Western Literature Series

Published by: University of Nevada Press

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10 Moons And 13 Horses

Poems

Gary Short’s new collection is the work of a mature poet at the peak of his powers, confident of his ability to speak of human betrayal and the fragility of life without bitterness or cheap sentiment, to find poignancy in loss and exaltation in the outwardly mundane. His voice is lyrical, tough, and capable of touching us profoundly.

Short knows Nevada’s austere landscape, its ephemeral beauty, and its stoic people as few writers in any genre do. He also understands the complexities of the human soul and the contradictions of love. So he tells of how his mother, dying of cancer, revisits a day thirty years in the past when her sons trapped a trout and kept it in their father’s horse trough and how now, in her mind’s eye, she carries the boxed-in fish to the stream to release it, “a moment/of having, not loss.” And of how the feathers of a dead owl in a long-dead oak tree have blown loose, “caught and leafed out/from each taloned twig and limb . . . each feather/a separate flight, shining to live.” This is rich and wondrous poetry, deeply moving, unforgettable.

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The Blossom Festival

(A Novel)

The Blossom Festival chronicles rural life in the Santa Clara Valley during the decades leading up to World War II. Against the lush backdrop of millions of fruit trees unfold the personal dramas of a fascinating cast of characters. This leisurely read explores the complex relationships between parents and children in the context of a rich California region bent on replacing agriculture with computer chips to become Silicon Valley. 

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Carol and John Steinbeck

Portrait of a Marriage

In Steinbeck’s formative years, she was his mainstay, his partner, his inspiration 

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Dolly And Zane Grey

Letters From A Marriage

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El Paso Del Norte

Stories On The Border

The Chicano characters in Richard Yañez's debut story collection live in El Paso's Lower Valley but inhabit a number of borders—between two countries, two languages, and two cultures, between childhood and manhood, life and death. The teenaged narrator of "Desert Vista" copes with a new school and a first love while negotiating the boundaries between his family's tenuous middle-class status and the working-class community in which they have come to live. Tony Amoroza, the protagonist of "Amoroza Tires," wrestles with the grief from his wife's death until an unexpected legacy fills him with new faith. María del Valle, "La Loquita," the central character of "Lucero's Mkt.," crosses the border into madness while her neighbors watch, gossip, and try to offer—or refuse—aid. Yañez writes with perfect understanding of his borderland setting, a landscape where poverty and violence impinge on traditional Mexican-American values, where the signs of gang culture strive with the ageless rituals of the Church. His characters are vivid, unique, fully authentic, searching for purpose or identity, for hope or meaning, in lives that seem to deny them almost everything. Yañez's world is that of the Southwestern Chicanos, but the fears and yearnings of his characters are universal. 

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The Flock

This classic novel, first published in 1906 and based on Mary Austin's own experiences, captures the way of life of shepherds in the Sierra. Austin blends natural history, politics, and allegory in a genre-blurring narrative, championing local shepherds in their losing battle against the quickly developing tourist business in the Western Sierra during the nineteenth century. Austin had met many shepherds while visiting the Tejon ranches of Edward Beale and Henry Miller, and cultivated relationships with men others often thought of as ignorant, unambitious, and dirty, listening closely to their stories. Her neighbors were scandalized, but Austin respected the shepherds’ ways of thinking. Rather than portray these shepherds’ lives as part of a romantic bygone era, in this novel, she instead positions them as exemplifying potentially radical ways of living in and thinking about the world. Afterword by Barney Nelson.

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Genesis, Structure, and Meaning in Gary Snyder's Mountains and Rivers Without End

When Gary Snyder’s long poem Mountains and Rivers Without End was published in 1996, it was hailed as a masterpiece of American poetry. Anthony Hunt offers a detailed historical and explicative analysis of this complex work using, among his many sources, Snyder’s personal papers, letters, and interviews. Hunt traces the work’s origins, as well as some of the sources of its themes and structure, including Nō drama; East Asian landscape painting; the rhythms of storytelling, chant, and song; Jungian archetypal psychology; world mythology; Buddhist philosophy and ritual; Native American traditions; and planetary geology, hydrology, and ecology. His analysis addresses the poem not merely by its content, but through the structure of individual lines and the arrangement of the parts, examining the personal and cultural influences on Snyder’s work. Hunt’s benchmark study will be rewarding reading for anyone who enjoys the contemplation of Snyder’s artistry and ideas and, more generally, for those who are intrigued by the cultural and intellectual workings of artistic composition.
 

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Gunning for Ho

Vietnam Stories

In this rich and varied collection of short stories (six stories & one novella), former Green Beret Lee Barnes deals with the war itself and with its aftermath, but his stories focus more on the human aspects of men in armed conflict and families at home than on the violent drama or political aspects of that war.

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