About Studies of Familiar Birds
Carrie Green’s Studies of Familiar Birds reflects upon the series of nest-and-egg illustrations that Virginia Jones saw to completion after her daughter, who had begun the project, died.
The artist’s loss in the late nineteenth century is presented in tandem with the poet’s artistic response to the death of her own father. Other poems draw inspiration from altered vintage photographs in Sara Angelucci’s Aviary series or from firsthand observations of birds and humans.
This collection, unique in subject and sensibility, is a special honoree of the 2019 Able Muse Book Award.
Praise for Studies of Familiar Birds
Studies of Familiar Birds helped shepherd me through the dark winter months of a pandemic trudging toward its first birthday. Green’s poems gave flight to and grounded my spirit in ways I did not know I needed. It proved to be an evocative and necessary reminder that decay and death share a bed of leaves with everyday moments of natural beauty, and that memories of loved ones are at once ethereal and tied inextricably to the physical world they inhabited with us.Matthew Lafferty, “A Nature to Themselves: A Review of Studies of Familiar Birds,” EcoTheo Review
Green writes with such grace and skill that the reader can’t help but feel both the ache of having lost and the joy of having loved. I will return to this book again and again as it “teach[es] us to sing our grief.”Amy Fleury, author of Sympathetic Magic
With words chosen as carefully as birds select components for a nest, Studies of Familiar Birds masterfully intertwines Carrie’s insight into Virginia [Jones’s] griefwork with memories of her father and descriptions of altered photographs from Sara Angelucci’s series Aviary….Joy M. Kiser, author of America’s Other Audubon
…Green weaves accounts of winged things—house wrens, bees, jays, herons, owls, thrushes—into formally deft poems, each a unique receptacle for grief and praise…. Green’s archive is the warp and weft of the world’s remnants, “whether / silk or weed stem, / velvet or vine,” garnering from them wisdom on how to survive life’s losses and to sing despite them.Lisa Russ Spaar, author of Orexia
About Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohio
Genevieve Jones began Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohio with her friend and collaborator, Eliza J. Shulze. In 1879, just one month after the book’s first plates were mailed to subscribers, Genevieve contracted typhoid fever and died at the age of 32.
Her family decided to complete the project in her honor, with Genevieve’s mother, Virginia—a woman with no experience in scientific illustration—producing the lithographs in Genevieve’s place.
To learn more about the Jones family and their work, visit the Smithsonian’s online exhibit or read America’s Other Audubon by Joy M. Kiser. You can also find the full text of Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohio at the Biodiversity Heritage Library.