Introduction:Barry Lopez (1945-2020)
Barry Lopez passed away on Christmas Day 2020 at age seventy-five. He was celebrated and admired as a writer of fiction, nonfiction, essays, and memoir. More than that, he was deeply and justifiably embraced as a humanitarian and ethical thinker. In his work, as in his life, he was always an explorer, a learner, taking notes, asking questions, always aware of his own fallibility and the possibility that others were wiser than himself. His teachers were the natural world—including the human heart along with the creatures, the rivers and grasses—and the deeply hopeful patterns of the miraculous.
Barry was an ardent friend of MĀNOA ever since the editors first met him by mail in 1992, when he allowed us to publish a short essay by him. MĀNOA had only started publishing three years earlier; I had greatly admired his book Arctic Dreams, which won the National Book Award in 1986, and was happily surprised that he would agree to be in our pages. When we finally met face-toface, in Portland in 1998, he greeted us like old friends, and a relationship was strengthened that lasted until his death.
Barry continued to contribute his work and goodwill year after year. In addition to giving MĀNOA stories and essays, he co-edited two of our important international issues: Maps of Reconciliation: Literature and the Ethical Imagination in 2007, and its companion issue, Gates of Reconciliation , in 2008.
To celebrate his work and in gratitude for his life, friendship, and support, we offer this selection of work by Barry Lopez that appeared in MĀNOA: A Pacific Journal of International Writing.