New anthology from University of North Texas Press celebrates state's nature through essays

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Fourteen essays on Texas' various regions -- all connected to each other by expressions of pride for the state -- are included in a new book that will be released this month from the University of North Texas Press.

"Pride of Place: A Contemporary Anthology of Texas Nature Writing," is edited by Denton resident David A. Taylor, an academic adviser in UNT's Honors College. The book offers updates to "Adventures with a Texas Naturalist," folklorist Roy Bedichek's observations of the natural world which was published in 1947 by the University of Texas Press. "Pride of Place" acknowledges the increased urbanization and the loss of wild space in today's Texas.

Bedichek's essay, "Still Water," from "Adventures with a Texas Naturalist" is among the essays included in the book. Other authors and their subjects include:

  • Stephen Harrigan and Wyman Meinzer on West Texas;
  • John Graves on Central Texas;
  • Carol Cullar and Barbara "Barney" Nelson on the Rio Grande region of West Texas;
  • Joe Nick Patoski's on of Hill Country springs;
  • "Pete" A.Y. Gunter on the Piney Woods;
  • Taylor on North Texas;
  • Gary Clark and Gerald Thurmond on the Coastal Plains;
  • Ray Gonzales and Marian Haddad on El Paso; and
  • Naomi Shihab Nye on urban San Antonio.

Ron Chrisman, director of the University of North Texas Press, said "Pride of Place" matches "Adventures with a Texas Naturalist" in exploring Texas' unique nature, and adds the new book is the first to reflect the changes in the human landscape that have accelerated since Bedichek's time.

In the book's introduction, Taylor writes the essays "are held together by…the sense that from West Texas to the Coastal Plains, Texas and its unique landscape are important and worthy of pride, if not downright bravado."

In her review, Dorinda G. Dallmeyer, author of "Elemental South: An Anthology of Southern Nature Writing," said Taylor "has put together an engaging, heartfelt anthology about Texas that I would want to read and would recommend to others."

"Clearly, he is a man on a mission to help his readers both reclaim their connection to their particular landscape and to transform their vision of what Texas was, is, and can be," she wrote.

Publishers Weekly's review of the book noted both the skill of the writers of the essays and the variety of their subject matter."

Another reviewer, Ian Marshall, author of "Storyline: Exploring the Literature of the Appalachian Trail," said that by reading "Pride of Place," Texas residents "will not only be introduced to some fine writers from their home state -- they will also learn a great deal about the landscapes of Texas."

Taylor teaches in UNT's Department of English and Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies. His previous works include "South Carolina Naturalists: An Anthology, 1700–1860" and "Lawson's Fork: Headwaters to the Confluence."

"Point of Place" will be available Feb. 13 in bookstores and from the UNT Press at (800) 826-8911 or

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108