Clay: A Complicated Landscape

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?

The Dirty Tools of a Storyteller

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.

Multiple-Personality Pastoral

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.

Translating the Ancient/Modern Mind

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.