West of 98: Living and Writing the New American West

Paperback | September 1, 2011

EditorLynn Stegner, Russell Rowland

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What does it mean to be a westerner? With all the mythology that has grown up about the American West, is it even possible to describe "how it was, how it is, here, in the West—just that," in the words of Lynn Stegner? Starting with that challenge, Stegner and Russell Rowland invited several dozen members of the western literary tribe to write about living in the West and being a western writer in particular. West of 98 gathers sixty-six literary testimonies, in essays and poetry, from a stellar collection of writers who represent every state west of the 98th parallel—a kind of Greek chorus of the most prominent voices in western literature today, who seek to "characterize the West as each of us grew to know it, and, equally important, the West that is still becoming."

In West of 98, western writers speak to the ways in which the West imprints itself on the people who live there, as well as how the people of the West create the personality of the region. The writers explore the western landscape—how it has been revered and abused across centuries—and the inescapable limitations its aridity puts on all dreams of conquest and development. They dismantle the boosterism of manifest destiny and the cowboy and mountain man ethos of every-man-for-himself, and show instead how we must create new narratives of cooperation if we are to survive in this spare and beautiful country. The writers seek to define the essence of both actual and metaphoric wilderness as they journey toward a West that might honestly be called home.

A collective declaration not of our independence but of our interdependence with the land and with each other, West of 98 opens up a whole new panorama of the western experience.

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What does it mean to be a westerner? With all the mythology that has grown up about the American West, is it even possible to describe "how it was, how it is, here, in the West—just that," in the words of Lynn Stegner? Starting with that challenge, Stegner and Russell Rowland invited several dozen members of the western literary tribe ...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:418 pages, 9.24 × 6.16 × 0.96 inPublished:September 1, 2011Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292726864

ISBN - 13:9780292726864

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Table of Contents

Introduction by Lynn StegnerLouise Erdrich, Big GrassLarry Woiwode, Wealth of the WestLarry Watson, Whose West? Which West? West of What?Dan O'Brien, Viewed from Ground LevelKent Meyers, Naked TimeRon Hansen, Why the West?Jonis Agee, The FenceAntonya Nelson, Two or Three PlacesRick Bass, The Light at the Bottom of the MindAllison Adelle Hedge Coke, PointsJim Barnes, Between the Sans Bois and the KiamichiLarry McMurtry, Excerpt from Walter Benjamin at the Dairy QueenSusanna Sonnenberg, Slurry, Drainage, Frontage RoadJim Harrison, Geopiety River Sequence I–VIIGary Ferguson, Wolf and Coyote and KumbayaJudy Blunt, What We LeaveEd Kemmick, Reading MontanaDan Aadland, Ranching in SuburbiaRussell Rowland, Chasing the LambAnnick Smith, The Summer of NowJohn Clayton, The Native Home of Governors on HorsebackWillard Wyman, The Way HomeMelissa Kwasny, The Imaginary Book of Cave PaintingsWalter Kirn, Livingston BlowsWilliam Kittredge, Where Should We Be?Alyson Hagy, Self-Portrait as the Strong and Silent TypeKenneth Lincoln, Blood WestLee Ann Roripaugh, Motherlands and Mother Tongues: Five Reflections on Language and LandscapeC. J. Box, Blame It on Rancho DeluxeTeresa Jordan, The Conceit of GirlsBeth Loffreda, Pinus ContortaGretel Ehrlich, Where the Burn Meets the DeadStephen Graham Jones, Two Illustrations of the West, the first being second-hand, the second firstLaura Pritchett, Cowboy Up, Cupcake? No ThanksPatricia Nelson Limerick, The Fatal WestPage Lambert, A Shape-Shifting LandTom Miller, Moving West, Writing EastGary Nabhan, Tasting a Sense of Place in the Arid WestDenise Chávez, Entre Mundos/Between WorldsDavid Lee, Matins in the Cathedral of WindKim Barnes, On Language: A Short MeditationRon Carlson, Utah Cabin Under Heaven, July 3Debra Gwartney, Plucked from the GraveRobert Wrigley, Two Poems: Progress CountyStephen Trimble, Tumbling Toward the SeaTerry Tempest Williams, FriendshipAmy Irvine, RedJim Hepworth, Growing Up WesternCharles Bowden, No Direction HomeSally Denton, Beyond This Place There Be DragonsDouglas Unger, City of Nomads, City of Second ChancesUrsula K. Le Guin, Places NamesJohn Daniel, East to the WestDavid Guterson, Three Poems: Closed Mill Neighbors White FirsCraig Lesley, Celilo FallsBarry Lopez, A Dark Light in the West: Racism and ReconciliationDavid Mas Masumoto, Dirty StoriesGary Snyder, Two Poems: The Black-tailed Hare Covers the GroundLouis B. Jones, "It's Like They Tilted the Whole Country East-to-West. And Everything that Wasn't Tied-Down Slid"Peter Fish, Star StruckMaxine Hong Kingston, Dias de los MuertosHarold Gilliam, The San Francisco PsycheJane Hirshfield, Three Poems: The Supple Deer Building and Earthquake The Dark HourGreg Sarris, Maria EvangelisteKris Saknussemm, HeadedPage Stegner, The Sense of No PlaceBiographies

Editorial Reviews

One of the glories of this book is that it is host to 67 writers...Voices and viewpoints are left out, but that does not diminish the value and pleasure of West of 98. - Tom Wylie