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Landscapes with Figures: The Nonfiction of Place

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For some, a sense of place is about travel, about plunging oneself into new settings. For others, it is about being—and knowing—home. This book is a collection of essays, memoirs, nature writing, and travel narratives that document the impact this sense of place has on writing. In locations as familiar as Cape Cod or Mesa Verde and as exotic as Kraków or Kyrgyzstan, thirte For some, a sense of place is about travel, about plunging oneself into new settings. For others, it is about being—and knowing—home. This book is a collection of essays, memoirs, nature writing, and travel narratives that document the impact this sense of place has on writing. In locations as familiar as Cape Cod or Mesa Verde and as exotic as Kraków or Kyrgyzstan, thirteen accomplished writers of contemporary creative nonfiction share some of their most memorable work, disclosing how place alters our perception and influences our insight. Taking readers to deserts and forests, islands and mountains, Landscapes with Figures is an encounter not only with places but also with writers themselves. Each contribution is accompanied by an author's commentary  that discusses the relationship to place in his or her writing. The authors reveal the connections they feel to the places they write about, the role that place plays in the choices they make in relating their experiences, and the strategies and work habits that produce such writing. This compilation is at once a wide-ranging anthology of the nonfiction of place for the armchair traveler and a book about writing for those who aspire to understand and practice the craft, carrying with it the invitation to reflect on one’s own special places.


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For some, a sense of place is about travel, about plunging oneself into new settings. For others, it is about being—and knowing—home. This book is a collection of essays, memoirs, nature writing, and travel narratives that document the impact this sense of place has on writing. In locations as familiar as Cape Cod or Mesa Verde and as exotic as Kraków or Kyrgyzstan, thirte For some, a sense of place is about travel, about plunging oneself into new settings. For others, it is about being—and knowing—home. This book is a collection of essays, memoirs, nature writing, and travel narratives that document the impact this sense of place has on writing. In locations as familiar as Cape Cod or Mesa Verde and as exotic as Kraków or Kyrgyzstan, thirteen accomplished writers of contemporary creative nonfiction share some of their most memorable work, disclosing how place alters our perception and influences our insight. Taking readers to deserts and forests, islands and mountains, Landscapes with Figures is an encounter not only with places but also with writers themselves. Each contribution is accompanied by an author's commentary  that discusses the relationship to place in his or her writing. The authors reveal the connections they feel to the places they write about, the role that place plays in the choices they make in relating their experiences, and the strategies and work habits that produce such writing. This compilation is at once a wide-ranging anthology of the nonfiction of place for the armchair traveler and a book about writing for those who aspire to understand and practice the craft, carrying with it the invitation to reflect on one’s own special places.

32 review for Landscapes with Figures: The Nonfiction of Place

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jen Hirt

    I read this (and taught it) in a 2013 nature writing class and a 2015 nature writing class at the 400-level, so it was mostly juniors, seniors, and a couple graduate students. The first time around, I had the class read almost the entire book. The second time, due to time constraints, I had them read only the clear favorites from the first semester, which were "Almost Paradise" by Kim Barnes, "Fragments" by Elizabeth Dodd, "Sick of Nature" by David Gessner, "Derichment" by Barbara Hurd, and "The I read this (and taught it) in a 2013 nature writing class and a 2015 nature writing class at the 400-level, so it was mostly juniors, seniors, and a couple graduate students. The first time around, I had the class read almost the entire book. The second time, due to time constraints, I had them read only the clear favorites from the first semester, which were "Almost Paradise" by Kim Barnes, "Fragments" by Elizabeth Dodd, "Sick of Nature" by David Gessner, "Derichment" by Barbara Hurd, and "The Kingdom of Ice" by John Hanson Mitchell. The less experienced writers were put off by the length of the essays and the complexity of nature and science research; my more experienced writers seemed to learn a lot from the book and the companion craft essays. This is a fine book to read as an anthology of talented nature writers, and it's an important example for college nature writing classes that have a research component to any long-form assignment.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Karen

  3. 4 out of 5

    Holly

  4. 4 out of 5

    Pineapple Pinecone

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Marie

  7. 4 out of 5

    Melynda

  8. 5 out of 5

    Opal McCarthy

  9. 5 out of 5

    Karl

  10. 5 out of 5

    Amy Houck

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bob Vanourek

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jenni

  13. 4 out of 5

    Margot Storti-Marron

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bobbi Maiers

  16. 5 out of 5

    Molly

  17. 5 out of 5

    Priscilla

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lydia

  19. 4 out of 5

    M

  20. 5 out of 5

    Colleen Coyne

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alma :)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Robin

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cindie

  24. 4 out of 5

    Clayborn

  25. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Otero

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sleonhardi

  27. 4 out of 5

    India

  28. 4 out of 5

    jenni

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christine

  30. 5 out of 5

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  31. 5 out of 5

    Tamara Williams Van Horn

  32. 4 out of 5

    jenne

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