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On Nature's Terms: Contemporary Voices / Edition 1

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Overview

Outside, where the wind is blowing, we see the world on nature's terms, and we see that it is severely endangered. Turning inward, we seek a sense of connection with nature that could perhaps help us through the current environmental crisis. In this book, some of the most observant Americans of our day explore these outer and inner worlds in powerful pieces that show the vitality and range of contemporary nature writing. John Hay's "A Faire Bay," an original collection of thoughts on the pollution of the Chesapeake, opens the book, and Edward Hoagland's "A Year as It Turns," a group of short seasonal pieces that originally appeared as editorials in the New York Times, serves as the conclusion.

Some of the other authors represented here include Rick Bass, Marcia Bonta, Charles Bowden, Jean Craighead George, Barry Lopez, Gary Snyder, and Terry Tempest Williams. Whether swimming with dolphins in the Florida Keys or stalking deer with the mountain lions, these authors experience and reflect on the terms nature sets and the terms we set for nature. With them, we discover the importance of the jack pine in the Boundary Waters, uncover the hidden beauty of Sonoran cacti, explore the very alive world of a Pennsylvania winter, visit the startling silences of the Canadian River Gorge in the Southwest, experience the breathtaking world of life on arctic ice, and view Venus at daybreak from the Grand Canyon. These are stories of place, and of family and friends, both human and nonhuman. They are tales of understanding and coming to terms with the world around us.

THOMAS J. LYON, of Carlsbad, California, edited the journal Western American Literature for over twenty years. He taught at Utah State University and has received awards from the Utah Wilderness Association and Bridgerland Audubon Society.

PETER STINE is the author of Survival, a collection of literary essays. He was the editor-in-chief of Witness from 1987 to 2008 and during that time received ten editorial grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.

What Readers Are Saying:

"While aiming for a wider audience, this collection attempts to bridge the gap from modern suburban and urban life to the wild. Drawing equally from lesser-known writers and from those who are already established, . . . the editors strive, through the eyes of the essayists, to make the reader 'see' the wild again. On the whole, they succeed. . . . [it then compares it to a similar book and says it's the better buy because it's more comprehensive and reprints complete essays rather than excerpts]"--Library Journal

" . . . an impassioned, personal, poetic and sometimes political cry from the heart, and from the heartland."--Salt Lake Tribune

"Taken together, these essays are hallmarks of thoughtful, careful writing. They represent nearly every region in the country, indicting chemical pollution in Pennsylvania, the destruction of rivers in Texas, the massacre of cougars in New Mexico. It's just the sort of book to dip into before sitting down to write an angry letter to the folks in charge."--Outside Magazine

"Thomas J. Lyon . . . has assembled some of the best contemporary nature writers in his most recent book, On Nature's Terms. . . . One of the most impressive essays in the collection is "The Afterlife," by Rick Bass . . . Bass has once again proven himself to be a master of the short essay-nature writing simply does not get any better than "The Afterlife." . . . This is a book to buy and treasure, loan to friends and family, and take on long trips to fill the hours."--Bloomsbury Review

"There is something in this collection to delight and disturb everyone."--Okiotak (Anchorage Audubon newsletter)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The best selections in this collection of 20 essays, tales and explorations (most reprinted from the journal Witness , which Stine edits) fulfill Lyon's belief that nature writing ``reminds us of . . . the simple capacity of being here and experiencing.'' Such essays let readers share the joy of discovery, such as of a rare cactus, or the sense of rage that ensues with the destruction of an ecosystem. Stephen Trimble describes touchingly the difference a companion--wife, child or even dog--makes in how one perceives the wilderness. Rick Bass's depiction of a few summer days in northwestern Montana--floating for trout, saving his dogs from a porcupine's quills--creates a pastoral cocoon in which readers are enfolded. Charles Bowden asks disturbing questions about mountain lions, humans and the lust for the kill. Unfortunately, too many of the essays hector rather than enlighten. Marcia Bonta forces her comparison between the ``sane world of nature . . . and the often insane world of humanity,'' and William Kittredge pens a simplistic call to live more harmoniously, like the Native Americans of yore. Lyon edits the journal Western American Literature . (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780890965221
  • Publisher: Texas A&M University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1992
  • Series: Louise Lindsey Merrick Natural Environment Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 220
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Meet the Author

THOMAS J. LYON, of Carlsbad, California, edited the journal Western American Literature for over twenty years. He taught at Utah State University and has received awards from the Utah Wilderness Association and Bridgerland Audubon Society.

PETER STINE is the author of Survival, a collection of literary essays. He was the editor-in-chief of Witness from 1987 to 2008 and during that time received ten editorial grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Out from under the Dome 3
A Faire Bay 5
Love among the Lion Killers 11
Hermit 25
Ghosts 28
Coming Home 30
January Journal 36
Sing Me down the Mountain 47
The Afterlife 55
Apologia 83
The Abstract Wild 87
Undressing the Bear 104
Cryptic Cacti on the Boderline 108
From "Here/Now": Mostly on Place 116
The Woman Who Married a Bear 123
White Wilderness 138
Meeting the Tree of Life 144
Animals as Brothers and Sisters 157
Vallley of the Crows 167
Dust-blown Dreams and the Canadian River Gorge 175
A Year As It Turns 194
About the Contributors 210
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