The pandemic has proven productive for Marty Gervais.
The University’s resident writing professional has used the time alone to publish four books, most recently a collection of poetry and photographs documenting his solitary walks through a treasure chest of nature on Windsor’s west end.
Walk in the Woods: Portrait of the Ojibway Prairie Complex is a collaboration by three of the city’s foremost wordsmiths: poet laureate emeritus Gervais, the current poet laureate Mary Ann Mulhern, and youth poet laureate Alexei Ungurenasu, a UWindsor student of English literature and philosophy.
Gervais says he spent the pandemic exploring the 350-hectare provincial nature reserve, which encompasses the Ojibway, Black Oak, Tall Grass Prairie, and Ojibway Shores parks.
“I ventured out daily, marvelling at a world I had never really known,” he says. “I photographed and documented what I was experiencing.”
Gervais went out in all kinds of weather — sun, mist, or snow.
“It was a walk of meditation, reflection, gratitude, and it was a walk about learning what I was seeing,” Gervais says.
City of Windsor naturalist Karen Cedar notes the complex is home to endangered habitats and at-risk species.
“This original piece of nature is priceless and irreplaceable, and even unintentional misuse may cause irreparable damage,” she says. “It is our collective and shared responsibility to protect, respect, and cherish this significant and sensitive area.”
The book is the third in the South Shore Collections series through Windsor’s poet laureate program, along with:
- Because We Have All Lived Here (2017), celebrating the city’s 125th anniversary and the 150th anniversary of Canada and Ontario: and
- A Dance of Self-Isolation: Covid Poems From the Biggest Little City in Canada (2020), a collection of poems reflecting on the impact of the pandemic, and the hopes, dreams, challenges, triumphs, and fears of a community navigating lockdown.
All three are available for purchase through www.BlackMossPress.com.