The Entire Earth and Sky (Paperback)
Views on Antarctica
University of Nebraska Press, 9780803240018, 328pp.
Publication Date: July 1, 2012
More than a distant continent, Antarctica is a land of the imagination, shaping and shaped for centuries by explorers, adventurers, scientists, and dreamers. The Entire Earth and Sky, a kaleidoscope of legends, stories, field notes, images, reports, history, letters, and research, renders an impression, both vast and microscopic, of the effect of human beings on the land we call Antarctica, and its effect on us. It balances the reality of the frigid outpost populated by a ragtag alliance of international researchers against the crystalline dreamscape of a continent at the bottom of the world.
When Leslie Carol Roberts went to Antarctica for the first time with Greenpeace, she was hoping to save the world. In the twenty years since then, she has shifted to the no less difficult task of saving Antarctica itself, compiling memoirs and stories, learning the biology and geography of the icy land, and documenting her own journey. Roberts describes in detail the town of Lyttelton, New Zealand—the Cape Canaveral for so many great Antarctic expeditions—prior to the devastating 2011 earthquake in which it was the epicenter.
The Entire Earth and Sky weaves the tragic and heroic tales of nineteenth-century exploration, interviews with scientists, and the author’s personal observations into a remarkable collage that evokes the beauty and the complexity, the perils and the rewards of a lifelong engagement with the earth’s last wilderness.
Praise For The Entire Earth and Sky: Views on Antarctica…
“Leslie Roberts packed her duffel, her down parka, her bunny boots, her quill, her notebook and headed south. But she also packed her heart, her soul, and her gift. The result is pure art: honest, true to place, original, and lovely. “—David G. Campbell, author of The Crystal Desert: Summers in Antarctica
— David G. Campbell
“‘I am Antarctica and Antarctica is me,’ Leslie Carol Roberts wants to cry out, knowing that the famous and forbidding land of penguins, ferocious leopard seals, explorers lucky and not, scientists who shag their way through the months-long winter night (also cooks and drivers and pilots and Scott Base string bikinis) is in peril. The Entire Earth and Sky introduces us to the place in a new and thorough and wholly original way. Roberts, possessed of a certain sweet curiosity and impressive smarts, is a poet of the ice, and a cataloger, too. In the end she makes one thing clear: we are all Antarctica, and Antarctica is us.”—Bill Roorbach, author of Temple Stream, Big Bend, and Into Woods
— Bill Roorbach
“Roberts shows a poet’s attention to detail. . . . [She] tells many forgotten stories of Antarctica in an engaging style that will appeal to anyone with an interest in cold places, travel adventures, and overlooked history.”—Booklist
— Colleen Mondor
“[Roberts] bring[s] to life and light the historic port of Lyttelton. . . . Roberts introduces readers to the intriguing Norris, a man entirely dedicated to preserving the artifacts and thus shaping the narrative of one specific place on Earth.”—Orion
— Gretchen Legler
“Roberts’ seriousness, respect, and deep reflections about Antarctica run through the narrative as a strong thread, drawing it together into a potent whole.”—Melbourne Historical Journal
— Jesse Blackadder
HERE IS WHERE I WALK
Here Is Where I Walk explores, through stories of the author’s own experiences as a traveler, walker, mother, teacher, journalist and writer, what happens when we engage deeply with varied species of trees and plants in diverse locales around the world; rooted in a year in the the Presidio National Park in San Francisco, the stories embrace walks in the Indiana Dunes National Park, in the wilds of Tasmania, among others. The book reflects on the role complex ecosystems play in the author’s and other artists’, naturalists’, and scientists’ lives, nourishing the human spirit in times both tragic and triumphant.
Roberts describes her own method as emphasizing research through travel and reading widely and exploring beyond “naming species.” The performance of her writing, where she places her whole body and mind into a place and then reports back, is experiential and curated based on her personal experiences rather than chronological or historical continuity. What makes Roberts’ books striking are the unexpected connections she finds between stories of place and culture, as well as her quiet observations of nature and art.
QUOTE from the BOOK:
“There are reports in the esteemed journal Nature that scientists have discovered what is called the Wood Wide Web, a revelation that trees and fungi converse, sharing across species information about their needs and alerting each other to predation threats. Living in the midst of one of America’s great historic forests — a forest with the same designation as historic human-built structures, these discoveries confirmed what I believe so many of us walkers-of-woods have long sensed. From the forest bathers of Japan, to Henry David Thoreau, to John Muir, to Annie Dillard, to Alice Eastwood the great Western botanist, we all of us have felt this chatter.” – From the introduction to Here Is Where I Walk.
Praise for HERE IS WHERE I WALK
“In a series of absorbing, funny, tragic, and deeply present ruminations, Leslie Carol Roberts walks the contours of Presidio National Park and reports back on what she sees, feels, and still longs to know. Packed with a scientist’s curiosity and an artist’s imagination, she uses her walks the way Thoreau encouraged us to treat every journey into nature: as a lesson in how to accept, relish, and even seek out change.”
– John D’Agata, author of the trilogy of essay anthologies called “A New History of the Essay” and Director of the Nonfiction Writing Program at Iowa.
“This is no ordinary nature book, though Ms. Roberts writes in the tradition of Thoreau, Muir, Leopold, Carson, and Terry Tempest Williams. Rather, it is a profound meditation on the intersection of many different histories, lives, and fates, all of which reveal different facets of a thoroughly engaging literary imagination. The author seems to have walked everywhere in the park, turning her daily journeys rich with observation and recollection into occasions to tease out larger meanings about our brief time on earth.” – Christopher Merrill, author of Self Portrait with Dogwood, and Director of the University of Iowa International Writing Program