for twenty years, Keith Taylor now teaches writing part-time for the University of Michigan and works as a freelance writer.