On the <bioregional> E-mail list someone asked the following question:

“I would be interested in hearing from any readers of this list who consider themselves more or less serious students of bioregionalism, what you think are the key or essential pieces of bioregional literature. What are the core, or definitive works? What are some of the more recent works that seem to offer promise in further developing the bioregional paradigm? What scholarly journals are sympathetic to bioregional perspectives?”

We’ve strung together the responses below, without trying to identify the individual voices...

Tom Jay is a writer to look at. A fine essay of his in the book “Reaching Home: Pacific Salmon, Pacific People.

Of course there’s the classic, “Home: A Bioregional Reader” from new Society Publishers, and their subsequent bioregional series, now in #7 or 8.

And of course, I would add the following writers:

Stephanie Mills _In Praise of Nature_ and _Whatever Happened to Ecology_

Wendell Berry -- just about anything

Wes Jackson -- edited and written essays as well as several books

Richard Nelson

Annie Dillard

all those bioregional books edited and written by Judith and Chris Plant from New Society Publishers

David Abram’s _The Spell of the Sensuous_

William Least Heat Moon’s _PrairyErth_

_Home: A Bioregional Reader_ (New Society Publishers)

_Forgotten Language: Contemporary Nature Poetry_ ed. by Christopher Merrill

Aldo Leopold’s _Sand Sounty Almanac_

Edward Abbey’s _Monkey Wrench Gang_

Gary Snyder’s _The Practice of the Wild_

Rick Bass’ _Wild to the Heart_

Barry Lopez’ _Crossing Open Ground_

Bill Devall and George Sessions, _Deep Ecology: Living as if Nature Mattered_

Susan Meeker Lowry’s book on bioregional economics

Terry Tempest Williams’ _Refuge_

Gretel Ehrlich -- anything!

Linda Hasselworth (sp.?) from a rancher point of view

and as far as magazines, that great Co-Evolution issue from 1983 or so on bioregionalism, the proceedings from the North American Bioregional Congress/Turtle Island Bioregional Gatherings, Orion, Wild Earth, etc.

and of course, this is only the beginning

P.S. - I highly recommend Paul Hawken’s “The Ecology of Commerce” and Fritjof Capra’s “The Turning Point.” Remarkable books, both.

Some of my favorite bioregional books:

“Bioregional Bibliography”, 1994 Edition. by Katherine Adam. It is a bit dated now, but great. It will keep you busy for months, if not years. To order copies (a steal at $6 + $2 shipping), contact Janice Lorrain at the Ozarks Resource Center, P.O. Box 1198, Ava, MO 65608, (417) 683-6245.

Changes in the Land, William Cronon (Because it tells about my own bioregion, and Cronon is a great storyteller)

Almanac of the Dead, Leslie Marmon Silko
(The flyleaf alone is a wonderful bioregional map. The text is even better.)

Healing the Wounds, the Promise of Ecofeminism, Judith Plant
(Because there are too few women’s voices in the bioregional “canon”)

Boundaries of Home, Mapping for Local Empowerment, Doug Aberley

Giving the Land a Voice: Mapping our Home Places, also D. Aberley, et al

(If you are interested in “figuring out where you are,” these books are the ones to help you do it. The former is part of the New Society bioregional series, the latter can be ordered for $16 from Salt Spring Island Community Services, 268 Fulford-Ganges Road, Salt Spring Island, VK8 2K6, Canada)

Dwellers in the Land: The Bioregional Vision, Kirkpatrick Sale, 1991 (This book is certainly at the core of the movement’s written record! Although, I must admit I like it less than everything else on this list.)

Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, Eduardo Galeano

(In many respects, Galeano is telling the bioregional history of the rape ofthe Americas. I think everyone who lives in this Hemisphere should read it.)

Any core canon starts with Daymond Dasmann, then goes to Peter Berg and Kirkpatrick Sale, then to Planet Drummers, such as Freeman House, and to the correspondents who assembled those crucial Planet Drum bundles then,to Jim Dodge for Upstream-downstream, and to academic fellow-travellers, including those around UCSC including several generations who fed off of Dasmann and associates under Bateson’s umbrella.

While there must have been an East-coast equivalent, Kirkpatrick Sale would be most knowledgable about that stream. Somewhere in the pantheon sits an anarchist social ecology of Murry Bookchin.

Then too, most of us cut or eye teeth on Kropotkin as much as Marx and Brecht. Make no mistake, this movement has always been political, and those origins ranged from abstract to practical anarchist and situationist theory of performance and streets as a stage for ecology actions, to new left decentralization of the early 60’s SDS Port Huron statement on democratic socialism. Many other components come to mind, including Krober’s native area of North America, Sauer’s works, and maps, maps, maps, all as often read by candle light in Pacific coastal encampments and communes as in Berkeley study halls.

The literary stream predates Snyder and includes his gurus, from Lloyd Reynolds’ 1950’s Reed College calligrapher - poets (including Snyder) to Chas. Olson, Ezra Pound, and Robinson Jeffers, and especially Lew Welch, the vanished spirit of Mt. Tamulpius. While I won’t forget Tu Fu and LiBo, and the wine sotted moonlights oer any river, Basho’s travel,and other Pacific Rim influences, Europe also had its contributors, beyond politics, whether Brecht or Mayakovsky, Johan Galtung, and especially the Amsterdam Provos, London squatters as well as architects of arts and crafts, from Ruskin to Gill, and so on.

Doug Aberly and the BC Canadian crew have done much to get the message out in a range of genres from Judith Plant’s new agey-eco-feminism to Doug’s own rock solid how to map a bioregion.

Two courses of thanks, to early Stewart Brand-Whole Earth-CEQ and Stepahanie Mills’ editing job, and a subtextual to someone whose vision and poetics have stirred us all at one time or another, whether we knew it or not, a Coyote by name, “sun & moon in motion, steady as the ocean, . . .” and the long gone game of Emmet G’s Ringalevio.

Many influences. My large one is the writings of PR Sarkar, from Ananda Marga, who articulated the concept of samaj (society), or economically self-reliant region, generally understood as larger than what folks have called a bio-region.

I would say Lewis Mumford, Benton MacKaye and the Regional Planning Assn. were the progenitors of a lot of bioregional thinking. Mumford in particular is important for urban ecology thinking.

Bioregional core. More two cents from a different angle-these are the writers/geographers/artists/poets whose books or works I keep right by my fingertips for ideas, i.e., never make it back into the main bookshelf through seven years of writing a bioregional column for a local newspaper. Homer (Elysian fields), Albrecht Durer (a piece of turf), Ruskin (an ugly thing a flower garden...), Sumner Heywood (cuckoo hill), Humboldt, John Cooper Powys (his part of wales), Vidal de la Blanche (french regions), Saint Francis. British artists like Andy Goldsworthy, Ian Hamilton Finlay (unpainted landscape). B.C. Regional women artist/poets Gilean Douglas “bush map”, Emily Carr. Local oral tales of Dave Elliot Saltwater people, The usual Snyder, Bly, Carson, EO Wilson and Leopold. Odd ones like Scottish GF Dutton (Harvesting the edge).

Did you read The Forest People by Colin Turnbull, Warriors of the Rainbow by W. Willoya and V. Brown or EST by L. Clark Stevens? These were important for me, but Gary’s poems probably had a greater effect on me than any other readings.