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Terra Firma: Trinity University Press blog

Gary Snyder and Julia Martin in San Antonio: A New Conversation in an Old Friendship

by Rachel Cooley on

Beloved poet Gary Snyder and South African writer and scholar Julia Martin will discuss their decades-long friendship on March 4 at Trinity University. The evening celebrates their new book, Nobody Home: Writing, Buddhism, and Living in Places, which collects their many letters and musings.

As Snyder likes to say, it’s not over yet. He and Martin will continue their ongoing conversation on campus, exploring themes from the book such as ecological and gender politics; issues of community, bioregion, and place; Snyder’s priorities for writing; and core musings like suffering, old age, sickness, and death.

Please join us for this conversation and poetry reading at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 4.  



Crossing the equator

curving over the Atlantic ocean space, south-north, west-east—

Cape Town and Table Mountain, Namaqualand, Kalahari—to Cape Mendocino, Shasta, Black Rock desert—Julia and I have tossed our paper airplane letters toward each other now for over thirty years, mostly swooping ok down

To compare our wild/tame female/male scholar/artist parent/wanderer tricks

with each other. All on the path of walking, writing and sitting.

I’ve learned so much from her. And I love this neo-Gondwanaland we share. It’s not over yet.



An evening with Gary Snyder and Julia Martin

March 4, 7:30–9 pm

Chapman Center | Great Hall | Trinity University

East Rosewood Avenue

San Antonio, Texas

On the Eighth Day: A New Path for Our Imperiled Planet

by Eliza Perez on

People trying to save our planet from catastrophic climate change navigate the world according to the ethical values they hold in order to take responsibility for their world. 

Kathleen Dean Moore is Distinguished Professor of Environmental Philosophy Emerita at Oregon State University and coeditor of the award-winning book Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril. As a philosopher and nature writer, Moore makes a moral argument for doing the right thing for the Earth’s future—its environment, animals, and people.

On Thursday, February 5, Moore will give a talk, “On the Eighth Day: A New Path for Our Imperiled Planet,” about why changes to our lifestyle to slow climate change are critical.  

We hope you can join us!

On the Eighth Day: A New Path for Our Imperiled Planet

Evening Lecture: Thursday, Feb. 5, 7 p.m.

Holt Center at Trinity University

106 Oakmont Court, on the corner


Free and open to the public

Moving the Dream Forward

by Linda Pace on

In 1987, shortly after I decided to leave my husband of twenty years, I started dreaming about making art. My dreams became my nightly compass, my way of listening to my inner authority rather than allowing external events to continually shape my life. As part of the silent and stoic generation of women who came of age in the 1950s, I had conformed to the expectations of my era, believing that marriage and family were the twin poles that anchored a woman’s life. Now I wanted to chart my own course.

To leave someone else’s idea of a fairy tale and set out to find my own way was a radical, unconventional act, one that shook me to my bones. Though I was certain of what I needed to do, I often felt I was living on the dark side of the moon, alienated from my previous life, but facing an uncertain future. The only clues I had to where I was going were found in my nightly dreams—dreams that were so real, so luminous, and sometimes so frightening that they startled me into seeing glimpses of my true identity.

Night by night, I experienced the part of me that existed independent of what was expected of me. I defined that free, unfettered part as my soul. Once the dreams started, they were like nightly waterfalls flowing continuously from some mysterious inner well. They felt like snapshots of myself under water, hard to make out but persistent and unavoidable.

In one of the first in a series of art-making dreams, I could see a multicolored snake slither across the floor. I was fascinated by its vibrant, hypnotic colors, which moved in slow motion. They were numinous, charged with supernatural energy. The colors were a reminder to me of elements that are necessary to an artist’s life—emotion and intuition, the kind of sharp and dangerous instincts that tell you when to be silent, when to hiss, and when to strike. I felt challenged but afraid. Remembering what happened to Eve in the Garden of Eden, I suspected that the snake in my dream signaled the loss of my own innocence, the end of a certain way of life. Nevertheless, I was relieved to see that it was alive and on the move, and

I watched it for what seemed like a long time. Suddenly, it struck the right side of my head. Later I came to understand that the snake symbolized art-making, which had metaphorically bitten me. The fact that it had pierced the right side of my brain—my creative side—seemed enormously important. At some level, I understood that I would spend the rest of my life fostering my own creativity and that of others. I wanted to be an artist, a collector, and a benefactor—not just one role, but three. You could say that ArtPace was born at that moment.

