Brown Dog of the Yaak: Essays on Art and Activism

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Rick Bass's dog Colter is the brown dog of the Yaak who charges through the mountain valleys following the scent of game. Bass gives a history of his years with Colter as a way of understanding what is intuitive in his quest to create art
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Overview


Rick Bass's dog Colter is the brown dog of the Yaak who charges through the mountain valleys following the scent of game. Bass gives a history of his years with Colter as a way of understanding what is intuitive in his quest to create art
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
These two slim volumes, which inaugurate Milkweed's new "Credo" series, express the importance of place. Each contains the author's statement of belief, a short biography by series editor Scott Slovic, and a bibliography of the author's published work. Bass (The New Wolves, The Book of the Yaak) had a pointer named Colter, an extraordinary dog, and Bass succeeds in translating his physical passion into words. Colter's singleness of purpose, though, is something Bass can only envy as he finds in himself the need not only to write about the natural world but also to become an activist in its defense, particularly of his beloved Yaak Valley in Montana. Reading about Colter and the Yaak is more fun than reading about activism, but Bass confronts the issues seriously and provides much food for thought. Award-winning poet Rogers (Eating Bread and Honey) takes a different tack, explicating the processes by which she creates her poems. A trained zoologist, she brings a scientist's eye to her poetry, often with startlingly beautiful results. As she creates a poem, she says, the poem also creates her. Rogers's prose flows into and out of the poems, making the book a gentle primer not only on reading her poetry but on reading poetry in general. Recommended for academic and public libraries with writing and/or nature collections. The next two books in the series (by William Kittredge and Scott Russell Sanders) will be out in the fall.--Mary Paumier Jones, Westminster P.L, CO Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Bass (Where the Sea Used to Be, 1998, etc.) identifies the triangulate elements used to chart the course of his life and writing. The Bassian motivational universe is hardly a national secret, even to those most fleetingly acquainted with his work: In fiction and nonfiction, it is cut of a cloth, in praise and in defense of those wild places left on earth. One of his three essentials is thus place, in particular the Yaak valley of northwest Montana, his home, inspiration, solace, and love. On that place runs the brown dog, Bass's pointer, as graceful in the natural world as Bass would like to be. His dog, as irreducible as an element, goes lost, and his valley is imperiled by the same forces that rob wildness everywhere. What happens, Bass asks, when the durable falls away, when vital tethers are severed? "What kind of stories do we tell, as we are falling? How do we live our lives?" Two more guiding stars appear in his firmament: activism and writing. Both he considers as shadows compared with the real—a rock is real, a wolf, a fir tree, his dog—but activism is the tool our political culture affords those who are fiercely protective of the real, and no matter how tedious or against the grain, it must be deployed, and it must be done artfully. Writing as well can touch the wild, "having protected, kept alive, or even enhanced the shape" of the landscape's gifts. For Bass, these three anchors are also sanctuaries, one of which he will choose as a place where he can hide from the other two; each also opens up experiences left untouched by the others, to be explored as one might a strange house, room to room. Bass is an eloquent essayist; he somehow avoids sermonizingwhile lecturing, though he too often writes of things better seen and not said, like "starlight on the fur of sleeping wolves," which sounds awfully mawkish. Pleasant, but Bass's credo didn't need a separate book to clarify; none of his works skirt the issue.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571312242
  • Publisher: Milkweed Editions
  • Publication date: 7/28/1999
  • Series: Credo Series
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 150
  • Product dimensions: 4.98 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.53 (d)

Table of Contents

Brown Dog of the Yaak: Essays on Art and Activism 3
1 Colter 3
2 The Yaak 27
3 Activism 55
4 Art 91
Rick Bass: A Portrait 123
Bibliography of Rick Bass's Work 139
Appendix 163
How to Help the Yaak 163
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