Saul Weisberg's Headwaters: Poems & Field Notes


North Cascades Institute is excited to announce the publication of selected poems of Institute Founder and Executive Director Saul Weisberg!

Over 25 years in the making, Headwaters: Poems & Field Notes, published by Pleasure Boat Studio: A Literary Press, features more than 200 poems written from a seasoned naturalist’s perspective on wilderness and imagination. Weisberg’s poetry grows out of specific images and distinct moments gathered from the natural world. It celebrates green and misty landscapes and the wilderness they hold. In the tradition of poets like Basho, Buson, Robert Sund, Gary Snyder, Tim McNulty and Sam Greene, the poems are an invitation to walk alongside a perceptive observer on rambles in the mountains, runs down the river and ruminations in desert canyons, investigating the ties that bind people and place.

September 16, 6:30 pm: Traditions Fair Trade Cafe, hosted by the Olympia Poetry Network, 300 Fifth Ave. SW, Olympia 

October 3, 5 pm: Mazama Country Store “Meet the author reception”, 6pm: reading, 50 Lost River Rd, Mazama

October 30, 7 pm: Mountain Loop Books, 1085 Darrington St, Darrington

November 13, 5 pm: Woolley Market, 829 Metcalf St, Sedro-Woolley

November 14, 2 pm: Guemes Island Trust, Guemes Community Center, 7549 Guemes Island Rd, Guemes Island

November 21, Traver Gallery, 6:30pm: An evening of mountain spirit through paintings and poetry with Tori Karpenko and Saul Weisburg "Meet the author wine reception,” 7pm: reading, 110 Union Street #200, Seattle

February 11: 7pm, Northwind Arts Center, 701 Water Street, Port Townsend

“I have always been drawn to mountains; I came late to the love of rivers,” Weisberg explains. “I was born near the East River on the lower east side of Manhattan, and spent my childhood close to Ohio’s Cuyahoga River. After college, I followed friends and the writings of the beat poets to the Pacific Northwest. I got to know my new home place through work, mostly outside, doing whatever it took to keep me in this special part of the world: commercial fishing, fire lookout, tree-planting, field biologist, environmental educator, naturalist and wilderness ranger in North Cascades National Park. My poems have been born from these experiences, mostly written outdoors, seasoned by solitude, sunrises, campfire smoke and morning dew.”


$17 + tax and shipping ~ signed by the author!


Saul Weisberg is the co-founder and Executive Director of North Cascades Institute, a conservation nonprofit with the mission of conserving and restoring Northwest environments founded in 1986. He serves on the board of directors of the Association of Nature Center Administrators, the Natural History Network and the Environmental Education Association of Washington, and is adjunct faculty at Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University. In 2013, Weisberg was given the Environmental Heroes Award by ReSources in Bellingham. He has authored From the Mountains to the Sea, North Cascades: The Story behind the Scenery, Teaching for Wilderness, and Living with MountainsSaul and his family live near the shores of the Salish Sea in Bellingham, Washington.

Interview with Saul Weisberg about creating Headwaters on KSVR 91.7 FM

Thanks to Skagitonian Jodie Buller for making this happen!

Praise for Headwaters

Headwaters is a peaceful, joyous book. Its poems open my heart. Yes, every moment is a gift. Every bird, a blessing. —Kathleen Dean Moore

Saul Weisberg’s crisp, lyric poems are grounded deeply in his lifelong engagement with the plants and wildlife, rocks and weather of his home ground, Washington’s rugged North Cascades and the Salish Sea. Buoyant, passionate, playful, and precise, these poems echo Basho in capturing mystery within an image and Rexroth in artfully blending themes of nature and love. But the poet’s joyful celebration of family, friendship, community, and place are all his own. This is a clear and welcome poetic voice from one of the West’s most inspiring locales. — Tim McNulty

Headwaters drips with the waters of the wild, sings with the voices of thrush, wren, and owl, dances with the butterflies. How wonderful to have Saul Weisberg’s long-awaited poems together in this handsome book – poems that are worshipful and wry, funny and askance, often sexy, and always perceptive. I am thrilled to have Headwaters at loose in the world at last. — Robert Michael Pyle

The sensual poems of Saul Weisberg are powerful connections to the essential elements in nature that enrich and fashion our lives. With economy he fashions an invitation for us to join in the moment and become appreciative witnesses and his companion in nature. With lines such as “The river gathers friends on its way to the sea” and questions likes “What does it mean to become extinct?” we are challenged to expand how we embrace and steward our natural heritage. — Tony Angell

Make room in your backpack for the marvelously condensed wisdom of Headwaters: poems that are intricate as a snowflake, as simple as stone, and the very soul of an educational visionary who has spent his life in the high Cascades. Each of these mountain morsels smiles with gentle truth, and lingers on the mind with honest beauty. — William Dietrich

From the “ecstasy of conifers” and the “infinite ache of wood becoming wood” to rivers that “tremble in their sleep,” Saul Weisberg sees into the heart of the world, revealing all the ways we’re connected to this landscape and to each other. In spare, lyric poems and haiku-like field notes—each one a shining gem—he reminds us how to pay attention, giving us, in poem after poem, “directions to a place called home.”  – Holly J. Hughes

"Not many people know the spirit of the mountains, rivers, lakes and inland sea of Cascadia like Weisberg does. His reverent attentiveness, subtle humor and deep ecological knowledge are apparent in Headwaters, a volume collecting more than 25 years of his poems and journal entries." — Cascadia Weekly

"Inspired by the landscape around him...Weisberg's work captures the expanse of awe-inspiring wilderness in perfect, distinct moments. Exploring the connection between man and nature, Weisberg's work is is both contemplative and celebratory."North Sound Life

Headwaters out in the world... 

Saul and Molly

Saul Weisberg and Seattle artist Molly Hashimoto, who graciously provided the watercolor painting of Diablo Lake and Pyramid Peak in the North Cascades for the cover of Headwaters and natural history blockprints for the interior pages

Saul and Jules

Weisberg and Jules Remedios Faye, letterpress artist at Stern and Faye, Printers in Mount Vernon, Washington, who designed and hand-printed a broadside for one of the poems from Headwaters

Headwaters Chuck Dee

Village Books founders Chuck and Dee Robinson welcome the publication of Headwaters at a gathering in Bellingham

Headwaters ladies

Institute staff past and present celebrate the launch of Headwaters at a gathering in Bellingham