Elemental South: An Anthology of Southern Nature Writing

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Nature writers know that to be fully human is to be engaged with our natural surroundings. Elemental South is a gathering of works by some of the region's best nature writers--people who can coax from words the mysteries of our place in the landscape and the human relationship to wildness.

Arranged by theme according to the basic elements by which many cultures on earth interpret --earth, air, fire, water--the writings consider our actual and assumed connections in the greater scheme of functioning ecosystems. As we read of bears, ancient magnolias, swallow-tail kites, the serenity of a country childhood, the pleasure of eating real food, the remarkable provenance of ancient pottery shards, and much more, these works lure us deep into the southern landscape, away from the constructs of humanity and closer to a recognition of our inextricable ties to the earth.

The writers are all participants in the Southern Nature Project, an ongoing endeavor founded on the conviction that writing like the kind gathered here can help us to lead more human, profound, and courageous lives in terms of how we use our earth. Some of the featured writers are originally from the South, and others migrated here--but all have honed their voices on the region's distinctive landscapes.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Provides a chorus of voices that blend harmoniously despite their different geographies, backgrounds, and styles. By tracing the fault lines and fractures of southern landscapes, society, and spirit, this anthology helps the South begin to heal stronger in the broken places."--Will Harlan, editor of Blue Ridge Outdoors

“This lush collection of works by members of Southern Nature Project showcases the idiosyncratic impact of our region’s natural surroundings on its writers, arguably a stronger influence than the predictable Southern Gothic theme of family secrets."--Atlanta Magazine

"If you like to curl up with a good book on cold winter days and you also love the outdoors, read Elemental South. Each leads us to broader truths through careful observations of our natural surroundings.”--Southern Living

"Contains poetry and prose that is deeply philosophical, richly textured, arresting."--ISLE

"A richly varied collection, well worth your time. If you spend your weekends and evenings exploring Northeast Georgia's wilderness (or wish you did), Elemental South will whet your appetite for more. It probably will open your eyes, too, to more of what's around the bend.”--Northeast Georgia Living

"Published 150 years after Thoreau's book, it is another Walden. I shall urge each of my grandchildren to read it."--Southeastern Geographer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820326894
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,472,767
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Dorinda G. Dallmeyer is a faculty member of the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program at the University of Georgia and is also the associate director of the University of Georgia's Dean Rusk Center—International, Comparative, and Graduate Legal Studies. She is the editor of five books, including Values at Sea, a volume of essays on ethvironmental ethics (Georgia).
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Table of Contents

Foreword : our mutual friend, June 27, 1941-December 8, 2002
Home 3
Black drink 8
Where, beneath the magnolia 13
Eating 15
Hounds chasing deer in the suburbs 20
You are what you eat 21
The bottomland 23
Bears 24
Raccoons, a history 28
Islands 30
Sun time 37
Into the dragon's mouth 43
Riding bareback through the universe 53
Air 54
Of 59
Origin moment 60
Fire in the path 69
Built by fire 75
Rock springs 78
Fire-wings 82
Smoke and mirrors 84
Butterfly 91
First spring flood 95
For the edge of the world 96
The white heron 98
Sweetgum country 103
Diving into the heart of a poem 105
Water 109
The seat of courage 120
Epilogue : why we write
What the creek teaches 125
God willing and the creeks don't rise 127
Where love may find its ground 129
Reasons 131
Wildness in the garden and the wilderness 133
The place of writing in the world 136
Becoming southern 138
Claim staked 140
Writing the birds 142
Losses and gains 145
The un-manifesto : take a hike 148
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