Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Terry Tempest Williams

My previous post from today is a piece of poetry by Terry Tempest Williams.  I realized after reading a comment from Weaver of Grass that I had not provided any information about this amazing woman, environmentalist, activist and writer.  So I have 'borrowed' information about her from Wikipedia and Amazon.com.  The first book I read of hers was "Refuge", and I was hooked.  Do check out her work - it is always timely, brilliant and beautiful.

"Terry Tempest Williams (born September 8, 1955), is an American author, naturalist, and environmental activist. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the desert landscape she was raised in has significantly influenced her writing, much of which concerns or is set in the deserts of the American West.

Her works touch on a variety of issues, including issues of ecology and natural preservation, feminism, health/cancer issues, and the Mormon culture. As an activist, she has done everything from serving time in jail for civil disobedience to testifying before Congress on women’s health issues." (Wikipedia)

Amazon Books provides reviews and information about her books:

~ Refuge ~  "In the spring of 1983 Terry Tempest Williams learned that her mother was dying of cancer. That same season, The Great Salt Lake began to rise to record heights, threatening the herons, owls, and snowy egrets that Williams, a poet and naturalist, had come to gauge her life by. One event was nature at its most random, the other a by-product of rogue technology: Terry's mother, and Terry herself, had been exposed to the fallout of atomic bomb tests in the 1950s. As it interweaves these narratives of dying and accommodation, Refuge transforms tragedy into a document of renewal and spiritual grace, resulting in a work that has become a classic."

Review of  Williams' latest book, Finding Beauty in a Broken World:

"Terry Tempest Williams' tools are words, ideas, sentences, fragments. She uses them to dig into chosen corners of our world, and to illuminate some unknowns in flickering light." -- Washington Times

Product Description of Finding Beauty in a Broken World:

"In her most original, provocative, and eloquently moving book since Refuge, Terry Tempest Williams gives us a luminous chronicle of finding beauty in a broken world. Always an impassioned and far-sighted advocate for a just relationship between the natural world and humankind, Williams has broadened her concerns over the past several years to include a reconfiguration of family and community in her search for a deeper understanding of what it means to be human in an era of physical and spiritual fragmentation.

Williams begins in Ravenna, Italy, where “jeweled ceilings became lavish tales” through the art of mosaic. She discovers that mosaic is not just an art form but a form of integration, and when she returns to the American Southwest, her physical and spiritual home, and observes a clan of prairie dogs on the brink of extinction, she apprehends an ecological mosaic created by a remarkable species in the sagebrush steppes of the Colorado Plateau. And, finally, Williams travels to a small village in Rwanda, where, along with fellow artists, she joins survivors of the 1994 genocide and builds a memorial literally from the rubble of war, an act that becomes a spark for social change and healing.

A singular meditation on how the natural and human worlds both collide and connect in violence and beauty, this is a work of uncommon perceptions that dares to find intersections between arrogance and empathy, tumult and peace, constructing a narrative of hopeful acts by taking that which is broken and creating something whole." (Amazon.com)

To read a sample of her poetry, scroll down to my previous post.


  1. Thank you, Bonnie, for these beautiful posts! I will definitely seek out her work. She sounds like quite a woman.

  2. A singular meditation on how the natural and human worlds both collide and connect in violence and beauty...you had me at that line...intrigued.

  3. Finding beauty in a broken world! I like the ideia, I think I do that everyday.

  4. Thank you, Bonnie, for the lovely free-spirited poem and your informed comments about Williams and her book Refuge which I intend to purchase. I like the idea of mosaic, both ecologically and artistically. So much creative tbought and action.

  5. This is worth looking deeper into. Thanks for the information!


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