A multicultural anthology, edited by Susan O'Connor and Annick Smith, about the enduring importance and shifting associations of the hearth in our world.
A hearth is many things: a place for solitude; a source of identity; something we make and share with others; a history of ourselves and our homes. It is the fixed center we return to. It is just as intrinsically portable. It is, in short, the perfect metaphor for what we seek in these complex and contradictory times-set in flux by climate change, mass immigration, the refugee crisis, and the dislocating effects of technology.
Featuring original contributions from some of our most cherished voices-including Terry Tempest Williams, Bill McKibben, Pico Iyer, Natasha Trethewey, and Chigozie Obioma-Hearth suggests that empathy and storytelling hold the power to unite us when we have wandered alone for too long. This is an essential anthology that challenges us to redefine home and hearth: as a place to welcome strangers, to be generous, to care for the world beyond one's own experience.
About the Author
Annick Smith is the author of several books, including Homestead, In This We Are Native, Big Bluestem, and most recently Crossing the Plains with Bruno. She produced the prize-winning feature Heartland, and was a founding board member of Robert Redford's Sundance Institute. Her travel and nature writing, short stories, and essays have appeared in journals such as Audubon, Outside, Islands, Travel + Leisure, Orion, the New York Times, Story, and National Geographic Traveler and have been widely anthologized.
She was also the editor of Headwaters: Montana Writers on Water & Wilderness , and coeditor with Susan O'Connor of The Wide Open: Prose, Poetry, and Photographs of the Prairie. She lives in Bonner, Montana. Susan O'Connor is an environmental and arts advocate. She has served on the boards of several art museums, including the Menil in Houston, Texas. She has also been a board member of the Orion Society and the American Prairie Reserve. She cofounded several nonprofits, including Pacific Writers Connection, Ala Kukui: Hana Retreat, Ohana Makamae, and Families First both in Boston and Missoula.
She was coeditor with Annick Smith of The Wide Open: Prose, Poetry, and Photographs of the Prairie. She lives in Missoula, Montana.
Praise for Hearth
"A simmering collection of 32 provocative and stunning works . . . Ultimately, this profound and radiant volume reveals that hearths take many forms, including a book."--Booklist
"[A] remarkable new collection . . . 'We live within a blaze of transience both inevitable and complete, ' writes Jane Hirshfield. Hearth captures both the evanescence of that blaze and its enduring power to heal us."--World Literature Today
"Thought-provoking, meditative, mournful, and comforting for readers who seek a connection to purpose and meaning, the anthology acts as a hearth of its own."--Publishers Weekly
"The wisdom, compassion, and humanity in these pages are powerful medicine for our time. It's not necessary to begin at the beginning, but I did. I started with W. S. Merwin's beautiful poem and the rest of the essays seeped in where Merwin made his skillful soul-opening into my heart. By the time I put this gorgeous collection of writing down, I was flooded with both the balm of compassion and instructions for how to go forward, both." --Alexandra Fuller, author of Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
"Some of my favorite people on Earth are in this book, dear writers and grand spirits at whose hearths I long to sit. And there are writers who are new to me, fascinating people whose lives vivify how very much about human existence still remains to be learned."--Annie Dillard
"The first hearth, I suppose, before humans controlled fire, was the body heat of a she-wolf or a bear, curled in her den, offering nurture to shivering pups or cubs. These fine writers take it from there. Wolves don't need fire, as Barry notes. But they and we all need something like it--a focus, a refuge, a source."--David Quammen
Praise for The Wide Open
"From the pens of writers such as Judy Blunt, Rick Bass, Thomas McGuane, Barry Lopez, Richard Ford, Gretel Ehrlich, Peter Matthiesen, Richard Hugo, and James Galvin and through the stark lenses of photographers Lee Friedlander, Lois Conner, and Geoffrey James, we deeply inhabit the American prairie, a seemingly immutable place of hard-scrabble ranches, rivers, bears, birds, and wolves--a land so patiently alive we might miss it."--Bookforum
"A literate portrait of the prairie and the animals and folks who cooperatively attempt to make it home."--Montana Quarterly
"A superb evocation of the prairie and its life."--ForeWord
"Using photographs, fiction, and nonfiction, the editors have skillfully assembled a complex portrayal of the West's high, dry, and cold plains into a beautiful book."--Orion
"A beautiful memoir of the short-grass prairie of the northern Great Plains, which has channeled its voice through the writers and photographers found within the book."--Bloomsbury Review
"An essential anthology that celebrates the voice and spirit of the prairie. Anthologies can be hit or miss--this collection of poetry, prose, and photographs is right on the mark."--Great Plains Quarterly