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RETURN TO SPIRIT LAKE has been given 5-star reviews on and It is recommended as a "must read" for anyone visiting Mount St. Helens and was recommended by The Portland Mercury as a "Good Read" for 2016.

Buy your copy of RETURN TO SPIRIT LAKE and support three locally-owned independent bookstores in Portland:
Annie Bloom's Bookstore:
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Author, teacher and artist Christine Colasurdo teaches creative writing and calligraphy at the Multnomah Arts Center in Portland, Oregon. She is a recipient of 2010 Fishtrap Fellowship and an award-winning poet. She was born in Portland and earned a double Bachelor of Arts degree in French and English from Portland State University in 1984. Upon graduating she moved to France, where she studied at the Université de Poitiers for a year and worked in Paris for two years. After returning to the U.S. in 1987, she worked as a graphic designer, writer, and editor in San Francisco, California. She earned her Master of Arts degree in English literature from U.C. Berkeley in 1992.

Colasurdo has published two books on the outdoors. Her first book, Return to Spirit Lake (1997, rev. 2010), is a memoir of her experiences as a child camping, hiking, and working at Mount St. Helens in Washington. In 2005 it was honored as a “Washington Reads” book by the Washington State Librarian. Her second book, Golden Gate National Parks: A Photographic Journey (2002), celebrates the ecological richness of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in California. Her poetry is featured in anthologies Fading Light and the Marin Poetry Center's 2013 Trees, and her prose is featured in anthologies Holding Common Ground (2005) and In the Blast Zone (2008). She has given talks in Oregon, Washington, and California and has led tours to Mount St. Helens for the Oregon Historical Society and the Society of Environmental Journalists. In 2000 and 2005 she was a featured guest on National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation: Science Friday.” In 2000 she was also a featured guest on Public Radio International’s “To The Best of Our Knowledge.”

Colasurdo has created two museum exhibits about Mount St. Helens at the Cowlitz County Historical Museum, in Kelso, Washington: “Spirit Lake Remembered” in 2000 and “Hiking the Harmony Trail: Meditations on a Changing Landscape” in 2005. She exhibited “In the Land of Loowit” at the Vollum Institute in Portland, Oregon in 2007. As a volunteer, she has served on the board of the Mount St. Helens Institute. She has also worked for many years as an activist to protect the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and its surrounding lands from proposed activities such as road-building, development, and mining. Her proposed name (“Tamanawas”) for the volcano’s new, post-1980 glacier was a finalist with the Washington State Board on Geographic Names.

Colasurdo’s other published works include prize-winning poems, scholarly essays, and articles in magazines including Audubon, Orion, and Sierra. Her poems have been published in the Denver Quarterly, Portland Magazine, Wilderness, and other publications. To hear Colasurdo read her short poem “The Paradox of Enrichment” online go to

As a lettering artist and teacher, Colasurdo has exhibited her art in regional and national exhibitions and has taught calligraphy classes for many years. She has also written on calligraphic topics for the international magazine Letter Arts Review as well as the quarterly publication Alphabet.

In 1997 and 2003, Colasurdo created two public schoolyard gardens in San Francisco featuring native plants of coastal California and organic herbs, fruits and vegetables. She taught outdoor science at Sunset Elementary School and wrote about gardening and nature-related topics for public radio KQED FM.

In 2006 she returned to her hometown of Portland. Visit her Events Page to see her offering of classes, readings and presentations.

The Mount St. Helens Archive
Christine Colasurdo is collecting memories, photographs, stories and other items regarding the pre-eruption landscape of Mount St. Helens. If you have a memory or photo to share, please email her at

copyright 2016 Christine Colasurdo