Steve Himmer Reviews Clay: A Novel by Melissa Harrison
It’s an old but important question in environmentalism and art alike: Do we place the human at the center or the edges? What’s the right role to assign ourselves when we create national parks or urban oases, or when we attempt to tell stories about a world containing more species than solely our own?
Kim Wyatt Reviews Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods by Christine Byl
Armed with an English literature and philosophy degree, Byl finds herself after college seeking diversion in Glacier National Park where she becomes a “traildog,” a laborer who builds, maintains, and designs trails. One season leads to another and then finally makes a life, one in which Byl not only finds her path but builds it herself.
Dorine Jennette Reviews Corpse Whale, Poems by dg nanouk okpik
Have you ever noticed how many poetry collections labeled experimental or daring or innovative by their jacket blurbers are anything but? Here’s good news for you: surprises abound in Corpse Whale, the new collection by dg nanouk okpik. An Alaskan Native of Inupiat-Inuit descent, okpik sets Corpse Whale in Alaska.
Andrew C. Gottlieb Reviews Hunger Mountain: A Field Guide to Mind and Landscape by David Hinton
There’s a magic that comes from the combination of scholarly work—language, time period, spiritual history, place— that David Hinton has studied and mastered over the years. The focus is Taoist theory and thought, “in part because it represents such a remarkably contemporary worldview. It is secular, and yet deeply spiritual,” he tells us.
Rosalie Morales Kearns Reviews Women Who Sleep with Animals, Stories by Lisa Norris
It’s easy, at first, to forget this miraculous quality of animals as one moves forward in the collection, as subsequent stories feature animals killed in accidents or for the sake of scientific research. The human characters’ varied reactions to these deaths are skillfully woven into stories involving more familiar human dilemmas like rejection, illness, and disappointment.
Melanie Dylan Fox Reviews Horizon’s Lens: My Time on the Turning World, Essays by Elizabeth Dodd
One of Dodd’s greatest strengths is that although she has integrated diverse material—sometimes from seemingly disparate sources—the material is interconnected, speaking satisfyingly to her larger thematic focus. This collection is structurally impressive in its cohesiveness within the parts and for the whole.
David Bernardy Reviews The Names of Things, a Novel by John Colman Woods
Set against the backdrop of a nomadic tribal community in eastern Africa, John Colman Wood’s quietly affecting debut novel, The Names of Things, explores the intricacies between love and grief and the intersections of nature and culture.
Alison Hawthorne Deming Reviews Through the Second Skin, Poems by Derek Sheffield
Poetry this keenly engaged is enough to make me think that, as the supreme fiction, poetry is an instrument that just might have the power to keep the world in balance. “There is no question,” Sheffield writes, “we live by relations.” This is a book to be read and re-read in contemplation and admiration for the way it opens up the reflection space so many of us hunger for in a frenzied time.
Corey Lewis Reviews The Bioregional Imagination: Literature, Ecology, and Place, Edited by Tom Lynch, Cheryll Glotfelty, and Karla Armbruster
This breadth of coverage, as well as the in-depth discussion of so many different types of bioregional projects, provides much to recommend The Bioregional Imagination to readers, students, scholars and teachers alike. I am confident we will see this collection grow to become a staple in our field, much like Glotfelty’s 1996 collection The Ecocriticism Reader. For anyone working in ecocriticism, environmental writing, or bioregional sustainability, it promises to be of much value, reaching classic status in the bioregional literature canon.
Andrew C. Gottlieb Reviews The Natural Building Companion: A Comprehensive Guide to Integrative Design and Construction, by Jacob Deva Racusin and Ace McArleton
This book isn’t designed to turn anyone into an architect, general contractor, or DIY homebuilder overnight. It’s a reference book to aid in the process, offering strategies and instruction that inform how one designs a building, while raising awareness about what’s involved in the building of a home—and what should be involved, given global and local environmental dilemmas. The Natural Building Companion is an excellent starting point for anyone wanting to build smarter: more naturally.
Craig Reinbold Reviews The Chalk Circle: Intercultural Prizewinning Essays, Edited by Tara L. Masih
In these pages, we’re allowed to revel in a real diversity of stories, and discover that there are no easy answers. These essays exude a realistic—and often troubling—ambiguity, an ambiguity inherent in the process of constructing a genuine intercultural identity. Intercultural being the choice word here.
Andrew C. Gottlieb reviews Recapture and Other Stories, by Erica Olsen
Recapture & Other Stories is a compact volume that compares the real and the replica, memory and the object, preservation and isolation, all amid the geology and geography of the Southwestern desert of the United States. In publishing this first collection of short fiction from writer Erica Olsen, Torrey House Press has produced a gem.
Simmons B. Buntin Reviews Earth Works: Selected Essays, by Scott Russell Sanders
The essays in Earth Works are anything but overwhelming, anything but pigeonholed into some endlessly debatable category of writing. What they are, rather, is a rich mix of beautifully crafted and progressive pieces that engage the reader in a long conversation.
Glenn Moomau reviews The Ruins of Detroit, by Yves Marchand and Romaine Meffre
The Ruins of Detroit is one of the most significant in a burgeoning series of texts—both print and digital—that documents this nation’s abandoned structures, from penitentiaries and asylums to the labyrinthine factory complexes of the Midwest and Northeast.
Derek Sheffield reviews Nine Acres, by Nathaniel Perry
Nathanial Perry’s Nine Acres, which won the APR/Honickman First Book Prize judged by Marie Howe, achieves its beauty through a clear voice and a unity of form and theme. My form antennae twitched after reading the first poem, but it wasn’t until the third or fourth poem that I realized what I was in the grips of—and it comes down to the number four.
Andrew C. Gottlieb reviews Thousands Flee California Wildflowers, by Scot Siegel
In many ways, Scot Siegel’s new collection of poetry masquerades as a solid collection of free verse knitted to the geography of California. Barstow and Sacramento appear (along with many other familiar California locales) as do the wildfires and wildlife of that tall, West Coast state, but there’s more to Siegel’s writing than meets the eye.