Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I first discovered Sy Montgomery's work in her children's nonfiction book from the Scientist in the Field series, The Quest for the Tree Kangaroo (see my review). From there I read her earlier entries in the series and eagerly sought out the reissues of her older adult titles when they appeared this year from Chelsea Green (two of which were reviewed as my "Cool Reads" in a column in May). I find her writing style to be quite compelling, especially the way in which she blends careful animal research and an anthropologist's glee-filled curiosity about the people who study and live among them. Sy is so excited about the people and places and creatures she writes about that readers can not help but be swept away by her enthusiasm. The Boston Globe quite famously referred to her as “part Indiana Jones and part Emily Dickinson.” In an interview with Paper Tigers she responded to that quote a bit with this:
It's a huge honor for me to even be mentioned in the same breath as Emily Dickinson. I could never be as splendid a writer as she though perhaps I share some of the ecstasy that powered her poetry. When I find myself swimming with pink dolphins, or face-to-face with a kind of bear no scientist has ever described before, or watching a wild tree kangaroo in a cloud forest, my life feels full enough to contain all the blessings of both adventurer and poet.
Sy was kind of enough to invite me to interview her over the phone and in the course of our hour-long conversation we discovered shared passions for books and animals and writing and all manner of other subjects (even, bizarrely, to include discussion of banshees in Ireland of all things). To say chatting with her was delightful would be a gross understatement and I hope someday to meet her in person so we can talk again, for hours and hours and hours. Because the conversation jumped in so many different directions, I decided to split the interview in half so be sure and check back tomorrow for more. And now, here's author and adventurer (grin) Sy Montgomery!
Read the whole article here.