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Michael Austin



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In her writings, Terry Tempest Williams repeatedly invites us as readers into engagement and conversation with both her and her subject matter, whether it is nature or society, environment or art. From her evocation, in Desert Quartet: An Erotic Landscape, of an eroticism of place that defines erotic as "in relation," to the spiritual connectivity and familial bonds she explores in Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place and the political engagement she urges in The Open Space of Democracy, much of her work is about relationship, connection, and community. Like much good writing, her books invite readers into thoughtful dialogue with the text. Frequently in demand for workshops, lectures, and other speaking venues and well known as an environmental activist, Williams has a public persona and voice almost indistinguishable from her written ones. Thus, the interviews she has often granted--in print, on the radio, on the Web--seamlessly elaborate the ideas and extend the explorations of her written texts. They also tell us much about the genesis, context, and intent of her books. With her distinctive, impassioned voice and familiar felicity of language, she talks about wilderness and wildlife, place and eroticism, art and literature, democracy and politics, family and heritage, Mormonism and religion, writing and creativity, and other subjects that engage her agile mind. The set of interviews gathered and introduced by Michael Austin in A Voice in the Wilderness represent the span of Terry Tempest Williams's career as a naturalist, author, and activist. Michael Austin, professor of English and dean of graduate studies at Shepherd University began collecting Williams's interviews after realizing "that the conversational style of the literary interview is better suited to Terry Tempest Williams than to almost any other writer alive. Throughout her career, she has been engaged in conversations with herself, with her family, with her culture--and, perhaps most importantly, with the land." He shares and introduces a delicious sample of her conversations in A Voice in the Wilderness.

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Utah State University Press

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A Voice in the Wilderness