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With its thirty-three essays, This Impermanent Earth charts the course of the American literary response to the twentieth century’s accumulation of environmental deprivations. Arranged chronologically over a span from 1974 to the present, the works have been culled from The Georgia Review, long considered an important venue for nonfiction among literary magazines published in the United States.
The essays range in subject matter from twentieth-century examples of what was then called nature writing, through writing after 2000 that redefines the environment in gradually increasing human terms, to a more inclusive expansion that considers all human surroundings as material for environmental inquiry. Likewise, the approaches range from formal essays to prose works that reflect the movement toward innovation and experimentation. The collection builds as it progresses; later essays grow from earlier ones.
This Impermanent Earth is more than an historical survey of a literary form, however. The Georgia Review’s talented writers and its longtime commitment to the art of editorial practice have produced a collection that is, as one reviewer put it, “incredibly moving, varied, and inspiring.” It is a book that will be as at home in the reading room as in the classroom.
Douglas Carlson is an assistant editor of The Georgia Review. He is the author of Roger Tory Peterson: A Biography and essay collections At the Edge and When We Say We’re Home. He has served in editorial and advisory roles for Ascent magazine, White Pine Press, and New Rivers Press.
Soham Patel is an assistant editor of The Georgia Review, where she manages book reviews. She is the author of the books of poems and nevermind the storm, New Weather Drafts, to afar from afar, and ever real hear it. She won the 2017 Subito Prize and is a Kundiman fellow and poetry editor at Fence.