Writing Wyoming

T his series includes books that depict different aspects of what it means to live in Wyoming. Each writer explores both the myth and the reality of the people and place. Whether in the memoirs, short stories, poems or non-fiction narratives of this series, each shows the loveliness and harshness, the humor and the romance of life lived or imagined in Wyoming.

John Mcphee’s Rising from the Plains (1986) weaves together the personal history of Rocky Mountain geologist David Love and his family with the geology and history of the region. He also details the search for resources and the environment effects of their discovery.

The recently published anthology Deep West (2003) offers a sample of the work of nineteen contemporary Wyoming writers. Selections include poetry, short stories and nonfiction and are accompanied by the authors’ essays assessing how living in Wyoming has influenced their writing.

Pulitzer prizewinner Annie Proulx’s collection of eleven short stories in Close Range (1999) deals with loneliness, violence and love. Bound to disturb the reader who anticipates myths of the West, the stories are both harsh and humorous as they depict the lives of luckless cowboys and ranchers left behind by the modern world.

In What You See in Clear Water (2000), Geoffrey O’Gara traces the history of the Wind River Indian Reservation and its residents, the Shoshone and the Arapaho, as they face the hardships of poverty, suicide, and the indifference or hostility of neighbors outside the reservation. O’Gara narrates the story of the recent conflict between Indians and whites over water rights to the Wind River.

Where Rivers Change Direction (1999) is Mark Spragg’s memoir of growing up on a dude ranch in Wyoming, wrangling horses for his father, hunting, meeting guests from all over the country who have come to the west to experience its mythology, marrying and divorcing, and caring for his mother before her death. The essays are compelling stories of place and self.

As a resident of a small Wyoming town, David Romtvedt has written the collection Windmill: Essays from Four Mile Ranch (1997) about the rural West, using the windmill as a metaphor. These pieces concern various topics including his small town, the local economy and culture, sheep, death, weather, and being a non-hunter.

Retired Discussion Series

Debbie Sturman, Director
425 South Main Street, P O Box 510
Lusk, WY 82225-0510
Phone: 307-334-3490
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