The early Japanese haiku masters were indefatigable walkers. Basho traveled 1,500 miles to produce a single slim volume, The Narrow Road to the Deep North. In a rootless 21st century society obsessed with mobility and speed, Bart Sutter decided to combine Basho's practice with Thoreau's sage advice to ''stay home.'' In writing Chester Creek Ravine, he says, ''I walked at least a thousand miles, but I did it by covering the same 2-1/2 mile loop through Chester Creek Ravine repeatedly, catching it right down the block.'' Occasionally during those neighborhood walks Sutter had fleeting moments when the inner and the outer worlds came together in a flash of intimate imagery.
The 150 haiku contained in this book--tiny poems with large implications--conjure those revelatory moments alongside Chester Creek, a stream that drops dramatically through the city of Duluth on its final run to Lake Superior. Sutter honors the haiku tradition by sticking close to the classical form, alluding to the seasons, and choosing subjects from the natural world, but his haiku are fully contemporary and include surprises, too--a pregnant girl with her black lab, beer cans, bagpipes, plastic sacks--while his subtle use of rhyme helps rivet these impressions in the reader's mind.
Bart Sutter has received the Minnesota Book Award for poetry with The Book of Names: New and Selected Poems, for fiction with My Father's War and Other Stories, and for creative non-fiction with Cold Comfort: Life at the Top of the Map. Among other honors, he has won a Bush Foundation Individual Artist Fellowship, a Jerome Foundation Travel & Study Grant (Sweden), and the Bassine Citation from the Academy of American Poets. In 2006, he was named the first Poet Laureate of Duluth. He has written for public radio, he has had three verse plays produced, and he often performs as half of The Sutter Brothers, a poetry-and-music duo. In Chester Creek Ravine, Sutter turns to haiku, the form that first attracted him to poetry when he was in his teens. Bart Sutter lives in Duluth, near Chester Creek Ravine, with his wife, Dorothea Diver.
Ross Sutter is best known as a singer of Scandinavian, Scottish, and Irish songs, and for his wide repertoire of American traditional and popular songs. He is at home in any situation from concert hall to library or school, from outdoor festival to senior center, both as a solo performer or with additional musicians or dancers.
As a 100% Swedish-American, Ross is inspired by his Scandinavian heritage, performing songs learned from his grandmother and from his own travels and study. His "adopted" cultures of Scotland and Ireland have also provided a rich resource of music and song.
Ross accompanies himself on guitar, dulcimer, button accordion and bodhran, the Irish goat-skin drum.Ross's work is featured on the recordings Walking on Air, Up the Raw, Crossing the Shannon, Hunger No More, Songs By Heart, Over the Water, Ye Banks and Braes, and on his highly popular children's recording, Mama Will You Buy Me a Banana?