Sisters of the Earth: Women's Prose and Poetry About Nature


Sisters of the Earth is a stirring collection of women’s writing on nature: Nature as healer. Nature as delight. Nature as mother and sister. Nature as victim. Nature as companion and reminder of what is wild in us all. Here, among more than a hundred poets and prose writers, are Diane Ackerman on the opium of sunsets; Ursula K. Le Guin envisioning an alternative world in which human beings are not estranged from their planet; and Julia Butterfly Hill on weathering a fierce storm in the redwood tree where she ...

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Sisters of the Earth is a stirring collection of women’s writing on nature: Nature as healer. Nature as delight. Nature as mother and sister. Nature as victim. Nature as companion and reminder of what is wild in us all. Here, among more than a hundred poets and prose writers, are Diane Ackerman on the opium of sunsets; Ursula K. Le Guin envisioning an alternative world in which human beings are not estranged from their planet; and Julia Butterfly Hill on weathering a fierce storm in the redwood tree where she lived for more than two years. Here, too, are poems, essays, stories, and journal entries by Emily Dickinson, Alice Walker, Terry Tempest Williams, Willa Cather, Gretel Erlich, Adrienne Rich, and others—each offering a vivid, eloquent response to the natural world.

This second edition of Sisters of the Earth is fully revised and updated with a new preface and nearly fifty new pieces, including new contributions by Louise Erdrich, Pam Houston, Zora Neale Hurston, Starhawk, Joy Williams, Kathleen Norris, Rita Dove, and Barbara Kingsolver.

Sisters of the Earth introduce the reader to female perspectives on nature that complement Thoreau's, Muir's, and Edward Abbey's. The selections span a century and encompass the voices of a variety of women, with more than 90 poems, essays, stories and journal entries included in all.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Not only is [Sisters of the Earth] a pleasure; it is relevant and even urgent—politically, aesthetically and spiritually.” —The Women’s Review of Books

“These voices remind, rejoice, bewail, berate—with love, joy, compassion, energy, nerve and outrage—and we’d better pay attention.” –Janet Kauffman, author of Places in the World a Woman Could Walk

“The voices of . . . women—white, black, Native American—sing out in this luminous anthology, which spans centuries, genres, and literary careers…. Taste and sensitivity are evident throughout.” –Publishers Weekly

“Anderson’s intelligent preface and headnotes add much to this generous, long overdue, and very welcome collection.” –Outside

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The voices of nearly 100 women--white, black, Native American--sing out in this luminous anthology, which spans centuries, genres and literary careers from Willa Cather's to Sue Hubbell's. The thread that binds together the poetry, short stories and essays collected here is the harmonious relationship between women and nature that is about ``caring rather than controlling,'' as editor Anderson indicates. In her poem ``My Help Is in the Mountainsic ,'' Nancy Wood ( Hollering Sun ) becomes part of the sun-warmed rock that soothes her ``earthly wounds.'' In a prose reflection, ``The Miracle of Renewal,'' Laura Lee Davidson is rejuvenated by a year spent in the Canadian woods in 1914, which provided her with a ``gallery of mind-pictures.'' Both Linda Hogan's essay, ``Walking,'' and Elizabeth Coatsworth's poem, ``On the Hills,'' seek and find continuity in nature, as well as a kinship with the other times and places that is evoked by it. Taste and sensitivity are evident throughout the volume, whether tacit as nocturnal solitude or vocal as a feline ``howl . . . for the flame of yellow moons'' in Judith Minty's poem, ``Why Do You Keep Those Cats?'' Anderson is a freelance writer and editor. QPB selection. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400033218
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/9/2003
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 401,002
  • Product dimensions: 5.19 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

