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What Wildness Is This: Women Write about the Southwest

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What Wildness Is This: Women Write about the Southwest Cover

ISBN13: 9780292716308
ISBN10: 0292716303
Condition:
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the Gulf Coast of Texas to the Pacific Coast of California, and from the southern borderlands to the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains, these intimate portraits of women's lives on the land powerfully demonstrate that nature writing is no longer the exclusive domain of men, that women bring unique and transformative perspectives to this genre.

Synopsis:

How do women experience the vast, arid, rugged land of the American Southwest? The Story Circle Network, a national organization dedicated to helping women write about their lives, posed this question, and nearly three hundred women responded with original pieces of writing that told true and meaningful stories of their personal experiences of the land. From this deep reservoir of writing--as well as from previously published work by writers including Joy Harjo, Denise Chavez, Diane Ackerman, Naomi Shihab Nye, Leslie Marmon Silko, Gloria Anzaldua, Terry Tempest Williams, and Barbara Kingsolver--the editors of this book have drawn nearly a hundred pieces that witness both to the ever-changing, ever-mysterious life of the natural world and to the vivid, creative, evolving lives of women interacting with it. Through prose, poetry, creative nonfiction, and memoir, the women in this anthology explore both the outer landscape of the Southwest and their own inner landscapes as women living on the land--the congruence of where they are and who they are. The editors have grouped the writings around eight evocative themes: - The way we live on the land - Our journeys through the land - Nature in cities - Nature at risk - Nature that sustains us - Our memories of the land - Our kinship with the animal world - What we leave on the land when we are gone From the Gulf Coast of Texas to the Pacific Coast of California, and from the southern borderlands to the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains, these intimate portraits of women's lives on the land powerfully demonstrate that nature writing is no longer the exclusive domain of men, that women bring unique and transformative perspectives to this genre.

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Daniel Olivas, May 14, 2007 (view all comments by Daniel Olivas)
The University of Texas Press brings us "What Wildness Is This: Women Write About the Southwest" ($19.95 paperback) edited by Susan Wittig Albert, Susan Hanson, Jan Epton Seale and Paula Stallings Yost.

As the title makes clear, the editors gathered the works of women writers who have ventured to put the spirit of the Southwest into words. The editors wisely divide the 100 or so essays and poems into eight categories such as "Geographies" and "The Nature of Urban Life." This allows the reader to navigate with greater ease through these vibrant, evocative and often moving pieces.

In Sandra Ramos O'Briant's wry essay "The Green Addiction," the writer recounts how her paternal grandmother "didn't like it that Daddy had married a Mexican." After her parents divorced and she left Texas with her mother for New Mexico, she was introduced to the exquisite pain of eating chile, something her non-Mexican relatives "didn't have the cojones to deal with."

And in Nancy Mairs' moving "Writing West," we get a taste of what it is to live and travel in the Southwest in a wheelchair. Her prose is spare, tough and unsentimental.

Pat Mora's "Voces del Jard?n" is a homage to both the legacy and pleasures of her walled garden, which, she notes, is a "design indigenous to Mexico ... brought to the Americas by the Spanish ... a tradition Moorish and Mexican."

And, of course, there are descriptions of nature, wild and free, as in Sandra Lynn's "Poem in Which I Give You a Canyon": "Notice that this canyon is comprised of / two strata of volcanic origin: / a dark bitter chocolate and an airy vanilla."

It is a daunting task to describe fully the contours of this anthology, because so many fine writers are represented here -- including Joy Harjo, Denise Ch?vez and Barbara Kingsolver.

"What Wildness Is This" is a fitting tribute to the rugged complexity of the Southwest from the pens of a diverse group of women writers.

[This is shortened version of the full review that first appeared in the El Paso Times.]
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780292716308
Author:
Albert, Susan Wittig
Publisher:
University of Texas Press
Introduction:
Moore, Kathleen Dean
Editor:
Seale, Jan Epton
Editor:
Hanson, Susan
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
American literature
Subject:
Southwest, new
Subject:
American literature -- 20th century.
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Series:
Southwestern Writers Collection
Publication Date:
20070331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
316
Dimensions:
9.06x6.55x.85 in. 1.21 lbs.

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Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » General

What Wildness Is This: Women Write about the Southwest New Trade Paper
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Product details 316 pages University of Texas Press - English 9780292716308 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , How do women experience the vast, arid, rugged land of the American Southwest? The Story Circle Network, a national organization dedicated to helping women write about their lives, posed this question, and nearly three hundred women responded with original pieces of writing that told true and meaningful stories of their personal experiences of the land. From this deep reservoir of writing--as well as from previously published work by writers including Joy Harjo, Denise Chavez, Diane Ackerman, Naomi Shihab Nye, Leslie Marmon Silko, Gloria Anzaldua, Terry Tempest Williams, and Barbara Kingsolver--the editors of this book have drawn nearly a hundred pieces that witness both to the ever-changing, ever-mysterious life of the natural world and to the vivid, creative, evolving lives of women interacting with it. Through prose, poetry, creative nonfiction, and memoir, the women in this anthology explore both the outer landscape of the Southwest and their own inner landscapes as women living on the land--the congruence of where they are and who they are. The editors have grouped the writings around eight evocative themes: - The way we live on the land - Our journeys through the land - Nature in cities - Nature at risk - Nature that sustains us - Our memories of the land - Our kinship with the animal world - What we leave on the land when we are gone From the Gulf Coast of Texas to the Pacific Coast of California, and from the southern borderlands to the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains, these intimate portraits of women's lives on the land powerfully demonstrate that nature writing is no longer the exclusive domain of men, that women bring unique and transformative perspectives to this genre.
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