Grand Marais by t. kilgore splake / paperback, with DVD / 978-1-4675-8222-3
t. kilgore splake’s latest volume is a poetic and photographic celebration of Grand Marais, Minnesota, a small city on the shore of Lake Michigan.
splake’s roots go deep in the Grand Marais area. It’s where, aside a campfire years ago, he wrote his first poem. It’s here that his pen name was spawned. A short recent trip revived the memories and provided the impetus for this small volume.
Following a short poem, splake explains the area’s history from its beginnings in the 19th century, to his discovery and exploration of it, and his delight in it.
Grand Marais draws the reader into the chapters of splake’s life. Here is a poet true to his own self, and his own vision of life. Here is a man who left behind a professorship to live authentically on his own terms, immersed in words and nature.
A collection of a dozen (plus two cover images) full-page, color photos shows off some of the town’s sights.
A DVD is also included. It features splake reading his poetry, wordlessly fly fishing, interviewing an elderly longtime Grand Marais resident, digging out of a snow. Reading poetry to the sound of crickets by a campfire, the strong cadence of his voice punctuaties the night. You can almost feel the piny breeze, smell the woodsmoke night.
Grand Marais is full of memories: fishing, hiking, roasting marshmallows with his kids, its shops, its people who became his friends. I’ve never been to Grand Marais, but through splake’s words and images, I feel as if I know this place: it brings me back to my own happy memories in small towns, campgrounds, and trails. Grand Marais captures the essence of these experiences perfectly.