Paperback / softback
March 15, 2007
9.00 Inches (US)
5.25 Inches (US)
.44 Pounds (US)
$24.95 USD, £17.99 GBP
v2.1 Reference

The Green Heart of the Tree

Essays and Notes on a Time in Africa

Woudstra's literary essays, rooted in personal experience and travel, are long and loving looks into the mysterious heart of Africa. Her writings explore topics as diverse as volcanic eruptions and wild trees, African art and ritual, life in Rwanda, and turtle eggs in warm sand. "Like Annie Dillard, Annette Woudstra is a poet of observation. She carefully works experience and reflection to create sentences and scenes of exceptional clarity and grace." -Greg Hollingshead

About the Author

A.S. Woudstra returned to Canada after living for several years in the central African country of Gabon. Her essays and poetry have been published in various Canadian literary magazines. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta.


"I love these essays. Every word. I hesitate to tell you anything at all about them for fear you might presume familiarity and not buy this book. But these are some of the best essays Ive read in a very long time. I love an intelligent and sensitive narrator; one who is well-traveled, understanding, a conduit by which I see and taste the red dust of her dirt road. Oh please buy this book. It is deliciously good." Karen Miedrich-Luo, April 27, 2007

"This is at once the most peculiar and artistically exceptional book I've read in decades. It is as if A.S. Woudstra drafted an impressionist mural with words rather than paint. You get to be the interpreter; she's not doing it for you. To many of us the individual stories may evoke thoughts of joy, sorrow or sheer bewilderment. Life in lands foreign to us, from wherever we might hail or venture to journey, will often leave us in a state of intellectual suspension. Capturing that state of mind is what Woudstra has done in writing. It is a very easy book to read. Contemplating what she experienced, and what we all do in our own ways and at various intervals, is the work involved in reading this book. If you like thinking, you will love the magic of this poetic treatment." Pam Barrett, The Edmonton Journal, August 5, 2007

".at once a book of essays, a book of meditations, and a book of travel writing." Ariel Gordon, Prairie Books NOW, Summer 2007

"Through disparate experiences in Gabon and east-central Africa, A.S. Woudstra takes the reader on fragments of her physical journey that shadow a spiritual one. Although the external highlights of that journey are filled with fascinating material from a naturalist and anthropological point of view, the personal journey as conveyed through Woudstra's poetic style and insight is what makes reading this collection so rewarding an experience. In the manner of the best essayists, there is a poetic ease and urbane simplicity to Woudstra's style that made these writings a delight to read." Gillian Harding-Russell, Prairie Fire [Full review at]

"Woudstra's poetic prose is tenacious and mesmerizing, and her subject matter is moving. Photographs of family artifacts, and landscape accompany a collection of nine essays interposed with five brief journal entries. Always attending to the wordlessness and complexity of language and sensitive to cultural differences, she reflects on such diverse topics as Rwanda's civil war, Gabon culture, sea turtles, and forests. The journal writings ground her contemplations of unfamiliar and often troubled experiences in material moments and further illuminate her struggles with inhabiting place. However uncertain, resistant, or unable to place home she may be, her journal meditations on birds and insects become tangible reminders that home is both material and intangible, a space that dwells as much within as outside you." Lisa S. Szabo, Canadian Literature 197, Summer 2008

9780888644763 : the-green-heart-of-the-tree-woudstra
Paperback / softback
96 Pages
$24.95 USD

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