"Notes on the Landscape of Home confirms Susan Hand Shetterly’s status as one of Maine’s and this country’s finest environmental writers. Like Terry Tempest Williams, who lives nearby on the Blue Hill peninsula, Shetterly weaves personal life experience into outward-looking essays that focus in large part on nature and our interactions with it." - Carl Little, The Working Waterfront, March 2023 (click for full text)
"[Shetterly’s] essays, which touch on the trees, fish, people, birds and plants she encounters around her Maine community of Surry, shimmer with luminous details. With her poet’s eye for the particular, she’s not one for the bland abstractions and bumper-sticker slogans that tend to ossify reflections on the environment. As the pandemic recedes and more of us resume our busy lives, Notes on the Landscape of Home is a potent reminder of what we gain by staying mindful of local wonders.” - Danny Heitman, Wall Street Journal, Sept 15, 2022 (click for full text)
"Susan Hand Shetterly’s essays in Notes on the Landscape of Home are elegiac and focused on the future at the same time. She describes the wild world around her—in all its complexity—with eloquence and precision. Her writing is imbued with a sense of wonder. To walk in the woods and fields and along the shore with her is to see ourselves and our place on the planet in a new way." - Stu Kestenbaum, former Poet Laureate of the state of Maine
"This is an exceptional collection of essays from a writer undoubtedly grounded in both time and place. Reading this book is like taking a journey to where everything touches the senses, making it both real and personal. In the opening preface to her book, Shetterly shares a line from a T.S. Eliot poem that provides a clue as to how the magic happens if one pays close attention to all things on land, in water, community and the wildlife that wraps itself around it all.
'At the still point of the turning world ...
there the dance is ...'
The still point for Shetterly is this place called Maine — the small neighborhood in a small town where she lives — and the dance, she says, 'is between the individual lives of the many species that live here, the community we make together, and time.'” - RJ Heller, Bangor Daily News, Dec 16, 2022 (click for full text)
"It takes a fiery heart to create such calm on the page, a leaping eye to notice so much of nature and fix it for us in words, a generous spirit to share so much of the world. And what a world comes alive in Notes on the Landscape of Home: full of people, certainly, but animated by other spirits, those of the birds and trees and rocks and mammals and fish and waving kelps we live among, also the four winds and the rising waters, the life-giving sun, this fast-dancing planet, the cosmos it occupies, home in the biggest sense. Susan Hand Shetterly brings hope amid the quiet terrors of contemporary life, teaches us again the quiet contemplation we knew as kids, before our power to destroy outran curiosity. A beautiful book of essays, poetry really, beach reading that truly knows the sea, a bouquet of quiet moments to open in troubling times, sample again and again, a basket of solutions." - Bill Roorbach, author of Lucky Turtle, Temple Stream, Life Among Giants
“'Notes on the Landscape of Home' is quite simply a lovely read, perfect for reminding us what we have come through in recent years and the wonders that await us in the days to come." - Nan Lincoln, Ellsworth American, Dec 29, 2022 (click for full text)
"Susan Hand Shetterly’s writing is exquisite, expansive at times as she honors famous regional figures whose work has influenced her, people like Marsden Hartley, Winslow Homer, J. J. Audubon and Henry David Thoreau. At other times she interweaves beautiful intimate observations of nature and the coastal landscape with a deep sensitivity to color, time, sound and sand. Shetterly marvels at the wonder of baby eels, elvers, as they make their way from the Sargasso Sea north to the Coast of Maine as reverently as she honors the epically large leviathan—the right whale as it tends to its calf off the coast. Notes on the Landscape of Home is bursting with the love of place." - Adelaide Murphy Tyrol, award-winning illustrator and painter
"Susan Shetterly has written a beautiful book about this beautiful part of Maine. She has written a book about home, that ethereal yet vital connection between land and the people who invest themselves in it. Most importantly, she has written a book about the hope we can find in that connection, and the role it will play in making a better future. Within, you will find people putting their hands on the land in acts of protection, learning, and healing. Nothing seems more important to me in this era of climate change—especially for young people—than to clearly enunciate that hope is held, not in just a feeling, but in these many acts of caring." - Hans M. Carlson, Executive Director, Blue Hill Heritage Trust