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"If you combined the lyricism of Annie Dillard, the vision of
Aldo Leopold, and the gentle but tough-minded optimism of Frank
McCourt, you might come close to Amy Lou Jenkins.Tom Bissell
author of The Father of All Things
"Sentence by sentence, a joy to
read." —Phillip Lopate, Author of
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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 Naturelooks 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 Casswell
imagined collection, then became lead editor. Bill Mckibben wrote the
Kurt recently answered a few questions for me (ALJ) about this
new anthology. (KC)
about the genesis of To Everything on Earth.
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: Diane Warner, a librarian working primarily on the Sowell
Collection; and Susan Tomlinson, director of TTU’s Natural History and
Humanities degree program (NHH). 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 approach 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.
you select pieces for inclusion?
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
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 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
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