We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

The West Side of Any Mountain

Place, Space, and Ecopoetry

J. Scott Bryson

Publication Year: 2005

In contrast to nature poets of the past who tended more toward the bucolic and pastoral, many contemporary nature poets are taking up radical environmental and ecological themes. In the last few years, interesting and evocative work that examines this poetry has begun to lay the foundation for studies in ecopoetics.

Informed in general by current thinking in environmental theory and specifically by the work of cultural geographer Yi-Fu Tuan, The West Side of Any Mountain participates in and furthers this scholarly attention by offering an overarching theoretical framework with which to approach the field.

One area that contemporary theorists have found problematic is the dualistic civilization/wilderness binary that focuses on the divisions between culture and nature, thereby increasing the modern sense of alienation. Tuan’s place-space framework offers a succinct vocabulary for describing the attitudes of ecological poets and other nature writers in a way that avoids setting up an adversarial relationship between place and space. Scott Bryson describes the Tuanian framework and employs it to offer fresh readings of the work of four major ecopoets: Wendell Berry, Joy Harjo, Mary Oliver, and W. S. Merwin.

The West Side of Any Mountain will be of great interest to scholars and teachers working in the field of contemporary nature poetry. It is recommended for nature-writing courses as well as classes dealing with 20th-century poetry, contemporary literary criticism, and environmental theory.

Published by: University of Iowa Press

TItle Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (48.0 KB)


pdf iconDownload PDF (64.5 KB)
pp. 1-6

1. All Finite Things Reveal Infinitude

pdf iconDownload PDF (109.3 KB)
pp. 7-22

2. Divided against Ourselves

pdf iconDownload PDF (141.3 KB)
pp. 23-44

3. Finding the Way Back

pdf iconDownload PDF (173.7 KB)
pp. 45-73

4. Both Sides of the Beautiful Water

pdf iconDownload PDF (142.6 KB)
pp. 75-97

5. Between Earth and Silence

pdf iconDownload PDF (125.6 KB)
pp. 99-117

6. The West Side of Any Mountain

pdf iconDownload PDF (58.3 KB)
pp. 119-123


pdf iconDownload PDF (81.2 KB)
pp. 125-133


pdf iconDownload PDF (104.8 KB)
pp. 135-148


pdf iconDownload PDF (63.6 KB)
pp. 149-156

E-ISBN-13: 9781587296406
E-ISBN-10: 1587296403
Print-ISBN-13: 9780877459552
Print-ISBN-10: 087745955X

Page Count: 166
Publication Year: 2005

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Merwin, W. S. (William Stanley), 1927- -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Nature in literature.
  • Ecology in literature.
  • American poetry -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
  • Berry, Wendell, -- 1934- -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Space and time in literature.
  • Oliver, Mary, 1935- -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Harjo, Joy -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Place (Philosophy) in literature.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access