NORTHFIELD, Vt. — Cara Armstrong, director of Norwich University’s School of Architecture+Art and Design+Build Collaborative has published “A Trick of Living,” a book of digital sketches and poems.

The digital sketching adventure began for Armstrong, who also teaches classes in design and architecture,
when she was issued an iPad as part of Norwich’s iPad initiative in 2019. Posts of her sketches on Facebook drew a modest following and the attention of Big Table Publishing Co. Acquisitions Editor Robin Stratton, who asked Armstrong whether she had thought of making a book.

“I’d been a big fan of Cara’s sketches,” Stratton said, “and when I contacted her, I had the idea of suggesting she collaborate with a poet. Imagine my delight when I discovered she has a second skill – writing poetry! Her brief slices of contentment, humor, and cheery observations were a perfect accompaniment to the sketches so many of us have been admiring on Facebook. A Trick of Living is Big Table’s first illustrated book, and we are really proud and excited.”

Cara Armstrong, director of Norwich University’s School of Architectur+Art and Design+Build Collaborative, has written five books.

Armstrong started writing micropoems to accompany her sketches and a type of memoir combined with a phenology journal emerged.

“Although not a true phenology journal, my writing and drawing are a record and reflection on what is happening around me, an exploration of home — birds at my feeder, life with three cats and a dog, flora and fauna in my garden and those of my neighbors and Camel’s Hump outside my window,” Armstrong said. “Drawing and writing provide a sense of comfort, engagement even in social isolation, and celebrate interspecies solidarity.”

Armstrong’s approach is drawing fans and critical praise.

Trick of Living CVR 4 min“Cara Armstrong has crafted an extraordinary glimpse of ‘traveling home,’ An intimate environment filled with animals

, flowers, everyday objects, and garden, interwoven with poetry. A book for our time of isolation, and a reminder ‘home’ is our real destination,” said Amy Gigi Alexander, publisher of Panoramic Publishing and editor-in-chief of the British literary journal Panorama: the Journal of Intelligent Travel.

Armstrong’s artwork has been shown at locations nationwide, including the Boston Architectural College, Boston; Fallingwater, Mill Run, Pennsylvania; and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas.

“Playful, spare, and keenly observant, Cara Armstrong's drawings touch the core of animals being themselves,”Joan Larkin, author of “My Body: New and Selected Poems” said. “Her vivid short poems, a marvel on their own, strike sparks with the images she has paired them with. Attentive, tender, alive to the shape and mystery of what is, this book is a source of nonstop pleasure.”

Charlotte Digregorio, author of “Ripples of Air: Poems of Healing,” said, “It's evident that Armstrong finds joy in being a poet and observing the natural world. Stunningly beautiful, yet simple illustrations to accompany these short poems.”

Armstrong is available for readings and book signings.

For personalized or signed copies, visit Books can also be ordered through the publisher, Big Table Publishing, at or is available on Amazon, including in a Kindle edition, at

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About Norwich University
Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in baccalaureate and graduate degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States. Norwich is one of our nation's six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

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