Books & Essays
Elemental South: An Anthology of Southern Nature Writing
(edited volume) University of Georgia Press 2004
Ann Fisher-Wirth has four poems -- "Where, beneath the Magnolia,""Raccoons: A History," "Of," and "Sweetgum Country" -- as well as the essay "Where Love May Find Its Ground."
Writing with a sense of southern place. Nature writers know that to be fully human is to be engaged with our natural surroundings. Elemental South is a gathering of works by some of the region's best nature writers?people who can coax from words the mysteries of our place in the landscape and the human relationship to wildness. Arranged by theme according to the basic elements by which many cultures on earth interpret ?earth, air, fire, water?the writings consider our actual and assumed connections in the greater scheme of functioning ecosystems. As we read of bears, ancient magnolias, swallow-tail kites, the serenity of a country childhood, the pleasure of eating real food, the remarkable provenance of ancient pottery shards, and much more, these works lure us deep into the southern landscape, away from the constructs of humanity and closer to a recognition of our inextricable ties to the earth. The writers are all participants in the Southern Nature Project, an ongoing endeavor founded on the conviction that writing like the kind gathered here can help us to lead more human, profound, and courageous lives in terms of how we use our earth. Some of the featured writers are originally from the South, and others migrated here?but all have honed their voices on the region's distinctive landscapes.
Book Review #1:
"Provides a chorus of voices that blend harmoniously despite their different geographies, backgrounds, and styles. By tracing the fault lines and fractures of southern landscapes, society, and spirit, this anthology helps the South begin to heal stronger in the broken places."
?Will Harlan, editor of Blue Ridge Outdoors
Book Review #2:
"Published 150 years after Thoreau's book, it is another Walden. I shall urge each of my grandchildren to read it." Southeastern Geographer, November 2006
Book Review #3:
"This lush collection of works by members of Southern Nature Project showcases the idiosyncratic impact of our region?s natural surroundings on its writers, arguably a stronger influence than the predictable Southern Gothic theme of family secrets."
Book Review #4:
"If you like to curl up with a good book on cold winter days and you also love the outdoors, read Elemental South. Each leads us to broader truths through careful observations of our natural surroundings."
Book Review #5:
"Contains poetry and prose that is deeply philosophical, richly textured, arresting."