Annie Proulx Essay

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Her witty, freewheeling essays on the imbalance between humans and nature lightened up the Cassandra genre known as “environmental literature.” Verlyn Klinkenborg, in an obituary remembrance, quoted her as saying that much nature writing “. She was a master of the telling phrase as when she described her place as “a tiny town in a land that looks like red bones” and commercial airliners as “flying culverts.” She gave advice about toads: that we should not carry them around and “When you think about licking them, change your mind.” She was curious about all landscapes and told her readers that when they were in new country they should pay attention and “ask why people call their landscape home, what they love or fear, what is blessed, what is destroyed.” She often urged her readers and listeners to understand their biological addresses, to count the local wildlife, animals, birds, and plants as neighbors.

The twitches of weather and climate were important to her and she wanted us to observe and make notes of what was happening in our backyard worlds as William Bartram or Thoreau did.

You won’t find one in either political party, so kill your television.” And she turns hers off.

One of her best essays, “Bluff,” (below) is about guns.

The testosterone was so thick a woman could get pregnant just by walking down the hall.

Annie Proulx Essay

The map room was strangely chilly, an oasis of detumescence.

A lawn is an endless cycle of doomed ecology.” “Tourists in the Wild” lampoons New Yorkers lost in the terrifying Great West with a reference to bears, which we all know are spaced about twenty feet apart from the left side of the Rockies to the Pacific Ocean. Some of the essays are less than benign, as “California” with its acid takeoff on the provocative bumper sticker “I’d rather be hunting and gathering” pasted on a luxe-mobile, or “Cracking Up” with its call to “small acts of defiance . In November of 1996 Ellen Meloy was utterly sick of election jabber, of the inescapable faces on television and the incessant brainless repetitive rhetoric.

“What,” she says, “has become of the honorable and decent public servant?

In an age of itinerary writer-teachers, Proulx’s boomerangs back and forth across North America are exceptional.

Now she’s made a similar discovery of the wooded idyll east of Seattle.


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