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The Way of Imagination

Essays

List Price: $16.95

ON SALE: August 11, 2020 | Paperback | 272 pages | ISBN 9781640093652
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Prize-winning essayist turns to the imagination as a spiritual guide and material method of living through climate disruption, as climate change and broad extinction forever alter our place on the planet and our lives together.

Imagination breaks the shell of the status quo, summoning up objects that do not yet exist, actions that no one has yet performed, and wiser ways of living that have yet to be realized.

Fascinated by science and math from an early age, Scott Russell Sanders later developed a passion for literature and art. From his college years onward, he has been deeply engaged in struggles against racism, sexism, environmental devastation, and war. Gradually he realized that his response to each of these challenges arose from compassion and a desire to reduce suffering.

Woven through his reflections on issues vital to human survival and flourishing, Sanders tells the story of his own intellectual and moral journey from childhood religion to an adult philosophy of life (which is later tested when his son is diagnosed with stage-four cancer). He recounts how he and his wife, who has Parkinson’s disease, leave their beloved old house to accommodate her needs, and turn their handsome new house into a home and their raw city lot into a garden.

In The Way of Imagination, Scott Russell Sanders shows that acts of imagination are crucial to healing our divided society and damaged earth.

About Scott Russell Sanders

SCOTT RUSSELL SANDERS has won more than a dozen major honors, including the John Burroughs Nature Essay Award twice, the Lannan Literary Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. His more than twenty books include novels, stories, and essays. He is a distinguished professor emeritus of English at Indiana University and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He and his wife make their home in the hardwood hill country of southern Indiana.

Praise

Praise for The Way of Imagination

"The Way of Imagination is a dazzling, often heartbreaking, and ultimately healing meditation on the power of art to confront the existential threat that human greed and violence has foisted upon the earth. Scott Russell Sanders has written a vital book for this dark moment in history, demonstrating the truth of his insight that 'imagination keeps us from being trapped in the present arrangement of things.' His faith in the creative process as a shaping force for good is bracing, and his belief that we are called to love and compassion, notwithstanding the abundant evidence of human folly, is borne out on every page of this illuminating book." --Christopher Merrill, author of Self-Portrait with Dogwood

"Scott Russell Sanders is an honest man in a time of lies, a wise man in a time of foolishness, a healer in a time of wounds, and a beautiful writer in a time of ugly rants. His new book thus offers both solace and inspiration. Like Loren Eiseley or Rachel Carson, Sanders begins with the natural world and leads readers into the moral world, where wondering love becomes an urgent call to care." --Kathleen Dean Moore, author of Great Tide Rising

Praise for Earth Works

An Englewood Review of Books Best Book

"More than any other writer of his generation, Scott Russell Sanders has consistently, and insistently, challenged his readers to consider what it means to be a citizen of the Earth." --H. Emerson Blake, Orion Magazine

"The many things that Scott Russell Sanders cares about--soical justice, family, our place in nature, the ways in which culture and place reflect one another--are all woven together wonderfully in this collection of essays. Here is a voice to dispel confusion and keep us well rooted." --Lewis Hyde, author of The Gift

"Like the building stones of his beloved limestone country, Scott Russell Sanders's enduring essays are beautifully carved from the material of the Earth and its layered lives. This collection of his finest work will become a classic of American thought." --Kathleen Dean Moore, author of Great Tide Rising

"By turns somber and snap-out-of-it buoyant, these elegant artifacts of restless inquiry cover subjects as intimate as the author's sexual awakening and his father's alcoholism, as broad as the origins of the universe and the disarray of contemporary hyper-urban society." --The Indianapolis Star

"Collectively, these essays invite the reader to gaze more clearly at the world outside his own window--a reminder, as Sanders puts it, that all there is to see 'can be seen from anywhere in the universe, if you know how to look. . .'" --The Barnes & Noble Review

"In language that's patient, probing and precise, Sanders . . . has, over the past 30 years or so, built a body of work articulating what it means to live during this time on planet Earth and, particularly, that part of the planet called the American Midwest." --NUVO

"[T]he essays of Earth Works are full of energy, hope and life." --Englewood Review of Books

"It's hard to think of a writer today who is better at finding and expressing the profound nature discovered in such simple gifts as a shared meal or a walk in the woods." --Indiana Living Green

"[The essays in Earth Works are... a rich mix of beautifully crafted and progressive pieces that engage the reader in a long conversation. They are best read slowly, providing time to consider Sanders' propositions, his keen insight and lessons, his critical questioning." --Terrain.org

