Rime of the Ancient Maritimer

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Alan MacEachern

(How should one profile a scholar?
Calm composure? Hoot and holler?
You want the busy reader’s attention,
Something that demands retention.
I elect to write mine as a po-em.
Diehard bard, am I? Well, no ma’am.
I’ll just explore how this route goes
And leave other profiles to the prose.)

Hi, I’m Alan, director NiCHE,
Husband, father, son of a –
Joking! That’s not how Canadians pronounce it! Sheesh.
Let me try that once again:
I’m a Canadian environmental historian.
In every sense I’m mid-career,
My work goes there, my work goes here.
National parks across the nation,
An EH textbook on methodology,
From science studies to archaeology.
The Miramichi Fire, you might think,
But that’s still not finished (and so, no link).
Lots of editing – I edit a series
(Idea for a book? I take all queries.)
I’ve also found it quite cathartic
To leave my field and explore the Arctic.
What’s next? Trying to think macroscopic,
I’ve chosen big as one new topic.
But of all my work, if I were pressed,
I’d say that I liked NiCHE the best.
It affords me a real opportunity,
To feel part of a scholarly community.
Frosh or full prof, big or small,
Scholars are just people, after all.
We’re more than impact factors and microfiche,
And that, dear reader, is why I like NiCHE.

…But wait, I almost forgot to mention,
A new website to draw to your attention!
A virtual exhibit, called “MB”,
About the “Mother of Canada’s National Parks,” you see.
Some text by me and, so much better,
A collection of her books and letters,
There’s even an oral interview,
That’s really well-worth listening to.
If biography, women’s history, or parks is what you like,
You’ll find “MB” is worth the hike.
Or more accurately, if one of these is what you pick,
You’ll find “MB” is worth the click.

(My final poem, also my inaugural:
Forgive the barking of my doggerel.)

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I am the author of Becoming Green Gables (spring 2024), The Summer Trade (with Edward MacDonald, 2022), & The Miramichi Fire (2020), & the editor of the print/open-access Canadian History & Environment series at University of Calgary Press. I was Director of NiCHE, 2004-15. Contact me at amaceach@uwo.ca.

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