American Literature of the Sea and Great Lakes

VUKELICH, GEORGE (1927-1995). “[I]t was good to be on the Great Lakes,”* wrote George Vukelich in 1955 to the editor of the Milwaukee Journal, after a spell as an ore boat deckhand. This sentiment pervades much of his work, including his only novel, Fisherman’s Beach (1962); collections of his newspaper columns, North Country Notebook, Vol. 1 (1987) and Vol. 2 (1993); his dozen film documentaries, among them Wild River Country (1968) and The Last Menominee (1965); two decades of radio broadcasts; and numerous short stories and poems, including “The Bosun’s Chair” (1960) and “Song of the Ouisconsing” (1953).

Born and raised near Milwaukee, Vukelich was influenced by the Great Lakes from youth. He explored and fished the Lake country with his father, regarding the outdoors as a place of worship. Inspired by Henry David Thoreau* and John Muir, Vukelich revered the Lakes, and his writing often concerns their preservation. His Lakes fiction is vivid and historically accurate.

Donald P. Curtis