Read by Catherine Young

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“Island Voices”

Published in the anthology Permanent Vacation II: Eighteen Writers on Life and Work in our National Parks by Bona Fide Books 2018 and the online magazine Island Review May 2017. Young writes of living and working in the Apostle Islands as a National Park Ranger in 1982. “Sometimes working on Raspberry Island I was a sailor lost at sea. I could find neither my weight nor my memory. It was just Me and the Lake. The Lake and I.”

“Coal Year”

In the largest coal mining valley in the world in the 1960s, Lackawanna Valley, Pennsylvania, the rhythms of shoveling coal marked the year, and a coal bin could become a playground.  An excerpt from Young’s memoir, Black Diamonds, Blue Flames – A Childhood Colored by Coal, told by a child narrator. Published in 2017 in Kestrel, the literary journal from West Virginia’s Fairmont State University.


“Two years ago, when I played with a group of Swedish-American musicians, five fiddlers from the town of Leksand in Dalarna gave a workshop in America. They announced the planned workshop with them in Leksand at Midsommar, and I asked to go along. I was willing to do anything to put myself in the scene of my childhood postcard.
But nothing has turned out as planned.”
Published in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, March 2017.

“A Cup of Tea”

“I take the thick-walled porcelain cup into my hands. Words from my childhood spin inside it—Grandma’s words:’But for the blink of an eye, you wouldn’t be here.’”
Published in the online magazine Punctuate in February 2017.


“One solitary letter, an umlaut of longing, floats in my consciousness – ö – the Swedish word for island. Elegant and simple. Round and separate. Grounded. Singular. An island is a landing place, welcoming me home.” Explore island as place in the Driftless Area, in Lake Superior, on a mountaintop, or on the dance floor.
Published in Midwest Review, Issue 5: 2017.

“St Anthony Comes Around,” “Shoreline Instructions for Lake Superior,” & “My Mother had a Relationship with Good Bread”

“Have you ever lost something you treasured and haven’t known where to look? You could always call on St. Anthony,” says Catherine Young.
“St Anthony Comes Around” published in Extra Innings, #76, February 2016. “Shoreline Instructions for Lake Superior” published in Aqueous Magazine, Summer 2016, Vol. 11. “My Mother Had a Relationship with Good Bread” published in Feile-Festa, Spring 2015 issue.

Five Poems

1. “Volute” published in the Wisconsin Review, Fall 2016, Vol. 50.1.
2. “Smock” published in Literary Mama, February 2017.
3. “Minus Forty” published in Aqueous, Vol. 11, Winter 2017.
4. “Community Alert” published in the Wisconsin Poets Calendar of 2013.
5. “Mapping the Empty Lot” published in Freshwater, May 2017.

(Photo from deathdivorcedebauchery in Debauchery, Doing on December 8, 2014.)

“Water Song”

“In the hills and hollows of the Driftless Area, water has always determined the shape of the land; it makes it possible for us to live. We learn to make peace with rain and ask as we make our homes here: What does the water bring to us, and what does it carry away?”
Published in About Place Journal: The Future of Water, November 2013

“Water, Tree, Heart: Mapping the Driftless Area”

“Maps usually show the birds-eye view; my view of the Driftless Area is from below. My training was in the geography of river-shaped landscapes, and my work gave me an intimate picture of the waters of the Wisconsin’s Driftless Area. In those years, the Driftless Area called to my heart, and I wanted to answer, calling it home. I invite you to listen as I explore a map of the heart.”
Published in Imagination & Place: Cartography, February 2013

“Rediscovering Intricacy”

“I wish for our country and our world that everyone would begin to grow food even if it is one small plant – to acknowledge our place in the great cycle. By doing so, I believe we will rediscover ways to help those who are homeless or in need.”
Published in About Place Journal: Voices of the Human Spirit, November 2014.

“Maple Syrup Stories”

“Sweet Beginnings” – a fictional story of a grandfather and his granddaughter boiling down sap one night.
Published in Cricket magazine, March 2015.

“Tapping a Maple Tree” & “Maple Popcorn”
recipe. Published in Cricket magazine, March 2015. And “Q & A on Maple Syruping” with Catherine Young and Cyndy Hubbard

“Recipe by Heart”

Read by Catherine Young and Celeste Thalhammer.
“When I make my family’s pasta sauce, it tastes the way Mama made it and the way Grandma’s tasted in her kitchen when I was very young. There was no other kind of sauce…” (Young, Catherine. “Recipe by Heart.” Hippocampus Magazine. N.p., Sept. 2016. Web. 11 Sept. 2016.)
Published in the online journal Hippocampus, September 2016.

“Emerging: January 24, 1959”

Three excerpts from the flash nonfiction series. A distillation of events recorded on January 24, 1959, in newspapers on that date in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The stories are all related to the theme emerging.
Published in the print literary journal Anamesa. Fall 2014, Issue 12, Number 2.

Catherine YoungCatherine Young lives, farms, and writes in Wisconsin. After having worked as a national park ranger, teacher, farmer, and mother, Catherine Young completed her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. She is a nominee for the Pushcart Prize and Best American Essays.

Her writing has been published in the anthologies The Driftless Reader, Imagination and Place: Cartography, and Permanent Vacation II: Eighteen Writers on Work and Life in Our National Parks. Her work appears internationally in Reliquiae and The Island Review and in Ascent, Flyway, River Heron, Minding Nature, Camas, Fourth River, About Place, Hippocampus, Midwest Review, and Wisconsin Review, among others. Her poetry has been published as broadsides for Fermentation Fest Farm Art / Dtour Passwords and Madison Metro Buslines. Her children’s fiction, nonfiction, and poetry appeared in Cricket.

Catherine writes: Working on our family’s organic farm in Richland County, I feel deeply connected to this land in ways that challenge the written or spoken word. I am fascinated by how our perceptions of place affect our actions. Our relationship with environment is vital and complex, and lifted by imagination, we become stewards. I am deeply in love with Wisconsin’s land, waters, and the artistic intelligence of Wisconsin’s people.