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Featured Anthology

In October 2004, Barry Lopez invited a group of writers to meet with him, Bill McKibben, Alan Weisman, and Dennis Covington at the Junction campus of Texas Tech University. Out of this meeting grew a community that has since collaborated on a number of initiatives and projects tied to fate, community, and nature, including this collection of essays. To Everything on Earth is a journey through many landscapes. It begins with stories that look at the external landscape, the world around us, asking hard questions about the capacity to destroy what we love best. The stories then turn inward, into the human heart, perhaps searching for an answer there. The journey ends by addressing perhaps the central question of our time: how best do we make a home on earth?

 

 

 

To Everything on Earth

To Everything on Earth: New Writing on Fate, Community, and Nature looks to be the next best thing to being in the room with an assemblage  of writers known for their dedication to the earth, insightful prose, and beautiful souls.  Barry Lopez brought these writers together, and the anthology emerged when writer Kurt Caswell imagined the collection, then became lead editor. Bill Mckibben wrote the forward.

Kurt Caswell recently answered a few questions for me (Amy Lou Jenkins, ALJ) about this new anthology. (KC)

Tell me about the genesis of To Everything on Earth.

KC:  To Everything on Earth began not as a book, but as a weekend gathering organized by the writer Barry Lopez and Dr. William Tydeman, the former director of the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library at Texas Tech University (TTU). In the fall of 2004, Barry invited a group of emerging writers to TTU’s field campus at Junction, Texas for a weekend gathering he called “Writing the Natural World.” It was an open forum for discussion, information gathering, and relationship building, relationships which might one day enrich us professionally and personally. I was one of those writers. At the gathering, I met my future co-editors at Texas Tech: Diane Warner, a librarian working primarily on the Sowell Collection, which features the papers of Barry Lopez, Bill McKibben, and others; and Susan Tomlinson, director of the Natural History and Humanities degree program . The next year I came to Tech to teach in that program. It occurred to me then that putting together an anthology featuring the work of the writers invited to the gathering would be a wonderful way to continue our work together. I approached Susan and Diane with the idea, and we agreed to make it happen. Texas Tech University Press was a natural choice for the book, and we approached Editor-in-Chief Judith Keeling. She loved the idea. She’s been wonderful to work with, as has everyone at TTU Press. 

How did you select pieces for inclusion?

KC: This part was easy. Each of the writers Barry invited to Junction, Texas were invited to contribute to the anthology. A few (Lisa Couturier, Jordan Fisher Smith, Susan Hanson) had new books coming out, and so it made sense that their contributions came from those works. In most cases, our contributors offered new, unpublished work.

Who do you see as the target reader for this anthology?

KC: The target reader, as I see it, is anyone who loves nature and the outdoors. Anyone interested in exploring new and emerging voices in American letters. Anyone who wishes to explore more deeply the relationship between people and nature. It’s also a general reading audience, I think. You don’t have to be an outdoor adventurer or educator to be interested in these essays. Anyone who loves good storytelling will identify with the anthology. And by extension, anyone who knows and admires the work and life of Barry Lopez will love this book. Although Barry’s work is not included in the anthology, the gathering itself is part of his body of work.

Thank you Kurt /ALJ

 

Kurt Caswell is the author of two books: An Inside Passage (University of Nebraska Press), which won the 2008 River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Book Prize; and In the Sun's House: My Year Teaching on the Navajo Reservation (Trinity University Press). He is the lead editor of To Everything on Earth

Caswell teaches creative writing and literature in the Honors College at Texas Tech University, especially in the Natural History and Humanities degree program.

 

 

 

 

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