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To Everything on Earth: New Writing on Fate, Community, and Nature Paperback – January 15, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this superior essay collection, each of 13 nature writers (linked by Bill McKibben, who provides a foreword) deliver an exquisite, powerful piece on life and how it's lived. Besides nature, these writers are united in the strength and economy of their prose: "One day a strong goose came into my life," Lisa Courturier begins, in a story of her wildlife rehabilitation center; Susan Cerulean calls a swallow-tailed kite, "living origami." McKibben, citing Barry Lopez, asserts that "the real topic of nature writing is human community"; in her contribution, Diane Hueter Warner compares ferocity in nature and in humanity, "a tornado in the black of night" against a vicious home invader. Mortality is another recurring theme; Jordan Fisher Smith's entry features a dying man: "each lungful of oxygen, each moment, and then each next moment-these are all life is made of when nothing else can be counted on. And for this reason there is a strange peace at the center of catastrophe." Featuring an array of polished voices and exquisite imagery, this collection is not to be missed by fan of nature writing or literary nonfiction.

About the Author

Kurt Caswell, assistant professor of creative writing and literature in the Honors College at Texas Tech University, is the author of An Inside Passage, which won the 2008 River Teeth literary nonfiction book prize. His essays and stories have appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including Isotope, Janus Head, Matter, Ninth Letter, Northern Lights, Orion, and Potomac Review. He lives in Lubbock, Texas. Susan Leigh Tomlinson is director of the Natural History and Humanities degree program in the Honors College at Texas Tech University. Her work has appeared in Writing on the Wind: An Anthology of West Texas Women Writers. Diane Hueter Warner works in Texas Tech’s Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, where she is responsible for the James Sowell Family Collection in Literature, Community and the Natural World.William E. Tydeman is an archivist in the Southwest Collection at Texas Tech University. Bill McKibben, author of many books on nature and the environment, is a scholar in environmental studies at Middlebury College and lives with his family in Vermont.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Texas Tech University Press; First Edition edition (January 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 089672655X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0896726550
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #513,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Writing about "fate, community, and nature" must inherently reflect the uneven, less-than-tidy quality of the territory. People, their lives and their places, are wildly different from each other. That's what makes living in community a serious challenge. So a collection of essays that tries to map some common values as it hikes over this bumpy ground is likely to have some jolts and halts. And this one does show the effort of linking multiple perspectives. Yet for me, the effort ultimately succeeds.

William E. Tydeman, in his introduction, finds coherence in the book in the way that the essays portray an emotional connection between the writer, the natural world, and the reader. I can buy that. It's emotion captured me. The authors call up their memories of encounters with nature, and their stories are genuine, unique, deeply felt. They resonate. I'm drawn into their truths. And reminded of my own.

For Marybeth Holleman, it's the simple willingness of a brown-skinned child to befriend a white one. These accidental playmates on an Alaskan beach become a talisman for hope. For Peter Friederici, there is the bare truth of the desert, where now is the only moment and silence is a liberation. And for Susan Hanson, confronting nature's capricious power, there is the balance between danger and security that makes life possible in an uncertain world.

The book is an eclectic mix of style and subject. There is poetry in the mysterious images of geese in Lisa Couturier's effort to comprehend her father, "a man made of birds and trees." And there is simplicity and directness in David Lukas' look back at his career as a naturalist.
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Format: Paperback
To Everything on Earth: New Writing on Fate, Community and Nature considers the world around us with stories and writings considering human connections to the Earth and how best to make a home in it. College-level collections interested in literary nature writings will find this crosses genres, celebrating our planet, our ties to it, and community meaning.
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