In an age of experts and individualism, metrics and competition, The Unauthorized Audubon is something of an anachronism. In fact, its creators, printmaker Laura B. DeLind and poet Anita Skeen, never set out to produce a book at all when they began exchanging prints and poems, but something happened along the way. As they began to appreciate at a deeper level the skill involved in each other’s work, they began to find meaning in small things—a pattern, a memory, a carefully chosen word. In his essay “Plugging into Essential Sources,” Eric Booth introduces the concept of “response-ability.” He describes it as the capacity to connect with the artful work of another. It represents both our need and our promise to respond in an open, eager, and multi-sensual way to a world of possibility. Without this capacity we are crippled in our ability to imagine and to grow. This book is all about response-ability as experienced by the two artists and the visitors to an exhibit of their work at the Michigan State University Museum. This concept and activity animates the twenty-two bird-like spirits found herein, reminding us that there are other such spirits hovering expectantly just beyond the pages, simply waiting for the imagining.
In the tradition of Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings and Calvino’s Invisible Cities, artist Laura B. DeLind and poet Anita Skeen have created a collaborative menagerie of fantastical birds, beings that lighten the heart and return us to the magic of our encounters with nature.
—Melissa Kwasny, author of The Nine Senses and Reading Novalis in Montana