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Place Within: Portraits of the American Landscape by Twenty Contemporary Writers written by Daynard

 

Place Within: Portraits of the American Landscape by Twenty Contemporary Writers written by Daynard

Overview:

Each of the writers in this beautiful collection of nearly all original pieces evokes a different place in our country's diverse landscape - a place he or she lived in, visited, or was intimately influenced or shaped by. These writers, in voices ranging from the lyrical to the meditative, awaken or allow us to discover anew a feeling for what we call America in all its many faces. Here you'll find the American spirit in Phillip Lopate's gridlocked "Manhattan," in Richard Rodriguez's gay San Francisco, and in Gerald Early's uneasily "integrated" St. Louis. In her moving essay on South Dakota, Kathleen Norris reflects on the way objects change our experience of space. Gretel Ehrlich's essay on Wyoming is also about a cure for human grief. As a whole, these intimate portraits celebrate a sense of place, rural and urban, gritty and placid; and they show how landscape transforms us, becomes a place within.

Synopsis:

Each of the writers in this beautiful collection of nearly all original pieces evokes a different place in our country's diverse landscape - a place he or she lived in, visited, or was intimately influenced or shaped by. These writers, in voices ranging from the lyrical to the meditative, awaken or allow us to discover anew a feeling for what we call America in all its many faces. Here you'll find the American spirit in Phillip Lopate's gridlocked "Manhattan," in Richard Rodriguez's gay San Francisco, and in Gerald Early's uneasily "integrated" St. Louis. In her moving essay on South Dakota, Kathleen Norris reflects on the way objects change our experience of space. Gretel Ehrlich's essay on Wyoming is also about a cure for human grief. As a whole, these intimate portraits celebrate a sense of place, rural and urban, gritty and placid; and they show how landscape transforms us, becomes a place within.

Publishers Weekly

Freelance writer Daynard has skillfully selected well-written and diverse pieces, some published previously, that reflect highly personal views of place. Several contributors describe the beauty of undeveloped spaces: Alan Lightman (Einstein's Dreams) offers a portrait of a remote Maine island; Diane Ackerman (A Natural History of the Senses) vividly evokes the Grand Canyon. Other essays, however, use natureor even developed landscapesas a backdrop for more intimately human concerns. Scott Russell Sanders (Writing from the Center) uses the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop to the ups and downs of his relationship with his teenage son; Phillip Lopate offers a compelling overview of his love affair with Manhattan. Included also is an article by Richard Rodriguez (Hunger of Memory) on gay life during the age of AIDS in San Francisco. Astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman closes with his bird's-eye view of the American landscape from a spaceship. This collection is an evocative and pleasurable read. First serial to the Boston Globe; author tour. (Nov.)

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Title: Place Within: Portraits of the American Landscape by Twenty Contemporary Writers

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