The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide


"There is science in art; art in science; loveliness in knowledge."—Arizona Daily Star

"For those used to the dry, straightforward prose of a typical field guide, The Sonoran Desert offers a unique literary approach to the plants and creatures of the Sonoran Desert and southern Arizona’s Sky Island region."—Western American Literature

"These poems and short essays lead readers to engage with the plants and animals they describe word by word and line by line, creating a liter­ary ecology that, like the natural world itself, can be returned to time and again, always revealing something not formerly seen."—Southwestern American Literature

A land of austerity and bounty, the Sonoran Desert is a place that captures imaginations and hearts. It is a place where barbs snag, thorns prick, and claws scratch. A place where lizards scramble and pause, hawks hunt like wolves, and bobcats skulk in creosote.

Both literary anthology and hands-on field guide, The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide is a groundbreaking book that melds art and science. It captures the stunning biodiversity of the world's most verdant desert through words and images. More than fifty poets and writers—including Christopher Cokinos, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Ken Lamberton, Eric Magrane, Jane Miller, Gary Paul Nabhan, Alberto Ríos, Ofelia Zepeda, and many others—have composed responses to key species of this striking desert. Each creative contribution is joined by an illustration by award-winning artist Paul Mirocha and scientific information about the creature or plant authored by the book’s editors.

From the saguaro to the mountain lion, from the black-tailed jackrabbit to the mesquite, the species represented here have evoked compelling and creative responses from each contributor. Just as writers such as Edward Abbey and Ellen Meloy have memorialized the desert, this collection is sure to become a new classic, offering up the next generation of voices of this special and beautiful place, the Sonoran Desert.

  • ISBN-13: 9780816531233
  • Genre: Nature, American Literature Criticism
  • Format: Paperback
  • Trim: 6" x 9"
  • Page count: 216 pages
  • Published by University of Arizona Press in 2016
  • Edited by Eric Magrane and Christopher Cokinos
  • Illustrated by Paul Mirocha
  • Audience: Adult
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