Lorraine Anderson is a freelance editor, writer, and teacher whose work focuses on encouraging a reciprocal relationship with nature. She served as lead editor of the college textbook Literature and the Environment: A Reader on Nature and Culture (1998) and collaborated with Thomas Edwards on the anthology At Home on This Earth: Two Centuries of U.S. Women's Nature Writing (2002). She holds a B.A in English from the University of Utah and an M.S. in creation sprituality from Naropa University, and lives in Davis, California.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the First Edition
Fire 3
Beginning with a Place 4
The Joy-Song of Nature 7
The First Roots Creep Up 10
Blossoming Pear Tree 12
Breaklight 14
Believing the Bond 15
Luna 19
The South Corner 22
A White Heron 23
Being Still 36
Home to the Wilderness 37
The Magnolia Tree 45
A Breeze Swept Through 48
The Many and the One 50
I Will Lie Down 52
Rolling Naked in the Morning Dew 57
A Rinse in the River 59
Sandstone Seduction 62
River, O River 65
Christmas in Driftwood Valley 66
Jaunt from Nulato 71
Visual Opium 74
Why? 77
Spring in the City 78
Childhood on White Island 84
Green Thoughts in a Green Shade 88
My Mississippi Spring 90
A Bouquet of Wild Flowers 91
Glimpses of Salem 94
On the Hills 98
Trek to Blue Lake 99
Night in the Country 104
Love Poem 108
Why Do You Keep Those Cats? 113
Gabimichigami 114
Looking for Abbey's Lion 117
The Recognition 121
The Source of a River 123
Wilderness in the Blood 127
Annunciation 129
A Different Sympathy 142
Night Song 144
Becoming Feral 146
The Safety Behind Me 150
In the Open 151
The Feel of the Outdoors 153
In a Valley of Peace 160
The Angry Lunch Cafe 161
The Storm 166
The Old One and the Wind 169
My Help Is in the Mountain and Earth Cure Me 173
The Ancient People 174
Journal Entries 186
Daystar 191
The Bowl 193
Lesson 1 and Lesson 2 197
State of Grace 198
Cured by Flowers 201
Meadow Turf 205
The Nature Cure - For the Body 206
Longing 210
The Balsam Fir 212
The Back-Road 222
My Desert Pond 224
The Miracle of Renewal 228
Depression in Winter 231
Come into Animal Presence 235
The Heart's Fox 236
Happiness 242
Sudden Knowing 244
The Word 246
To Build a Dam 249
Two Creatures of the Long-Shadowed Forest 252
The Fawn 258
Feathered Philosophers 259
A Sadness 262
A Little Nomad 264
A Wonder Tale 270
Drama on a Wooden Fence 280
Houseguest 283
Dance of Giants 288
Changing 294
Among My Closet Friends 295
The Old Cherry Tree 300
In Praise of Trees 310
The Man 315
The Last Antelope 317
The Hunt and Use 327
Audubon 332
Who? 334
Earth's Green Mantle 336
Bonelight 342
Love Canal 346
The Alegria Canyon and Afterword 350
When Earth becomes an "It" 358
The Hewers of Wood 359
Fallen Forests 365
Bitter Root Rituals, Stanzas I, II, and III 368
Clearcut 371
Contradictions: Tracking Poems, Part 18 374
Spirit of Love 379
Turning to Another Way 380
Eve Revisited 384
The Rainbow Bridge 386
Kopis'taya (A Gathering of Spirits) 392
Declaration of the Four Sacred Things 394
Native Origin 396
The Common Living Dirt 400
What Holds the Water, What Holds the Light 403
Amazing Grace 408
Dynamics 414
End of the Beginning 416
Mind in the Waters 423
May's Lion 425
Demeter 435
Acknowledgments 437
Bibliography and Further Reading 439
Index of Authors and Titles 457
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2001

    A woman's perspective on nature

    This book is a jem. Filled with pieces of writing and people, out of print and turn of the century. I grew up with Little House books and was thrilled when I found Laura Ingalls Wilder own words here. I turn to this book in winter, when things are grey, and just when I need a lift. It mixes University graduates with heart and soul to write about nature, a simple yet profound subject with, with people who simply love nature and have the ability to translate their love . My copy is dogeared and well loved. A rare treasure trove, I have a wish list for this book, that all who love the earth and have taken joy, or comfort from it's presence, could enjoy this book.

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