Date of this Version
Great Plains Quarterly Vol. 29, No. 4, Fall 2009, pp. 333-334
There's a postcard you can buy at a lot of gas stations in Wyoming that shows a man holding onto a fence post for dear life as he's about to be blown into the great wide open. I believe it says, "Welcome to Wyoming. We grow a lot of wind here!" It's a funny postcard, but also a serious reminder of the climatic vagaries one experiences on the prairie. "It's this ache of the wind blowing over open land," as M. L. Smoker writes in The Wide Open, that continues to call us back or hold us here in the Great Plains and in the American West.
Annick Smith, an accomplished writer, and Susan O'Connor, philanthropist and arts advocate, have done an exceptional job compiling an essential anthology that celebrates the voice and spirit of the prairie. Anthologies can be hit or miss-this collection of poetry, prose, and photographs is right on the mark. It includes a range of voices and visual interpretations by Rick Bass, Richard Ford, Barry Lopez, Mary Clearman Blew, Jim Harrison, Gretel Ehrlich, Lois Conner, Lee Friedlander, and Richard Hugo, to name a few.