The Empire Asparagus Festival’s “Ode to Asparagus Poetry Competition” on June 1 attracted 25 entries and 100 attendees at the Glen Lake Community Library. The winning poem, as selected by the audience, was “Astrological Asparagus” by Joseph Povolo. Meanwhile, one Empire family swept the Asparagus Recipe Contest held at the Town Hall. Don Cunningham won the People’s Choice Grand Prize for his “Asparagus Benedict” recipe. Carol Cunningham finished second for her “Spargelsalat” (German asparagus salad). Carol’s brother Duane Schmidt won third place for his “Asparagus Peppers” recipe.

As family tradition dictates, my youngest brother, Chris, and I drove from Indianapolis to the cabin my wife and I have owned in Cedar for the past 15 years for the trout opener on the last Saturday in April, writes author Tim Mulherin. And as usual, we spent some long-anticipated quality time on a picturesque stream in northern Michigan. I knew it would be a great outing; we even managed to catch some nice trout. Of course, a few days before we spooled new line on our spinning reels, pulled on our hip waders, and tried our luck, we had to see to another annual ritual: opening our chalet for the season.

A-spear-ing poets are invited to come share their asparagus themed verse at the Ode to Asparagus, the Glen Lake Community Library’s contribution to the annual Empire Asparagus Festival, which will be held on Saturday, June 1 at 2 pm. Poems of all styles are welcome—sonnets, haiku, epic, even limericks. Submit your poems to the library by Friday, May 31, via mail, email, or drop them off at the library directly. The Glen Lake Library will also host Jane Elder, author or “Wilderness, Water & Rust” on May 30.

“Are you sexually active?” The young woman asking does not look up from her note pad, writes Leelanau author Kathleen Stocking. I’m not sure in what capacity the questioner is asking.  Is this my doctor, a physician’s assistant, a nurse, an aide.  I am there for my eyes. The question catches me off-guard. I’m in a neck brace, walk with a walker, and part of my right leg is a prosthetic. I’m almost 80 years old, but look older.

“I Awaken In October: Poems of Folk Horror and Halloween” is the debut speculative poetry collection from Leelanau County author Scott J. Couturier, published last October by Jackanapes Press. Couturier is a Rhysling-nominated poet and prose writer of the strange, liminal, and darkly fantastic, whose work has appeared in numerous venues. He will sign copies at Horizon Books in Traverse City on October 28, from 1-3 p.m.

One rainy October day, about a decade ago while visiting Horizon Books in downtown Traverse City, Tim Mulherin surrendered to his nagging curiosity about Harrison’s work and purchased “The Woman Lit by Fireflies,” one of his novella collections. That evening, he began reading the first novella, “Brown Dog.” It only took a few pages for him to become a fan of BD, the protagonist who would appear repeatedly in novellas to come as one of Harrison’s central characters. The middle-aged half Finn/half Michigan Chippewa Indian lives by impulse, finds utter joy in trout fishing and six packs of cheap beer, is easily entranced by the opposite sex, and has a nonnegotiable moral compass. For this former warhorse of the white-collar workplace, who would occasionally daydream from his desk of casting for trout in a crystalline northern Michigan river, Brown Dog’s exploits gave him vital comic relief.

Eaters of corn we are in this August golden heat. Lined up at picnic tables, our teeth move horizontally, carving a path across long corn ears—like a prolific typewriter always moving the paper right to left as the keys punch out letters, words, subliminal messages.

Many years ago, on a freezing February night, I walked outside my childhood home on Indian Hill Road—nestled in the middle of nowhere, between Empire and Honor—and was taken aback by the sight of a deep, dark red moon, writes Christina Steele. Confused by the color, I tipped my head up to gaze at what I anticipated would be a starlit sky. Expecting to see Orion and Polaris, I instead let out a gasp as I saw ribbons of red light moving above me. The ribbons, curtains, and strobes of red light danced in the sky and across the moon and came to a single point directly above me. I ran back inside, hollered for my mother and my three little sisters, and grabbed as many blankets as I could hold. My family and I sat bundled together in the cold, gazing at our first Northern Lights (aurora borealis) display.

The Glen Arbor Arts Center’s Coffee With the Authors is a live, conversational interview with local and regional authors about the writing craft and process. This series continues Sunday, July 30, at 1 p.m. with poet Holly Wren Spaulding in a conversation about keeping and banning words. Spaulding, a northern Michigan native now living in southern Maine, published her third book of poems, Familiars, in 2020, as a response to the 2015 deletion of words by the Oxford Junior Dictionary (OJD). The OJD’s deleted words list includes names of flora and fauna, in order to make room for newer words from the world of technology, such as “chatroom” and “bullet point.” Familiars is full of poems about “trees, flowers, magic, touch, memory, erasure, power, and [Spaulding’s] grief over the changing climate.” In her July 30 conversation, Spaulding will talk about the power of words, choosing them with care, and the ways in which she works to keep language vital through her writing. The Glen Arbor Sun interviewed Spaulding prior to her upcoming coffee date at the Arts Center.

For more than 10 years, Wildsam has published books about great American places. The series delves into big cities, small towns, iconic American regions and cozier places better known to locals. Wildsam also hopes their field guides light up culture and history in ways that ring true in the places they cover. The series aims to celebrate landscapes that might surprise a few people with their cultural vitality and depth of heritage. Northern Michigan is Wildsam’s newest field guide. Contributors to this book include Glen Arbor Sun editor Jacob Wheeler and frequent writers, Anne-Marie Oomen and Mae Stier.