. . . many American poets and novelists have recognized that something emotive abides in the land, and that it can be recognized and evoked even if it cannot be thoroughly plumbed. It is inaccessible to the analytic researcher, invisible to the ironist. To hear the unembodied call of a place, that numinous voice, one has to wait for it to speak through the harmony of its features. . . .
Home Ground looks at first like a dictionary of American landscape terms, albeit one with patches of beautiful writing and genuine wit. As we explore it, the book gains something that might be a kind of political importance. Past that, it reaches literature, and then moves very close to the spiritual. It already feels like an essential part of my library.
Barry Lopez reads from Home Ground and discusses the process of collecting and defining these words at Shaman Drum Bookshop on Monday, October 23.
[Review published October 2006]