Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape

Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape

by Barry Lopez
     
 

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Published to great acclaim in 2006, the hardcover edition of Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape met with outstanding reviews and strong sales, going into three printings. A language-lover's dream, Home Ground revitalized a descriptive language for the American landscape by combining geography, literature, and folklore in one volume.…  See more details below

Overview


Published to great acclaim in 2006, the hardcover edition of Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape met with outstanding reviews and strong sales, going into three printings. A language-lover's dream, Home Ground revitalized a descriptive language for the American landscape by combining geography, literature, and folklore in one volume. Now in paperback, this visionary reference is available to an entire new segment of readers. Home Ground brings together 45 poets and writers to create more than 850 original definitions for words that describe our lands and waters. The writers draw from careful research and their own distinctive stylistic, personal, and regional diversity to portray in bright, precise prose the striking complexity of the landscapes we inhabit. Home Ground includes 100 black-and-white line drawings by Molly O’Halloran and an introductory essay by Barry Lopez.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
How to define an arroyo, badlands, eddy, a muskeg? What is a desire path, a kiss tank, a nubble? These words, many forgotten today, refer to various aspects of a landscape to which many of us have lost our connection. Drawing on the polyglot richness of American English, National Book Award-winning author Lopez (Arctic Dreams) assembles 45 writers, known for their intimate connection to particular places, to collectively create a unique American dictionary. Barbara Kingsolver, William Kittredge, Arturo Longoria, Jon Krakauer, Bill McKibben, Antonya Nelson, Luis Alberto Urrea and Joy Williams, among others, vividly describe land and water forms. What is a cofferdam? "Imagine a decorative wishing well, then imagine that well writ large," notes Antonya Nelson. And Patricia Hampl tells us that the Dutch word vly (marshy headwaters of a stream) "may have occasioned the name of New York's rowdy Fly Market" in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Many entries quote American explorers and writers such as Herman Melville, Willa Cather, Mark Twain, John Steinbeck and Cormac McCarthy, as they uncover layers of etymology and American regional difference. Line drawings enhance geographic understanding; marginal quotations further evoke period and place. This marvelous book enlivens readers to the rich diversity of Americans' complex relationship to the land. (Oct. 4) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Starting with the premise that in order to understand place better, we need to define its language in a more precise, evocative way, National Book Award-winning nature writer Lopez (Arctic Dreams) and freelance editor Gwartney offer a unique collection of geographical terms from every region of the United States. The 45 contributors, among them Jon Krakauer and Barbara Kingsolver, chose words that Americans use to describe landscape features where they live, then enriched their definitions with literary quotes, comments, irony, and humor. The result is a readable A-to-Z geological and geographical dictionary that surpasses other dictionaries in both scope and coverage. Included are vernacular terms for features unique to very specific places (e.g., ganderbrush), synonymous terms with regional twists (e.g., angostura), terms carrying different meanings in different regions (e.g., vega), common terms (e.g., glacier), contemporary terms (e.g., Detroit rip-rap), and fun terms (e.g., pimple mound). The occasional literary excerpts in the margins help place the terms in context. Also helpful are illustrations and the contributor biographies. Missing is a pronunciation guide, which would have been useful for the many non-English terms. Readers may prefer to find this delightful reference work shelved in the circulation collection. Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.-Maureen J. Delaney-Lehman, Lake Superior State Univ. Lib., Sault Ste. Marie, MI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781595340573
Publisher:
Trinity University Press
Publication date:
02/23/2010
Edition description:
First Trade Paper Edition
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
790,863
Product dimensions:
7.60(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.20(d)

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