In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

68 WesternAmerican Literature aries of poetry, prose, theory as poem, prose poem—questioning, resisting through the ritual what constitutes and is constituted by margins and what they bind. Claiming Breath is patterned on the modern journal. Pages are dated chro­ nologically, covering one year in the life of a public school writer-in-residence. It is a resistant chronology, a journal that moves between and among dates, times, places, people, and ideas, but always appears to move forward through the calendar. Glancy calls it “a winter count of sorts,”a form she used earlier in her work LoneDog’s Winter Count, another fine, poetic working through of many of the knots she continues to worry in ClaimingBreath. But this time, language is landscape on the page, in the words, and land­ scape becomes language. Words fail to describe, but achieve much larger aims as they are what they cannot describe. “Read the sweep of words out of the wigwam. Sweep. Sweep. Migration of language from blue trees/the leaves whirl at the window into the field of houses. . . ”And “Out here where water’s scarce cows stand in ponds to hold them down. Language startswith their breath & the hurrrr of wind around grain elevators/space ships in their towers.” Returning again and again to images tied up in Native American being, daring to claim breath, the essays here travel both inward and outward terrain, exploring their common ground. RENAE MOORE BREDIN University ofArizona Going Back to Bisbee. By Richard Shelton. (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1992. 329 pages, $35.00/$15.95.) Richard Shelton is best known as the author of nine books of poetry, and as the originator of the successful writing workshops in the Arizona state prison system. This is his first book of nonfiction and he brings to it the unique and intense perspective of the poet. On its surface the book describes an automobile trip Shelton took from Tucson to Bisbee, a distance of about one hundred miles, on July 20, 1989. He drove a 1978 Dodge van named Blue Boy for the stated purpose of revisiting certain scenes of his past, and enjoying dinner with a dear friend. Shelton admits nostalgic feelings for Bisbee because when he lived there and taught school for two years in the 1950s he was young, recently married, and just discharged from the military. That day trip of one hundred miles takes thirteen chapters, and Shelton does not check into the Copper Queen Hotel in Bisbee until Chapter 12! It becomes clear to the reader by page 100, when we are only thirty-five miles from Tucson pulling into the Cactus Flower Cafe near Sonoita, that Shelton’s real Reviews 69 purpose is not to “cover ground,” but to cover everything he finds in the Sonoran desert with attention and love. Shelton recounts the history and legends of the area, talkswith the wit and authority of a poet/naturalist about the plants and animals found in this part of Arizona, and discusses his own life and feelings with reference to the environ­ ment he has chosen to live in. The book develops into a fascinating journey through the heart of the desert Southwest. We are invited to look at things as Shelton, the artist, looks at them, with attention to beauty, uniqueness, and within the context of time and place. Everything becomes rich with meaning and feeling, and we learn to believe that one can linger a lifetime over this one hundred-mile stretch of desert and never be bored. Although similar toJoseph Wood Krutch’s TheDesert Year (1963), Shelton’s perspective on the desert goes beyond the tourist’s view provided by Krutch. Shelton’s insights are seasoned with over thirty-five years of living intimately with the desert. His book is an affirmation of life and beauty in unusual places, and is a worthy recipient of the 1992 Western States Book Award for Creative Nonfiction. PAULJ. FERLAZZO Northern Arizona University Refuge: An Unnatural History ofFamily and Place. By Terry Tempest Williams. (New York: Pantheon Books, 1991. 304 pages, $21.00.) Terry Tempest Williams crafted Refugefrom herjournals ofthe 1983 record rise of the GreatSaltLake. Born into afamilywith deep Mormon...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 68-69
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.