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. Now in…  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:
9781595340887
Publisher:
Trinity University Press
Publication date:
04/14/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
480
File size:
10 MB

Meet the Author

Barry Lopez is the author of Arctic Dreams, Of Wolves and Men, Resistance, Light Action in the Caribbean, and eleven other works of fiction and nonfiction. His essays are collected in two books, Crossing Open Ground and About This Life. He contributes regularly to Granta, the Georgia Review, Orion, Outside, the Paris Review, Manoa, and other publications in the United States and abroad. In addition to the National Book Award, he is the recipient of an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim, Lannan, and National Science Foundations. He lives in western Oregon.

Debra Gwartney is the author of the memoir Live Through This, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in February 2009. She teaches creative writing at Portland State University and lives in western Oregon.

Molly O'Halloran is an illustrator and cartographer whose work has appeared in volumes of fiction, travel writing, essays, and archaeological editions. She has lived and worked in Chicago, the Upper Sonoran Desert, the northern Sierra Nevada, and the Great Basin and now calls Austin, Texas, home.

Writers below:

Jeffery Renard Allen, New York
Kim Barnes, Idaho
Conger Beasley, Missouri
Franklin Burroughs, Maine
Lan Samantha Chang, Iowa
Michael Collier, Maryland
Elizabeth Cox, Massachusetts
John Daniel, Oregon
Jan DeBlieu, North Carolina
William deBuys, New Mexico
Gretel Ehrlich, California
Charles Frazier, North Carolina
Pamela Frierson, Hawaii
Patricia Hampl, Minnesota
Robert Hass, California
Emily Hiestand, Massachusetts
Linda Hogan, Colorado
Stephen Graham Jones, Texas
John Keeble, Washington
Barbara Kingsolver, Virginia
William Kittredge, Montana
Jon Krakauer, Colorado
Gretchen Legler, Maine
Arturo Longoria, Texas
Bill McKibben, New York
Ellen Meloy, Utah
Robert Morgan, New York
Susan Brind Morrow, New York
Antonya Nelson, Texas
Robert Michael Pyle, Washington
Pattiann Rogers, Colorado
Scott Russell Sanders, Indiana
Eva Saulitis, Alaska
Donna Seaman, Illinois
Carolyn Servid, Alaska
Kim Stafford, Oregon
Mary Swander, Iowa
Arthur Sze, New Mexico
Mike Tidwell, Maryland
Luis Alberto Urrea, Illinois
Luis Verano, Oregon
D. J. Waldie, California
Joy Williams, Florida
Terry Tempest Williams, Utah
Larry Woiwode, North Dakota

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