Transcendentalism: An Online Travel Guide
Links & References
About This Site
WebQuest: Contemporary Nature Writers and the Exploration
Overview: In this WebQuest, you will explore the
writing of several leading nature writers working and writing in the
contemporary United States. You'll have the chance to reflect on the genre of
"nature writing" and compare how this type of writing has evolved in
Reading (please update from the syllabus as distributed,
all pages refer to the Norton Book of Nature Writing):
Gary Snyder, "Ancient Forests of the Far West" (663-684)
William Kittredge, "Owning It All" (707-718)
Linda Hasselstrom, "Nighthawks Fly in Thunderstorms" (845-850)
Trudy Ditmar, "Moose" (850-863)
Barry Lopez, "The American Geographies" (914-924)
Scott Russell Sanders, "Buckeye" (924-930)
Gretel Ehrlich, "Friends, Foes, and Working Anmals" (944-950)
Emily Hiestand, "Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah" (960-966)
Linda Hogan, "The Bats" (967-971)
John Daniel, "A Word in Favor of Rootlessness" (984-990)
Leslie Marmon Silko, "Landscape, History, and the Pueblo Imagination"
David James Duncan, "Northwest Passage" (1022-1027)
Ray Gonzalez, "The Third Eye of the Lizard" (1028-1034)
Gary Paul Nabhan, excerpt from The Desert Smells Like Rain (1039-1043)
Louise Erdrich, "Big Grass" (1043-1047)
David Mas Masumoto, "Planting Seeds" (1048-1051)
Sharman Apt Russell, "Gila Wliderness" (1052-1062)
Evelyn White, "Black Women and the Wilderness" (1063-1068)
Barbara Kingsolver, "High Tide in Tucson" (1068-1078)
Rick Bass, excerpt from The Ninemile Wolves (1114-1120)
Janisse Ray, "Built by Fire" (1131-1133), "Forest Beloved"
Don't worry about the length of the reading list. Most of these pieces are quite
short, so there is about a total of 150 pages. If you find you really don't like
a piece, you may want to skim it and move on to one that calls to you more
strongly. Each participant in the class should choose one author to explore more
fully. To avoid overlap, "claim" your author on the bulletin board
(first come, first served!). Read the piece you've selected especially closely,
write at least one journal entry about it, and if you can, learn more about your
Step 1: Learn about the genre of "nature
Visit the following nature writing sites:
Writing and the Philosophy of Nature (just get the gist of this site)
Is Nature Writing?" (be sure to click through to all four pages)
Another take on the
question: What Is Nature Writing?
Links (resources on nature writers, with emphasis on Thoreau, just get the
gist of this site)
Read Barry Lopez's thoughts on "A Literature of Place."
Step 2: Learn about environmental organizations and nature writing
You'll also want to learn about environmental organizations and nature
writing organizations. Just to get a taste of the organizations that are out
there, be sure to look at the following:
EnviroArts: Orion Online
Petroglyph: A Journal of
Creative Nature Writing (maybe you'd like to submit some of your work to
Step 3: Explore resources related to the authors that interest you.
definitely want to learn more about the author you've “claimed”—but
you might want to find out about some of your other favorites as well! We've
listed pieces by the authors, pieces about the authors, and interviews with the
Academy of American
Poets: Gary Snyder
American Poetry: Gary Snyder
of the Wilderness: Gary Snyder
Beat Page: Gary
An EcoBooks Featured
Author: Gary Snyder
Kicks: Gary Snyder
William Kittredge, "The
Terror" (in response to September 11)
Learns How To Live"
Introduction to Linda
Windbreak House: Linda
Hasselstrom's website (and info about her writing retreats for women!)
Linda Hasselstrom, "The
Listen to several South
Dakota Public Radio pieces on Linda Hasselstrom (go this page, then
click on each specific audio link).
Discussed in Introduction to American
Nature Writing 2000: A Celebration of Women Writers
Attention: An Interview with Barry Lopez"
interview with Barry Lopez
. . and yet another interview with Barry Lopez
Scott Russell Sanders
Overview (from his faculty page at Indiana University)
Russell Sanders's Home Page
Scott Russell Sanders, "Top
Ten Reasons Why We'll Always Need a Good Story"
to Gretel Ehrlich (calls her the Whitman of Wyoming)
Interviews: Gretel Ehrlich
to Emily Hiestand
Much of Little: Emily Hiestand Has Traveled Much in Winthrop, Cambridge, and
in the Precincts of Her Own Past" (review)
Emily Hiestand, "Real
Places" (essay in The Atlantic Monthly)
Emily Hiestand, excerpt from Angela,
the Upside-down Girl and Other Domestic Travels
poems by Linda Hogan
from the Gaps: Linda Hogan
John Daniel, excerpt from Looking
After: A Son's Memoir
Interview with John
Leslie Marmon Silko
Leslie Marmon Silko Home Page
The Write Stuff: An
Interview with Leslie Marmon Silko
from the Gaps: Leslie Marmon Silko
David James Duncan
overview of David James Duncan (faculty page at University of Montana)
David James Duncan, "How
Much Gold Is a River Worth?"
David James Duncan, "Wonder,
of Ray Gonzalez
Gary Paul Nabhan
An EcoBooks Featured
Author: Gary Paul Nabhan
Gary Paul Nabhan, "Mother
Wild Wisdom: A
Conversation with Gary Paul Nabhan
American Poetry: Louise Erdrich
with Louise Erdrich
from the Gaps: Louise Erdrich
David Mas Masumoto
Home Page for David Mas
David Mas Masumoto, "Slow
Farming and the Stories that Bind Us"
Sharman Apt Russell
into Her Being: The Natural World of Sharman Apt Russell"
Rick Bass, "Round River"
Rick Bass, "The
Real War on the West"
Fiction: Rick Bass
Writers Page: Rick Bass
Paint Brush in One Hand and a Bucket of Water in the Other: Nature Writing
and the Politics of Wilderness" (an interview with Rick Bass)
Gergen Interviews Barbara Kingsolver
Salon Lit Chat: Barbara Kingsolver
Barbara Kingsolver Home Page
New York Times Featured Author: Barbara Kingsolver
to Janisse Ray
~If one of the writers particularly inspires you, write about
your place/space imitating this author's style.
~Take a favorite from one of the passages, copy into your
journal, and take off from there.
~Write a letter to one of the writers featured this week.
~Imagine you have a chance to interview one of these writers.
What would you ask?
Focusing on one or two of these authors, define "nature
writing" and show how this writer (or these writers) do or do not meet this
definition. As always, be sure to include resources from the WebQuest (you'll
want to cite at least one of the pieces on nature writing in Step 1). See the
Essay Guidelines for more detail about research, sources, length requirements,
and documentation. Essay due to Dr. Tate via email by Wednesday, May 8, at
Transcendentalism: An Online Travel Guide" was produced by students in ENGL
446, American Transcendentalism, and ENGL 447, American Literature and the
Prominence of Place: A Travel Practicum. These courses were team-taught in the Department
of English at Shepherd College,
Shepherdstown, West Virginia, in Spring 2002 by Dr.
Patricia Dwyer and Dr. Linda
Tate. For more information on the course and the web project, visit "About
This Site." © 2003 Linda Tate.