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On Nature

Great Writers on the Great Outdoors

Lee Gutkind

The evocative essays in On Nature comprise a wide range of experiences and adventures. In "Against Nature," Joyce Carol Oates explains why writers generally resist nature as a topic, and at the same time comments on her place in the surrounding world. Diane Ackerman swims with a right whale and her calf in "The Moon by Whale Light," and sees how the whales treat her with the same respect with which she treats them. In "Pieces of the Frame," John McPhee explores the mystery of the Loch Ness monster and the people who obsess over it. Sherry Simpson looks at the conflict-riddled business of trapping and killing Alaskan wolves, sympathizing with both the trapper and the wolves. On Nature also includes essays by such renowned voices as Mark Doty, Bill Bryson, Barry Lopez, and Vaclav Havel, all of whom share their poignant, intimate connections to the natural world.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Outward Bound Lee Gutkind
Nature's See-Saw Edward Hoagland
The Quiver of a Shrub in California Václav Havel
Killing Wolves Sherry Simpson
Against Nature Joyce Carol Oates
Plain Scared Sandi Wisenberg
Silver Redhorse Hal Herring
The Entire Earth and Sky Leslie Roberts
A Walk in the Woods Bill Bryson
Finding Fossils Deborah Archer
Pieces of the Frame John McPhee
Beaches, Found and Nearly Lost Leslie Leyland Fields
The Spray and the Slamming Sea Paul Lindholdt
The Stone Horse Barry Lopez
Love, War and Deer Hunting John Hales
Learning from Goats Lucy Wilson Sherman
House Finches Mark Doty
Excerpt from The Moon by Whale Light Diane Ackerman
Dreaming of Salmon Kurt Hoelting


Diane Ackerman

Diane Ackerman is the author of 20 works of poetry and nonfiction, including, most recently, "An Alchemy of Mind" and "Origami Bridges:... read more

John Hales

John Hales was raised in Utah and earned a Ph.D. at SUNY-Binghamton. He currently teaches American literature and writing at California... read more

Hal Herring

Hal Herring is a native of Alabama and has lived in Montana for the past 12 years. His writing has appeared in Field... read more

John McPhee

For more information please visit, http://www.johnmcphee.com read more

Sherry Simpson

Sherry Simpson is a Fairbanks writer. Her most recent book is titled Dominion of Bears: Living with Wildlife in Alaska. For more... read more

Lucy Wilson Sherman

Lucy Wilson Sherman received her MFA in creative nonfiction from Goddard College. She completed a full-length memoir called "Laying... read more