FIELD NOTES To Maya Lin's Confluence Project Landscapes

During the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial (2004 - 2005), the Columbia River Tribes banded together to ask Maya Lin to help tell their story of how they greeted the Corps of Discovery in 1804 - 1805. She agreed and created six art installations along the Columbia River featuring restored landscapes inspired by Indigenous stories and traditions. These art installations were designed “to connect people to the history, living cultures, and ecology of the Columbia River system through indigenous voices.”
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Field Notes tells my story as a non-native white woman navigating to each of the Maya Lin Landscapes along what we now call the Columbia River. Many of these installations were difficult to locate. But getting lost helped me find what the Great River, the Land, and its People might be able to teach me. The Confluence Project helped show me the way. I wrote Field Notes to help other non-Native people in locating these often hidden riverside places with significant stories to tell. With any luck, my book might encourage travelers to look deeper into that inner terrain of discovery, connection, and teachings that I encountered on my pilgrimages to each of these sites.
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“FIELD NOTES is a reflective and expansive melding of prose and poetry. Thoughtfully considered elements of the historical record and ruminations of the author’s positionality and history appear in intriguing and insightful patterns alongside constellations of precise imagery.”
Laura Da’—
author of Tributaries, and Instruments of the True Measure (University of Arizona Press) and is an enrolled member of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma.
“Ann captures the experience of visiting the Confluence sites along the Columbia River System with an open mind, open heart and an enthusiasm to learn more about the Indigenous cultures of our region. Great read!"
“Hursey has written FIELD NOTES – so that those who travel searching for the Maya Lin Confluence Project Landscapes might find them more easily than she did. FIELD NOTES – contains haibun poetry, prose, diary entries, autobiography, and history. This book belongs in libraries, museum shops, bookstores and, especially, your backpack, as you follow the Columbia River and the land Lewis and Clark thought they knew.”
Esther Altshul Helfgott, PhD—
author of Listening to Mozart (Cave Moon Press)
“. . .the [Confluence] project works to unite a small group of people—Native Americans—with their fellow citizens in learning how to ‘become American’ and how best to steward the land together. The goal is to create visual markers, not monuments perse, that are in harmony with the landscape and serve as reminders that just because you don’t see us does not mean we are not here. . .The education of non-Native people about the Indigenous history of this place helps them to become more from this place, and of this place.”
Anthon Minthorn, Confluence founding board chair and former chairman of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
citation from Monumental Lands, Alex V. Cipolle, New York Times, May 20, 2021
"Ann Batchelor Hursey’s Field Notes —-part field guide, part travel journal and part witness—immerses the reader in the powerful Confluence Project landscapes designed by architect Maya Lin, which Hursey set out to explore after encountering Tsagaglal, “She Who Watches,” at the Pike Place Market. In the spirit of the Japanese poet Basho, she uses the haibun form to offer wide-ranging observations, directions — even notes on the weather—while lyrical haiku provide a distilled counterpoint. She thoughtfully interweaves quotes from Lewis and Clark’s journals with stories from the indigenous cultures that have long lined the river’s shores, and still do, including listings of the tribes, their languages, as well as a poignant listing of native species first encountered by Lewis & Clark. I’m grateful to Hursey for undertaking her journey and sharing it. I hope readers will be inspired to do what I did: explore the Confluence project for themselves."
Holly J. Hughes
Winner of an American Book Award for Passings (Wandering Aengus Press)
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A CERTAIN HOLD, Finishing Line Press, 2014

Chapbook published by FInishing Line Press, 2014. Cover art by Artist, Lou Cabeen. Order Now

"Beads and woven fabric, trillium and apples—one gains 'a certain hold,' as one poem quotes Virginia Woolf’s diary, by writing down the things of this world. Ann Hursey’s poems are like the spirit dolls she writes about. They contain energy and courage. They speak beyond themselves. They’re full of joy, while also looking straight at suffering and deprivation, making it shine with the light of deep engagement. This collection is the product of love and work and a rich sense of what it means to be human."
Fleda Brown ---
"A Certain Hold takes for its subjects the small, often private, often impermanent labors of women’s hands, and in Ann Hursey’s own—by virtue of her attention, imagination and generous heart—elevates and confers on them a sense of value. Whether the artifacts of such labor are jewelry, textiles, a garden or grave plot attended by a daughter and her aging mother, a child, a marriage, or writing itself, Hursey redeems and renders them with the same level of beauty and skill she admires in them."
Cindy Stewart-Rinier ---
"Ann Hursey's poems offer us the inside stories of many lives, one thread at a time. Women in Mali learn to sustain themselves by making--their hands shape lives at the same time they create batik or dolls. Hers is a global perspective that travels across generations. Ann Hursey is a citizen of this moment on this complex and difficult and beautiful earth. She's a citizen of the world of words, whose poems let us live among all those who've gone before and all those who will come after us. These are fine and generous poems."
Peggy Shumaker ---