With the publication of Lee’s memoir of growing up on a farm insouthwestern Ontario, Black Moss launched itsSettlements series. This is a series of books in which Canadian artists reflect onthe land, the neighbourhood and the “place” in their lives; thereby telling thestory of this country.
Lee is:" a poet, not afarmer, though I was born a farmer’s son. I spent the first nineteen years ofmy life on the very land settled by my great-great grandfather and namesake,John Lee.”
He goes on to say that whenever he visits the farm where he wasborn and raised, he is ”painfully aware that important things are slowly comingto a close.” Lee wrote this book just before his father died in early spring.He wrote, “My father has died and my mother and uncle are growing old andslowing down. I need only regard the fading glory of the prize plaques in thesheep pen, and the black paint shaling from the failing barns with their saggingwhite-washed stone foundations to know I am right. And when I seethe crisis coming concerning what to do with the land, I realize that I havebetrayed my parentage by leaving. However, I have always felt something ofa foundling in me. I was never qualified to stay despite my consanguinaryobligations. My roots are deep in the land of my father and the land is deepin me. So, what to do? I am no tiller, nor have I ever been. I was born tobooks. “My earth is made from paper. My plough turns a furrow of words.”close this panel