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Terra Firma: Trinity University Press blog

Texas Book Festival/San Antonio Edition

by Burgin Streetman on

We are excited to be participating in the first Texas Book Festival/San Antonio Edition on Saturday, April 13. This free day of literary happenings will offer book lovers of every age up-close encounters with fifty of their favorite Texas and national authors at presentations, panel discussions, and signings. Tents will feature a variety of food, cooking demonstrations, and musical entertainment. Storytelling and learning activities will be offered for kids. Be sure to stop by the Trinity University Press booth and check out our author events on the schedule: Char Miller (On the Edge)Kim Stafford (100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do)Becky Crouch Patterson (The Ranch That Was Us)Gilbert Garcia (Reagan's Comeback), and Arturo Madrid (In the Country of Empty Crosses)

Hope to see you there!

Ebook Generation

As the ebooks editor at Trinity University Press, and as part of a generation growing up in the digital age, I hate to admit that when ebooks first emerged, I resisted them. (And when I finally gave in and bought one, my ninety-year-old grandmother had to teach me how to use it.) 

As far as I was concerned, ebooks meant the death of the greatest tradition I know. Don’t get me wrong—technology is fine when it comes to certain things. Advances in CGI, digital animation, and other moviemaking technology? Great. The ability to watch ridiculous YouTube clips on my phone? Yes, please. But technology, I thought, leave my books alone!

I love walking into a used bookstore and seeing dusty volumes lined up on a shelf, and more than that, I love what those dusty volumes represent: knowledge and wisdom that have been passed down through generations. As a philosophy major, I love Aristotle best. My closest friend, a classics major, has Plato’s Republic on her bookshelf, next to Euripides. Preservation of tradition, and wisdom, and being transformed by the written word—that’s what books mean to me. Technology, it seemed, threatened to destroy all that. Sure, trendy devices are great when it comes to entertainment while I’m waiting at the doctor’s office, or finding my way back to the hotel when I’m on vacation, or, perhaps, texting a cute guy. But as far as I was concerned, that was about it. 

It turns out that ebooks are doing more to preserve that source of knowledge and wisdom than I realized. They’re allowing publishers to bring long unavailable books back into print, this time to stay. They don’t rely on the number of copies printed, and I can download them instantly to my e-reader. They transcend the challenges of time, space, and availability by virtue of their digitality. 

Take Donald Culross Peattie, one of the twentieth century’s most influential American nature writers, whose work has long been out of print. The age of the ebook allows Trinity University Press to bring back his important body of work this fall for a new generation to appreciate, love, and learn from. And this time it’s without fear of the books ever going “out of print.”

Next year when I’m sitting in a waiting room, maybe I’ll pull up An Almanac for Moderns by Donald Culross Peattie on my iphone instead of watching that YouTube video of the honey badger.


Next Big Thing

by Ann Fisher-Wirth on

Poet, professor, and co-editor of The Ecopoetry Anthology Ann Fisher-Wirth plays a little blog tag with us. She was tagged by the wonderful poet Sharon Dolin, and here she shares a quick Q&A about how The Ecopoetry Anthology came to be.

What is your working title of your book?

I’m blogging about The Ecopoetry Anthology, just released by Trinity University Press. It is coedited by Laura-Gray Street and me, and it has a splendid long introduction by Robert Hass.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’ve been a member of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment for about twenty years. I teach poetry workshops, poetry seminars, and courses in environmental literature at the University of Mississippi, where I also direct our minor in environmental studies. More than six years ago I got the idea to do an anthology of ecopoetry—but the size, shape, and focus of it changed radically several times, as Laura-Gray and I gradually discovered what we wanted to do.

What genre does your book fall under?

The Ecopoetry Anthology is, as the title says, an anthology of poems.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Now that would be hard to do! But if we got to have scenes of my coeditor Laura-Gray and me laboring over the manuscript, I'd be quite happy if Julie Christie could put on an American accent and play me. Just sayin'.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

The Ecopoetry Anthology includes American nature poetry from Whitman to about 1960, and American ecopoetry from about 1960 (when the term began to gain parlance) to the present; over 200 poets are included in this nearly 700-page book.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 

The anthology is published by Trinity University Press.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

My coeditor Laura-Gray Street and I worked on this book, with a lot of collaboration with our publisher, the poet Barbara Ras, for nearly six years.

What other books would you compare this anthology to?

There are several other new ecopoetry anthologies. I’m thinking in particular of Black Nature, edited by Camille Dungy, and The Arcadia Project, edited by Joshua Corey and G. C. Waldrep. Our anthology complements these; all three are excellent, and it’s quite different.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to discover and bring together a wide and deep variety of poetic responses to the environmental crisis. It's very exciting to see The Ecopoetry Anthology in print. There is so much in it, and anyone who cares about American poetry and anyone who is concerned about environmental issues will find much to love in this beautiful, groundbreaking book.

Tagging: Rachel DacusLynne ThompsonLiesl Jobson.



Ten Rings of Wisdom

by Burgin Streetman on

Readers who pick up The Power of Trees, by conservation rock star Gretchen C. Daily and photographer Chuck Katz, are amazed by the life-changing details about trees—things they never knew—that make them take a moment to appreciate the natural world around them. We asked our intern, Victoria Mitchell, to extract Ten Rings of Wisdom that moved her from The Power of Trees.

One. Trees seem so still, yet they are among the greatest life forces of movement on Earth.

Two. Fundamentally, we are indeed all of the same cloth, and the very constituents of our own bodies have likely resided in forests for many periods of time.

Three. Some trees clearly can talk to one another—when attacked, certain trees emit airborne chemicals that signal trouble to downwind trees, which in turn boost their own chemical defenses.

Four. Heartwood is the central supporting pillar of the tree, and in some species it is as strong as steel.

Five. After trees, Earth waited 165 million years before the first mammals appeared, and another 145 million years before the first monkeylike creatures swung from branch to branch in treetops.

Six. Trees are the longest lived organisms on Earth, some even germinating back when humanity was inventing writing, about 5,000 years ago. 

Seven. Living in trees for 80 million years or so, our ancestors acquired exceptional hand-eye coordination and dexterity. 

Eight. Trees fueled human discovery. By supplying the wood for primitive stoves, trees may have powered the evolution of large, calorie-hungry hominid brains. Later, the Age of Discovery was launched with fine-timbered ships that opened vast frontiers of knowledge and global exchange.

Nine. A famous study found that patients with trees outside their hospital windows recovered from surgery more quickly than patients whose windows looked out on brick walls.

Ten. Whether living as great wild expanses or as ribbons and dots of connection and texture in human landscapes, trees define our lives and the future of humanity.

2012 a Landmark Year

by Tom Payton on

2012 was an important year for Trinity University Press. It marked a turning point in our consistent growth, measured in many ways. And, indeed, it was a good year. Here are the top highlights of 2012 as reported by our staff. 

 Here’s to a great year behind and an even better year ahead!