What does it mean to be a westerner? With all the mythology that has grown up about the American West, is it even possible to describe "how it was, how it is, here, in the Westjust that," in the words of Lynn Stegner? Starting with that challenge, Stegner and Russell Rowland invited several dozen members of the western literary tribe to write about living in the West and being a western writer in particular. West of 98 gathers sixty-six literary testimonies, in essays and poetry, from a stellar collection of writers who represent every state west of the 98th parallela kind of Greek chorus of the most prominent voices in western literature today, who seek to "characterize the West as each of us grew to know it, and, equally important, the West that is still becoming."
In West of 98, western writers speak to the ways in which the West imprints itself on the people who live there, as well as how the people of the West create the personality of the region. The writers explore the western landscapehow it has been revered and abused across centuriesand the inescapable limitations its aridity puts on all dreams of conquest and development. They dismantle the boosterism of manifest destiny and the cowboy and mountain man ethos of every-man-for-himself, and show instead how we must create new narratives of cooperation if we are to survive in this spare and beautiful country. The writers seek to define the essence of both actual and metaphoric wilderness as they journey toward a West that might honestly be called home.
A collective declaration not of our independence but of our interdependence with the land and with each other, West of 98 opens up a whole new panorama of the western experience.
|Publisher:||University of Texas Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Lynn Stegner is the author of four works of fiction, three of them novelsBecause a Fire Was in My Head (which won the Faulkner Award for Best Novel, was a Literary Ventures Selection, a Book Sense Pick, and a New York Times Editors’ Choice); Undertow; Fata Morgana; and the novella triptych, Pipers at the Gates of Dawn (Faulkner Society Gold Medal in the novella category).
Russell Rowland has published two novels, In Open Spaces, which earned a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and made the San Francisco Chronicle’s Bestseller List, and The Watershed Years, which was a finalist for the High Plains Book Award for fiction.
Table of Contents
Introduction by Lynn Stegner
Louise Erdrich, Big Grass Larry Woiwode, Wealth of the West Larry Watson, Whose West? Which West? West of What?
Dan O'Brien, Viewed from Ground Level Kent Meyers, Naked Time Ron Hansen, Why the West?
Jonis Agee, The Fence Antonya Nelson, Two or Three Places Rick Bass, The Light at the Bottom of the Mind Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, Points Jim Barnes, Between the Sans Bois and the Kiamichi Larry McMurtry, Excerpt from Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen Susanna Sonnenberg, Slurry, Drainage, Frontage Road Jim Harrison, Geopiety River Sequence I-VII Gary Ferguson, Wolf and Coyote and Kumbaya Judy Blunt, What We Leave Ed Kemmick, Reading Montana Dan Aadland, Ranching in Suburbia Russell Rowland, Chasing the Lamb Annick Smith, The Summer of Now John Clayton, The Native Home of Governors on Horseback Willard Wyman, The Way Home Melissa Kwasny, The Imaginary Book of Cave Paintings Walter Kirn, Livingston Blows William Kittredge, Where Should We Be?
Alyson Hagy, Self-Portrait as the Strong and Silent Type Kenneth Lincoln, Blood West Lee Ann Roripaugh, Motherlands and Mother Tongues: Five Reflections on Language and Landscape C. J. Box, Blame It on Rancho Deluxe Teresa Jordan, The Conceit of Girls Beth Loffreda, Pinus Contorta Gretel Ehrlich, Where the Burn Meets the Dead Stephen Graham Jones, Two Illustrations of the West, the first being second-hand, the second first Laura Pritchett, Cowboy Up, Cupcake? No Thanks Patricia Nelson Limerick, The Fatal West Page Lambert, A Shape-Shifting Land Tom Miller, Moving West, Writing East Gary Nabhan, Tasting a Sense of Place in the Arid West Denise Chávez, Entre Mundos/Between Worlds David Lee, Matins in the Cathedral of Wind Kim Barnes, On Language: A Short Meditation Ron Carlson, Utah Cabin Under Heaven, July 3
Debra Gwartney, Plucked from the Grave Robert Wrigley, Two Poems: Progress County Stephen Trimble, Tumbling Toward the Sea Terry Tempest Williams, Friendship Amy Irvine, Red Jim Hepworth, Growing Up Western Charles Bowden, No Direction Home Sally Denton, Beyond This Place There Be Dragons Douglas Unger, City of Nomads, City of Second Chances Ursula K. Le Guin, Places Names John Daniel, East to the West David Guterson, Three Poems: Closed Mill Neighbors White Firs Craig Lesley, Celilo Falls Barry Lopez, A Dark Light in the West: Racism and Reconciliation David Mas Masumoto, Dirty Stories Gary Snyder, Two Poems: The Black-tailed Hare Covers the Ground Louis B. Jones, "It's Like They Tilted the Whole Country East-to-West. And Everything that Wasn't Tied-Down Slid"
Peter Fish, Star Struck Maxine Hong Kingston, Dias de los Muertos Harold Gilliam, The San Francisco Psyche Jane Hirshfield, Three Poems: The Supple Deer Building and Earthquake The Dark Hour Greg Sarris, Maria Evangeliste Kris Saknussemm, Headed Page Stegner, The Sense of No Place
What People are Saying About This
One of the glories of this book is that it is host to 67 writers...Voices and viewpoints are left out, but that does not diminish the value and pleasure of West of 98.