The Happiness of Dirt

Cover of The Happiness of Dirt, by Aozora Brockman (2011)
The Happiness of Dirt, by Aozora Brockman (2011, $5)

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A chapbook of short prose and poetry I wrote during the summer months between my year in Tokyo and my first year at Northwestern University, The Happiness of Dirt is a both a record of my long days of planting, weeding, mulching and harvesting on our family vegetable farm, and an expression of love and joy for the beauties of tending to the earth, and digging black-stained hands into fertile dirt.

In the Foreword, I write,

“One of my favorite parts of farming is the harvesting, for it is then – when you sneak juicy beans straight from the plant, pop a cherry tomato in your mouth, and bury your face into a piece of Sorbet Swirl watermelon – that the instant spread of delicious flavor inside your mouth and all the way down your throat makes all the sweaty hard work of planting, weeding, hoeing, and mulching worthwhile. But the joy doesn’t stop there – I am constantly rewarded with picturesque sunsets and sunrises, the fresh smell of rainstorms, full moons and starry night skies. The farm is also always ringing with laughter, and love fully encompasses the haven of the Bottom Field.

I invite you to join me in a summer journey of sweltering days and peaceful nights – I invite you to relish the happiness of smelling the fertile, loamy dirt of The Land.”

Illinois’ Poet Laureate Kevin Stein wrote of the book:

“In an era when most stand sorely distanced from the planting, tending, and harvesting of our food, Zoe Brockman reconnects us to the intimate pleasures and pure labor of growing things. Ms. Brockman conjures the seasons of the earth’s body and of our own flesh, linking them in writing both limpid and lyrical. Doing so, she feeds the soul that feeds the body just as surely as her beloved garlic, sweet potatoes, and kale.”