About the Book
“Perhaps a future of environmental writing begins in trying to meet all people where they are, wherever they are,” writes Lauret E. Savoy. “It’s acknowledging and honoring difference as enriching.” In Trespass , twenty women essayists challenge the traditional boundaries of place-based writing to make room for greater complexity: explorations of body, sexuality, gender, and race. Traveling across time and place—from a Minnesota summer camp to the peacock-lined streets of Kerala, India—these essays reveal their authors as artful and singular observers of their homes, lives, and histories. Emerging writers along with celebrated voices in the field, including Belle Boggs, Camille T. Dungy, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Terry Tempest Williams, reclaim spaces that have always been theirs.
Observing the policing of Detroit, Aisha Sabatini Sloan bears witness to environmental racism, and finds community with family and neighbors. Toni Jensen traces the erasure of Native culture on college campuses and challenges notions of safety in light of sexual and gun violence. Laurie Clements Lambeth paints the strength and fragility of the human body through the lens of a progressive neurological disease. And Shuchi Saraswat’s trip to the Bay Area to document a ceremony honoring Ganesha leads her on her own journey home.
Originally published in the pages of Ecotone, the award-winning literary magazine that reimagines place, these essays recount how women uniquely shape and are shaped by their environments. Together, they spark new conversations, showing the ways we forge identity through larger cultural considerations—in our bodies, our neighborhoods, and the natural world.
About the Book
Twenty women essayists challenge the traditional boundaries of place-based writing to make room for greater complexity: explorations of body, sexuality, gender, and race.
May-lee Chai is the author of ten books of fiction, nonfiction, and translation, including the memoir Hapa Girl and the recent story collection Useful Phrases for Immigrants, which won the Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman. Her writing has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a Jack Dyer Fiction Prize, and the Asian / Pacific American Award for Literature; named a Kiriyama Prize Notable Book; and given honorable mention for the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights Book Award.Belle Boggs is the author of The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood, a finalist for the PEN / Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, and Mattaponi Queen, which won the Bakeless Prize and the Library of Virginia Literary Award. She teaches in the MFA program at North Carolina State University.Camille T. Dungy is the author of four collections of poetry, including, most recently, Trophic Cascade, winner of the Colorado Book Award, and the essay collection Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood, and History, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She has edited anthologies including Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry. A Colorado State University professor, her honors include an American Book Award, NEA fellowships, and NAACP Image Award nominations.Preoccupied with earth science since childhood, Aimee Nezhukumatathil crafts her research-based poetry using curious phenomena of the natural world. Her award-winning books of poems include Miracle Fruit, At the Drive-in Volcano, and Oceanic. Other honors include fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the National Endowment for the Arts. She serves as the poetry editor of Orion and teaches in the MFA program at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, where she lives with her husband and sons. Her essay in this anthology also appears in her collection World of Wonder, from Milkweed Editions.Tracing memory threads Lauret Edith Savoy’s life and work: unearthing what is buried, re-membering what is fragmented, shattered, eroded. A woman of African American, Euro-American, and Native American heritage, she writes about the stories we tell of the American land’s origins and the stories we tell of ourselves in this land. Her books include Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape; The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity and the Natural World; Bedrock: Writers on the Wonders of Geology; and Living with the Changing California Coast. Trace won the 2016 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation and the 2017 ASLE Creative Book Award, was a finalist for the 2016 PEN Open Book Award and the Phillis Wheatley Book Award, and was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and the Orion Book Award. Lauret is the David B. Truman Professor of Environmental Studies and Geology at Mount Holyoke College, a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, a photographer, and a pilot.Arisa White is the author of Black Pearl, Post Pardon, Hurrah’s Nest, A Penny Saved, and the Lambda Literary Award–nominated You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened. Her chapbook “Fishing Walking” & Other Bedtime Stories for My Wife won the inaugural Per Diem Poetry Prize. As the creator of the Beautiful Things Project, she curates cultural events and artistic collaborations that center narratives of queer and trans people of color. A Cave Canem graduate fellow, she is an assistant professor at Colby College.Terry Tempest Williams is author of seventeen books, including the environmental literature classic Refuge, and most recently The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks. She is currently writer-in-residence at the Harvard Divinity School.