Culture, Identity, and the Natural World
Edited by Alison Hawthorne Deming and Lauret Savoy
Milkweed Editions (second edition 2011)
The provocative essays in The Colors of Nature exist at the intersection of cultural diversity and ecological awareness. featuring work from more than thirty contributorsof widely diverse backgrounds—including Jamaica Kincaid, Yusef Komunyakaa, bell hooks, and Francisco X. Alarcón, among others—this anthology explores the relationship between culture and place, something historically overlooked in traditional environmental writing.
Bracing, incisive, and profoundly illuminating, the essays collected here reassert the lasting value of one’s cultural heritage, and reveal how a wealth of perspectives is essential to building a livable future.
The Colors of Nature comes in four alternating-color covers: red, yellow, green, and blue.
Praise for The Colors of Nature
“[An] unprecedented and invaluable collection of forthright and bracing essays by writers of diverse cultural origins and disciplinary backgrounds.
“The Colors of Nature taps into the prose of writers of color in the largely white world of nature writing.”
— Publishers Weekly
“An illuminating read for anyone interested in the future of American nature and environmental journalism.”
— Bloomsbury Review
Our perception of nature is a cultural construct formed in part by nature writing, which has long been dominated by Euro-American voices. The exclusion of writings by people of color about place, nature’s wonders, and our species’ uncanny ability to wreak havoc on the natural world has skewed and limited the genre, and cheated society out of a fuller understanding of the connection between social injustice and environmental destruction. Coeditors Deming, a poet and nature writer, and Savoy, a geologist, begin to remedy this omission with their unprecedented and invaluable collection of forthright and bracing essays by writers of “diverse cultural origins and disciplinary backgrounds.” Jamaica Kincaid and Francisco X. Alarcon write about nature and imperialism in the “New” World. American Indian writer Joseph Bruchac writes about owls, turkeys, turtles, and protecting his ancestors’ burial grounds from developers. Memories of her Kentucky hill childhood inspire bell hooks to portray nature-wise “country black folks,” while poets and scientists ardently and knowledgeably discuss everything from parrots to ethnobotany, and environmental racism. A salient contribution to the increasingly important nature-writing canon.
— Donna Seaman