Randy Lundy recommends three books about nature
Randy Lundy is a short story writer, poet and member of the Barren Lands (Cree) First Nation. Lundy's poetry, including 2018's Blackbird Song, reflects on his life, his heritage and his spiritual connection to nature.
Hunger Mountain by David Hinton
"The subtitle for this book is 'a field guide to mind and landscape.' It's a big topic but a small book. I think it only runs about 140 pages. David Hinton is probably the foremost translator of classical Chinese poetry and philosophy. The book is focused on the relationship between consciousness and the landscape. He spends a lot of time talking about the pictographic nature of Chinese writing as opposed to the alphabetic nature of English writing.
The book is focused on the relationship between consciousness and the landscape.- Randy Lundy
"He suggests that, due to the pictographic nature, those who write in Chinese establish a mindset that's much closer to nature. Nature and spirit and language are all interwoven and all part of one another. They inform each other rather than being separate kinds of things."
Field Notes for the Alpine Tundra by Elena Johnson
"It's a collection of poetry by Canadian poet Elena Johnson, who lives in Vancouver. She's originally from New Brunswick. The book is called Field Notes for the Alpine Tundra. I just love the title. The poems were written when she was sort of the writer-in-residence during a research trip in Yukon in the Ruby Range Mountains, which are beyond the Arctic Circle in the tundra.
There's a relationship between the form of the book, the form of the individual poems and this barrenness or sparseness of that alpine landscape.- Randy Lundy
"It's a really thin book. It only runs about 27 pages of poetry and the poems are quite small as well. She spent some weeks up there looking and writing about the kinds of things that she saw. There's a relationship between the form of the book, the form of the individual poems and this barrenness or sparseness of that alpine landscape."
Dissolve by Sherwin Bitsui
"This is a challenging read. He often makes reference to the then and the now. He was born in Arizona, he's Navajo and lives in Santa Fe these days. I've read in interviews that he says he does his best thinking when he's in transit between Santa Fe, where he now lives, and his home reservation.
There's a lot of violence, alcohol, pills, syringes, police sirens and so on. But at other times there's that southwestern landscape and culture that he comes from and is attached to.- Randy Lundy
"It's a really distinctive voice. There's a lot of violence, alcohol, pills, syringes, police sirens and so on. But at other times there's that southwestern landscape and culture that he comes from and is attached to. So there's mountains and desert and desert plants and animals and horses. He's got a singular and distinctive voice."
Randy Lundy's comments have been edited for length and clarity.