September 7, 2010
Home from Malheur. 6 hour drive from Portland into the wilds of eastern Oregon. Labor Day weekend— where were all the people? No one there! I drove out with two longtime friends—Freda and Joan—for a birding workshop at the Malheur Field Station.
I stroke the netted shrike (the executioner bird). The Great Horned Owl regards me with round yellow eyes, visible across the length of Benson’s Grove where we stand in respectful silence under the giant cottonwoods. Duncan sets up the telescope, helps me focus my eyes on what is distant, what is near and waiting. Look for the owl and you’ll find the owl is looking right at you. The presence of the winged ones around us. Remember to look up! Across the marsh, a sleek coyote stalks sandhill cranes. Muskrat glides through the reeds, slipslop dives under. The namesake for “skinny as a rail” fits its narrow bird body through the cattails.
Yellow-headed blackbird in the net, struggling. Suddenly calm in Duncan’s hands. He ruffles fingers through feathers, revealing bird ears, the structure of leg ligaments. Duncan, our guide/teacher, is the naturalist/shaman who speaks to animals, reads from their behavior and appearance their anxieties and intentions. He can tell that Western tanager on the branch of the Russian olive is here on its first migration. Should it approach the water source or not? Are there predators nearby? On a first migration, who would know? Duncan can think like a bird.
Quails rushing nervously to and fro across the road. Layla-- Duncan’s wife who is also a naturalist-- has noticed different strategies of quail parenting. Some quail parents muster their chicks in straight lines (a la Madeleine). Others are more like hippie parents. Their chicks merrily commingle with other quail families. Layla has seen the father quail issue a “talking to,” a peck to the delinquent chick. Quail discipline.
I must write more about this, but must ready for work tomorrow. My mind wants to live in that ocean of sage, that starry sky with the whoosh of Milky Way, the swoop of swallows in the dusk and the song of the meadowlark “at break of day arising.”
Interviews, Essays, Podcasts, Video
Los Angeles Times profile of me by Jeffrey Fleishman, July 2017
Louise Steinman, through the library's ALOUD program, invites writers and thinkers to ponder L.A. and the world
Cultural Weekly- In Her Own Words
What happened at ALOUD, an interview with Adam Leipzig
When a Rock is a Stone: Finding "Spiral Jetty"
Aug 8, 2018 essay in Los Angeles Review of Books
Slight Exaggeration: An Interview with poet Adam Zagajewski
May 28, 2017, Los Angeles Review of books
The Aphasia Book Club
My essay published in Los Angeles Review of Books, Summer Quarterly 2015
Interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hisham Matar
The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between
"Elegantly Wrapped Dung": or, a Polish Journalist's Posthumous Victory
Oct 2016, Los Angeles Review of Books blog, Maciej Ziembinski, European Court of Human Rights
The Body in Question: Two Poets/ALOUD series 2016
Conversation with Poets Sharon Olds and Robin Coste Lewis
ALOUD podcast, April 2016, with Helen Macdonald
My interview with Helen Macdonald, "H is for Hawk"
Los Angeles Review of Books, December 17, 2015
"Writer in Exile: An Interview with Yasmin Merei"
Interview with poet Jane Hirshfield, ALOUD series
"A Seismographic Aattention: An Evening of and On Poetry"
Los Angeles Review of Books blog "MY ENGLISH TEACHER"
In Memoriam Lorraine Schulmeister (1918-2012)
November 20, 2014 Los Angeles Times book review
"Three Minutes in Poland" offers glimpse of world lost to Holocaust
June 27 2011, Los Angles Review of Books THE GLATSTEIN CHRONICLES
Yizkor Bukhor: Reflections on the Yiddish Poet Jacob Glatstein
CROOKED MIRROR INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR
Nov 7, 2013 Louise Steinman in conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Jack Miles, ALOUD series
VERA GRAN: The Accused (Los Angeles Review of Books, 2013)
a controversial singer of the Warsaw Ghetto, the subject of a fascinating investigative memoir by Agata Tuszynska
When Women Were Birds/Conversation with Terry Tempest Williams
Podcast of my conversation with Terry Tempest Williams at ALOUD on May 9, 2012 (or download from itunes)
Recognizing the Righteous in My Family's Polish Town
Jewish Journal of LA, Dec 2011
Father Patrick Desbois interview
Louise Steinman interviews Father Patrick Desbois, author of The Holocaust by Bullets, Oct 20, 2009
North Atlantic Books Interview 2008
Read an author interview about THE SOUVENIR on North Atlantic Books website
Los Angeles Times Nov 11, 2007
Louise Steinman: "Talking about L.A." interview with Jim Newton
Adopt a Village in Guatemala
I've volunteered with this terrific grassroots org aiding Mayan families in northwestern Guatemala. 10 stars.
Hunter in the Landscape (31.0KB)