Janisse Ray at New Dominion April 20

Reading and Book Signing at New Dominion Bookshop with Janisse Ray

 April 20 at 12:15 PM

 A House of Branches

Poems by Janisse Ray

A House of Branches“Before she became the acclaimed author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, Wild Card Quilt and Pinhook, Janisse Ray was a poet, a calling she has never abandoned. Nor has it abandoned her. How heartening, therefore, to see her first love given its full-throated voice in A House of Branches! These poems are about waking up, looking around at the world, and discovering how to live within it . . . how to gather and cherish the things of this world.”

—Kathryn Stripling Byer, author of Catching Light and Black Shawl, and poet laureate of North Carolina, 2005-09

“The voice familiar to lovers of Ray’s nonfiction is here—clear eyed and questing and newly charged with lovely lyricism that honors the natural world and the wisdom she finds in it. It is a pleasure to share this journey and be enlarged by it.”

— Beth Ann Fennelly, author of Unmentionables

“As if Basho had awoken from a long sleep and began, again, to write, Janisse Ray in this long-anticipated first major collection of poems takes the reader on a walkabout across the American landscape with a voice as diverse as the birds in the forest in a series of mantras, hymns and exhortations with as much detail embedded in accessibly rich, loamy metaphor as a field guide.”

— Thomas Rain Crowe, author of Zoro’s Field: My Life in the Appalachian Woods and The End of Eden: Writings of an Environmental Activist

About the author

Writer, naturalist and activist Janisse Ray is author of three books of literary nonfiction and a new collection of nature poetry. She is on the faculty of Chatham University’s low-residency MFA program and is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow. She holds an MFA from the University of Montana, and in 2007 was awarded an honorary doctorate from Unity College in Maine.

Her Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, a memoir about growing up on a junkyard in the ruined longleaf pine ecosystem of the Southeast, was published by Milkweed Editions in 1999. Besides being a plea to protect and restore the glorious pine flatwoods of the South, the book looks hard at family, mental illness, poverty, and fundamentalist religion. Essayist Wendell Berry called the book “well done and deeply moving.” Anne Raver of The New York Times said of Janisse Ray, “The forests of the South find their Rachel Carson.”

Ray’s second book, Wild Card Quilt: Taking a Chance on Home, about rural community, was published by Milkweed Editions in early 2003. The third, Pinhook: Finding Wholeness in a Fragmented Land, the story of a 750,000-acre wildland corridor between south Georgia and north Florida, was published by Chelsea Green in 2005. Her first book of poetry, A House of Branches, is just out. (2010) Ray is also editor of In One Place and Moody Forest, and co-editor of UnspOILed and Between Two Rivers. She is anthologized widely.

Ray has won a Southeastern Booksellers Award 1999, an American Book Award 2000, the Southern Environmental Law Center 2000 Award for Outstanding Writing, and a Southern Book Critics Circle Award 2000. Ecology of a Cracker Childhood was a New York Times Notable Book and was chosen as the Book All Georgians Should Read.

She has been visiting professor at Coastal Carolina University, scholar-in-residence at Florida Gulf Coast University, and writer-in-residence at Keene State College and Green Mountain College. She was the John & Renee Grisham writer-in-residence 2003-04 at the University of Mississippi.

Ray attempts to live a simple, sustainable life on a farm in southern Georgia with her husband, Raven Waters. Ray is an organic gardener, tender of farm animals, slow-food cook, and seed-saver. She lectures widely on nature, community, agriculture, wildness, sustainability and the politics of wholeness. Forthcoming works include a nonfiction books on open-pollinated seeds, The Seed Underground (Chelsea Green) and another about the Altamaha River, Drifting Into Darien (University of Georgia Press).

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