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Journal of a Prairie Year by Paul Gruchow Reissued

August 21, 2009

Author Paul Gruchow’s phenomenal Journal of a Prairie Year has just been reissued by Milkweed Editions, a nonprofit publisher out of Minneapolis. Paul’s work was regularly included in The Minnesota Project’s Community Connections newsletter.  

“Winter” from Journal of a Prairie Year appeared in the winter 2006 issue; “Up North” from Minnesota: Images of Home was printed in the spring 2004 issue; and his essay “Bread and Culture” was featured in the spring 2008 issue. Click on the issue links to read individual newsletters, or click here to browse all issues.

The essential feature of the prairie is the horizon, which you can neither walk to, or touch.

journal-prairie-yearFrom Standing at the northeastern edge of the million-square-mile expanse, Paul Gruchow looks beyond the vast expression of flatness and fertility to plumb what is less often perceived there: a definitively taciturn landscape that has as much to teach us about our own minds as it does about the natural world.

Both a phenology and a philosophy, Journal of a Prairie Year charts one cycle of seasons, but reveals countless cycles of thought. The silence of winter snow juxtaposes our inability to hear its song; the fecundity of spring uncovers the trouble of naming; the tenacity of a prairie plant in sumer’s heat calls to question the definition of a weed; the morality of fall asks why we can’t resist driving the remains of this landscape toward extinction.

Originially published twenty-three years ago, Journal of a Prairie Year remains one of the finest depictions of the prairie ever written, an essential reintroduction to a threatened world.

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About the author: Paul Gruchow is the author of Journal of a Prairie Year (University of Minnesota Press, 1985), The Necessity of Empty Places (St. Martin’s Press, 1988), Travels in Canoe Country (Little, Brown, 1992), Grass Roots: The Universe of Home (Milkweed Editions, 1995), and Boundary Waters (Milkweed Editions, 1997). Raised in Montevideo, Minnesota, he was educated at the University of Minnesota and worked as the managing editor of the Worthington Daily Globe. Prior to his death in 2004, Paul taught at St. Olaf College and Concordia College, and was a frequent contributor to the Utne Reader, The New York Times, and the Hungry Mind Review, among other publications.

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