I bought this on a whim at a thrift store, and it was worth many times what I paid.
Rawlins has a great grasp of language and place--his words interweaI bought this on a whim at a thrift store, and it was worth many times what I paid.
Rawlins has a great grasp of language and place--his words interweave emotion and location (mainly Wyoming and parts of Utah) well, well enough to evoke the same. His language at times is a little too abstract, where description goes on without the reader knowing the subject. In these cases, consideration of the title or a more careful reading usually helps to decipher, but I am fan of more concrete language and symbolism in poetry. That small critique aside, this collection of poetry is wonderful. I have a particular attachment to these locations, the scenery, the lifestyles and people, and Rawlins' love of these things is evident. I am ready to pick up another of his collections.
"'Love's a debt,' / ... Tin cup to catch heart's blood." -- "Late Friday, in December" (21)
"Sometimes, this is all we have-- / strong drink, the bump of bodies in the smoke, / voices sounding twice off varnished pine" -- "Late Friday, in December" (21)
"I know / the price of knowing" -- "On Knife Point Glacier" (39)
"In love or dream the world, / if we are lucky, is begun: / ... a wish that one thing live / for one thing left undone." -- "'Enter My Dreams, My Love'" (65)
"Too cold / to stand, let alone to think, / ... night composes night, / half darkness and half sense, / blooms in the willows, / bleeds into the water, / ... the first star swims up into view." -- "The Mink" (51)...more
Gretel Ehrlich has resounding prose and acclaim for Wyoming. The Solace of Open Spaces reads like a collection of essays, with a storyline woven throuGretel Ehrlich has resounding prose and acclaim for Wyoming. The Solace of Open Spaces reads like a collection of essays, with a storyline woven through it, both seasonal as Wyoming's seasons come, and seasonal as emotions and change affect life and death.
She introduces us to many characters, often with quotes and examples and often revisiting them to flesh out the language and character of her small town. Her eloquence makes even the difficulties and death beautiful, and she beautifully describes and makes sense of manliness, the westerner, rodeos, man and his relationship with animals, marriage, death, solitude, open space, ranch life. A beautiful read that will want you want more of Wyoming--or at least to get there to begin with.
"True solace is finding none, which is to say, it is everywhere." (41)
"I know what the world is made of, and I still love all of it." (45)
"Everything in nature invites us to constantly be what we are." (84)
"Some kinds of impermanence take a long time." (90)...more
These letters make for a fascinating narrative and descriptive journal of Mrs. Stewart's life, moving from the city to a Wyoming homestead, marrying aThese letters make for a fascinating narrative and descriptive journal of Mrs. Stewart's life, moving from the city to a Wyoming homestead, marrying and still having the determination to homestead ON HER OWN. She is a very positive, optimistic individual, generous and giving, nearly always seeing the positive in others. Her words and attitude are inspirational.
Whether tidbits are fabricated or exaggerated is a bit of topic of debate. However, the general storylines, characters, and situations are nonfiction, and it is quite fascinating to see the interrelations of early Western life, homesteading and cattle ranching. Mrs. Stewart always leaves a few choice words regarding her luck and love in life.
She sees the beauty in everything: "Everything, even the barrenness, was beautiful" (28). She incorporates some faith (though seemingly nondenominational) into her awe with Wyoming's natural beauty: "when you get among such grandeur you get to feel how little you are and how foolish is human endeavor, except that which reunites us with the mighty force called God" (30). Choice bits of attitude and knowledge: "I am the luckiest woman in finding really lovely people and having really happy experiences. Good things are constantly happening to me" (62). "Those who try know that strength and knowledge come with doing" (282). She is humorous (and loves camping): "fastidiousness about food is a good thing to get rid of when you come West to camp" (166). And she can maintain a wintry mountain scene with pure love and passion, bubbling up your own feelings and sentiments: "I love the flicker of an open fire, the smell of the pines, the pure, sweet air, and I went to sleep thinking how blest I was to be able to enjoy the things I love most" (198).
I just recently purchased her other "official" letters collection, Letters From an Elk Hunt, and I'm excited to read it....more
"Only earth and sky matter. Only the endlessly repeated flood of morning light. You begin to see that God does not owe us much beyond that." (99)
Annie"Only earth and sky matter. Only the endlessly repeated flood of morning light. You begin to see that God does not owe us much beyond that." (99)
Annie Proulx creates some very convincing characters and stories. Her descriptions and sentences often make me reread and analyze them, how amazing her metaphors and deep her imagery. She is an extremely talented writer.
All of these stories are steeped in Wyoming culture, life and lore. The collection starts out very strong, and ends even stronger, although somewhere in the middle (while toying with urban legends and different narrative mechanisms), she loses her way a little. All in all, these stories are surprising, touching, contemplative, and philosophical.
Favorites are the classic "Brokeback Mountain" (the only story I had previously read), "The Mud Below," "Pair a Spurs", "The Half-Skinned Steer" (one of John Updike's picks for best short stories of the century).
These stories are like Wyoming herself: "You don't leave until you have to." (190)...more