This is a memoir about losing innocence and moving dreams forward, creating spaces where others can do the same, and the healing that comes from assuming full responsibility for your own creative life.

Excerpted from "Dreaming Red: Creating ArtPace" about the creation and development of Artpace, an artist residency program in San Antonio. The book seeks to capture the dual identity of Artpace, both the motivation for its existence and the product of its efforts. The publication features a personal narrative penned by Linda Pace, with the assistance of award-winning author Jan Jarboe Russell, as well as a series of texts by fourteen curators and critics on selected projects created at Artpace, and an essay by writer Eleanor Heartney about the history of artist residencies and that of Artpace itself.  

Below: Linda Pace, Red Project, 2001. Found objects on wood panels. 96 x 96 in. 

A Grandson's Hot Butter Rum Toast to Donald Culross Peattie

by David Peattie on

Donald Culross Peattie and his wife, Louise Redfield Peattie, with their son, Malcolm, uncle of David.

I [David Peattie] never met my grandfather. Or if I did, I was too young to remember. He died when I was growing up in Japan, so all the stories I heard, in addition to a few old photographs, formed my memories of him. That, and of course his books.

He was a gentleman and a gentle man. You could tell that in his writing, but also from the tales my father, Mark Peattie who passed away earlier this year, told me. Those remembrances were not focused on his chivalrous nature, but the side notes made that clear. For instance, when he would take his children for a hike and share his knowledge of all things flora and fauna, he often wore a coat and tie.

While he was soft-spoken both in praise and criticism, he did not shy away from speaking up about what was right. In the period following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, for instance, he spoke out eloquently against the internment of Japanese Americans, and wrote letters to the editor in their defense.

My grandfather was nothing if not a civilized man. And that included his love of cocktails, especially making them. When his three sons were in their teens, he even taught them how to mix cocktails, and drink in moderation, in order to learn socially responsible drinking before they went out into the world of alcoholic temptations. He often wrote for Readers Digest and once penned an article on this very subject. Unbeknownst to him, it was titled "I Taught My Children to Drink." He received hundreds of angry letters from outraged readers. Although he was famous for his writing and knowledge as a naturalist, he secretly wanted praise for his skills as a mixologist, a term he loved. He became good friends with Don the Beachcomber, the famous restaurateur and barman. When Don came to visit his home in Santa Barbara, he pronounced that my grandfather “had all the right rums.” It was one of his proudest moments. When my father went to Cambodia, newly a Foreign Service diplomat, my grandfather sent him the best gift he could think of to survive this hardship post: his own annotated collection of cocktail recipes, Witches Brew: Lady Macbeths Bad Book of Good Cocktails.

So for those of you who might think the best way to celebrate the memory of my grandfather is to dip back into one of his literary treasures (A Book of Hours is my personal favorite), I offer to you another treasure: a recipe from his cocktail book, for Buttered Rum Punch.

Cheers! And I hope you have all the right rums.

Holiday Gift Guide

by Eliza Perez on

The holidays are right around the corner, and one of my favorite things to do, other than make tamales with my mom and watch classic Christmas movies with my sister, is shop for gifts. I feel great whenever I find the perfect gift for someone I care about. The smile on their face is thanks enough. 

If you’re having trouble shopping for gifts, consider these books for the readers on your list.

For the future architect: Writing Architecture: A Practical Guide to Clear Communication about the Built Environment, the perfect primer on writing about architecture.

For your favorite feminist: The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness, essays by Rebecca Solnit exploring politics and place the world over.

For the storyteller: A Muse and a Maze, the engaging follow-up to the bestselling Maps of the Imagination, connecting mystery, puzzles, and magic to the craft of writing.

For the poet: Nobody Home: Writing, Buddhism, and Living in Places, affectionate, thoughtful interviews and letters between poet Gary Snyder and South African writer Julia Martin.

For the fiction aficionado: Outside, stories by Barry Lopez, with illustrations by Barry Moser, exploring the relationship between humans and animals, and creativity and beauty.

For the nature lover: Reissues of books by Donald Culross Peattie, one of America’s most beloved naturalists, which have been out of print for decades. 

Happy holidays from all of us at TU Press!