The mountains of the American West are the setting for healing and personal development in this collection of lyrical essays. From forest fires to mountain lions, an Ohio farm to a Colorado cabin, and from violation to silence to reclamation, Kathryn Winograd draws keen attention to the details that braid her own history with that of the land on which she dwells with her husband and daughters, and with that of anyone who has experienced loss and fought for renewal. The essays become a ring of concentric circles, where one builds upon the next to achieve deeper meaning and truth, revealing mercy at its center.
“In these lyric essays, Kathryn Winograd mines the ore of girl, daughter, mother, wife, and writer, wilding her selves against Colorado’s high country. The immediacy and traction Winograd gets by pinning herself to mountain place and women’s emotion, whether alive now or in memory, is breathtaking, at times, sublime. What a tough essayist—and tender voice—the West has been waiting for all these years, ever since the ancient ones first arrived.” —Thomas Larson, author, The Sanctuary of Illness
“Winograd finds the most unlikely containers for the most urgent subjects. How does one reconcile, in the natural world, science and faith? Eyes, mind, and heart wide open, Winograd shows us what she can hold in her hand—shotguns, bird eggs, mushroom spores—and tilts our chins up to study the night sky . . . The very best books invent their own genres and Winograd’s Phantom Canyon has done just that. The shimmering syntax, the metaphor, the way the patterned images add up to something that wasn’t there before—that’s the lyric. But there’s also a story there. Phantom Canyon is a page-turner, a collection of lyric essays you won’t be able to put down. As a writer, teacher, mother, daughter, and survivor, I needed this book. You do, too.” —Jill Christman, author, Darkroom: A Family Exposure
“In Phantom Canyon Kathryn Winograd takes her place among America’s most celebrated writers—Thoreau and Annie Dillard come immediately to mind—who turn to the violence and beauty of nature to spark deeper understandings of the human community, and of the body and mind. Winograd adds to the mix her own insistence to confront even the most violent personal trauma—her own experience being raped as a child. For Kathryn Winograd the lyrical imagination, spiritual healing, and the love of beauty everywhere around us, come most fully alive only through recognizing also the harsher realities of the human condition . . . Winograd offers us the fullness and frailty of her own life, the natural world and the people she loves.” —Stephen Haven, author, The Last Sacred Place in North America
“Kathryn Winograd’s Phantom Canyon is a compelling collection. Here is the lyric essay at its most perceptive and powerful. I admire the insight and intelligence of the essays, the magnetic and masterful drive of the language, and above all the aching honesty that infuses every page.” —Robert Root, author, Happenstance and Postscripts: Retrospections on Time and Place
Kathryn Winograd is the recipient of a Colorado Artist Fellowship, a Rocky Mountain Women's Institute Associateship, and a Colorado Endowment for the Humanities Grant. She is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and was awarded a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2011 and a Colorado Cook Award in Poetry for Air Into Breath. She is the author of Stepping Sideways Into Poetry. She lives in Littleton, Colorado.
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