I Am the Earth the Plants Grow Through

Jack Hannan

September 2021

A photographer takes pictures of his wife. She watches him look. What do they see and how does that change over the years? I Am the Earth the Plants Grow Through is about what keeps people together––and what can pull them apart. As Tomas and Marie cross the country and each other’s lives, they discover what it means to be fully human. A story of passion, love, aging, and the sadness of loss.


Jack Hannan has been a hotwalker, a typesetter for Fred Louder, a bookseller, and a publisher. He is a novelist and poet who lives in Montreal, Canada, not far from the house where he was born. His first book was published in 1977, and his first novel, The Poet Is a Radio, was published in 2016. His work has been shortlisted for the A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry and the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. His family knows he is either at home or will be back soon.

BUY Physical Copy

$19.95 | ISBN: 9781773900957

Download as ePUB

$ 9.95 | ISBN: 9781773900964

Download as AdobePDF

$ 9.95 | ISBN: 9781773900988

Format: Trade paper

Size: 8 x 5 in.

Pages: 208

What they say
"Quietly triumphant"
Alison Manley, The Miramichi Reader

Introspective and lyrical, I am the Earth the Plants Grow Through by Jack Hannan takes us on a cross-country trip through time, away from Montreal of the 1970s and Montreal of the present day, following a love story and an art story. ... 

... It is is an unconventional adventure: it can be meandering in places, contemplative in others, and rarely shows its hand. It’s a window into the lives of these three generations, and how each relationship in each generation shapes the children who come out of it. It explores the reasons we love each other and stay, and the reasons we drive each other apart. Hannan’s book is quietly triumphant: beautifully written and deeply thought-provoking.
October 2021, The Miramichi Reader

Mark Anthony Jarman

A captivating novel, I Am the Earth the Plants Grow Through charts a charming worldly couple who cross the map on souped-up motorcycles. The pace is lively, enthusiasm bubbles in the tiny sensual details of each passionate moment, and the players are memorable. Jack Hannan is a smart, dazzling writer.
––Mark Anthony Jarman, author of Knife Party at the Hotel Europa

What Are You Doing?
All Lit Up

The following is excerpted from Jack Hannan's post on All Lit Up's Writer's Block.

The book is only 170 pages long, but writing it took forever. Years. As it went along, I came to enjoy writing it more and more. I was learning something about being alive, patient and attentive. I carried little black notebooks to jot things down on the subway or waiting in line somewhere. Much of the first draft was written on subway cars. Sentences came to me! I began to feel those characters as companions. Those people, I should say, always at the back of my mind. Almost everything that happened through a day somehow related to them.

I enjoy writing novels because it takes so long. I like being with a project for a few years as it grows and becomes what it turns out to be. Writing, when it’s going well, is a bit of a trance, no? Slip down into the pool of thought, a kind of self-hypnosis. This is when writing is its own reward. Though it can be thrilling to know someone is reading it later. A perfect writing day now would seem very quiet for anyone watching. They could think that nothing is happening. What writer hasn’t answered the exasperated question, “What are you doing?” When I was young a perfect writing day would have started at midnight and gone on for eighteen hours with a lot of fuel, but I’m a morning person now. It begins after breakfast, still with coffee. Music plays, but never vocals, those voices. I write on a laptop for a couple of hours. If ever there was a fire at our home, I would leave my passport but run for the laptop. Often I have made notes the night before and I start with that. Then a break, lunch, go outside shopping, thinking about supper, walking around, looking at people. Probably I’ll read for a while. Return to the laptop around 3pm and shut it down at 5. Deborah and I will meet in the kitchen. We’ll spend the evening together. Maybe we’ll visit, maybe we’ll share a crossword, a movie, some reading. Hopefully I’ve collected a few notes over the day; this is a good way to nurture momentum. Hemingway advised that a writer always leave something unwritten, a paragraph, as a place to start the next day. An excitable notebook can do that too.
Read more.
August 2021, All Lit Up


664 Annette Street
Toronto ON
M6S 2C8
T 416-516-0911


University of Toronto Press
Distribution Division
5201 Dufferin Street
Toronto ON  M3H 5T8
(416) 667-7791
Fax: 416-667-7832
Toll Free: 1-800-565-9523
Toll Free Fax: 1-800-221-9985