ORNITHEOLOGY: The Word Works, 2018Ornitheology_Draft2


by Julie Marie Wade:

by Megan Alpert:



2019 Massachusetts Book Awards

19th Award:  The Wall by Ilan Stavans (Pittsburgh)
19th Honors:  Ornitheology by Kevin McLellan (Word Works) and Rewilding by January Gill O’Neil (CavanKerry)
19th Must Reads: Blood Labors by Daniel Tobin; Pray Me Stay Eager by Ellen Dore Watson; Bad Harvest by Dzvinia Orlowsky; White Storm by Gary Metras; My Tarantella by Jennifer Martelli; Shadow-Feast by Joan Houlihan; Night Unto Night by Martha Collins; See the Wolf by Sarah Sousa; Stanley’s Girl: Poems by Susan Eisenberg



“The word ornitheology, in addition to winning “title of the year,” perfectly captures this book—it’s aerial, and it’s reverent; it’s full of grace, and it glides. And it’s full of birds! It’s also full of great line-breaks, intricate repetitions, flickering moments, and an expanded sense of sky. McLellan, who was raised by canaries, has constructed an amazingly delicate world of resilient fragility in which “light is a seed that the mind must carry.” A stunning book that manages to be both honest and hopeful.”

Cole Swensen


“At the funeral of his beloved sister Helen, Henry Thoreau, standing by the parlor window, heard the call of a songbird and exclaimed “One of us is well at any rate!” In his beautiful ORNITHEOLOGY, Kevin McLellan exclaims a bold prospect of actual spiritual health for these dispiriting days. He has found “an envelope of light” tucked into the corners of our world. He has descried a worthy and redeeming anticipation on branch and cloud and sunbeam.”

Donald Revell