Praise for A Conservationist Manifesto

"Sanders's A Conservationist Manifesto is a book to be savored--for its language, its stories, its sense of place, and for how it reminds us of the profound relationships with nature and each other that can inspire us to change how we live on this planet . . . A must read for all of us who are wrestling with the future of conservation and searching for how to express the values that will take us to a greener and more sustainable future." --Will Rogers, President, The Trust for Public Land

"A seasoned professor and writer of fiction and nonfiction has given us the benefit of his journey in the worlds of literature, natural history, and religious philosophy. But A Conservationist Manifesto is more than that. Scott Russell Sanders's elegant writing reminds us once again that it is, above all, through style that power defers to reason." --Wes Jackson, President, The Land Institute

"This is a beautiful, right-minded, and reinforcing book for all who would be conservationists. . . Scott Sanders gives us one of the most graceful tellings of our plight, with many examples of people protecting or restoring what counts. . . . We've never been more keenly in need of his loving manual for conserving what he calls 'the basic grammar of life." --Robert Michael Pyle, Orion Magazine

"Insightful essays . . . original and intriguing. . . . Sanders offers a 40-point Conservationist Manifesto, which, in its thoroughness, thoughtfulness and inclusion of environmental justice issues would serve the environmentalist community well." --Publishers Weekly

"In this beautifully poetic set of meditations on conservation, Sanders issues a clarion call for reversing society's present path of ecological devastation and offers reflections on ways that individuals and society might provide better stewardship of the earth now and for future generations to come. . . . [His] eloquent book is a must-read for anyone committed to taking care of the natural world and passing it along to future generations." --ForeWord

"There are others writing about sustaining the planet and ourselves who should be read. . . . But there is something more to A Conservationist Manifesto. Sanders writes on a literary level that places him with Henry David Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, Wallace Stegner, Annie Dillard, and Wendell Berry." ―The Bloomsbury Review

"Sanders' style is full of the imagery and poetic prose of Aldo Leopold, the philosophic wanderings of Henry David Thoreau, and includes Wendell Berry's vital sense of place. A Conservationist Manifesto is sure to find its way on those treasured lists of must reads." --Indiana Living Green

"A Conservationist Manifesto is a rich book and like a rich wine or rich dessert, it is meant to be savored. Sanders sees beyond the mass destruction of consumerism and prophetically calls us to the redemptive work of conserving creation and connecting deeply with our neighbors and the places in which we live." --Chris Smith, Englewood Review of Books

"In a world that focuses relentlessly on consumer culture, it's refreshing to read Scott Russell Sanders's plea for 'a new vision of the good life' in A Conservationist Manifesto." --Audubon

"[Sanders] writes beautiful prose and never fails to stir our souls and imaginations. . . . In this awesome new book . . . Sanders outlines the practical, ecological, and ethical grounds for a conservation ethic." --Spirituality & Practice

Praise for The Force of Spirit

"In the tradition of Montaigne, Thoreau, Wendell Berry, and Annie Dillard, Sanders has established himself as one of the few masters of the personal essay." --Tom Montgomery-Fate, The Boston Globe

"One of America's finest essayists. Sanders writes with a rare grace and sensitivity, befriending the reader by being so human himself." --Phillip Lopate, editor of The Art of the Personal Essay

"Sanders's voice is honest and witty and rich with the joy of storytelling; he confronts gently, but with determination, many of the dilemmas of our time and the enigmatic nature of our worlds. The Force of Spirit urges the reader to sit back, to enjoy the pleasure of reading, then to consider and reconsider carefully." --Pattiann Rogers, author of Eating Bread and Honey

"Sanders is the writer I turn to when I feel the need to slow down, pay attention, ponder the blessings of life and acknowledge them with due respect, apprehension, joy. His newest gathering of essays . . . only enhances my admiration for his values, vision, and eloquence." --Jim Mustick, A Common Reader

Praise for A Private History of Awe

"I finished your book last night and I think it is splendid. Much in it is authentically beautiful, and it is beautifully and properly titled. It has gravity and pleasure and candor and gratitude and sorrow, all eloquent, and never a moment of ungenerosity. Every return of the theme of your love for Ruth put tears in my eyes. You matter so much to me that I have no idea what others will think of this book, but it is light and breath to me. Our poor country needs this book more than it knows, and I am anxious to find out how it will be received." --Wendell Berry, author of The World-Ending Fire

"He floods the reader with the raw emotional power of his memories. His generational peers will find themselves nodding in silent recognition early and often." --Publishers Weekly

"An eloquent exploration of life and love by a writer with a most inquiring mind and capacious heart." --Kirkus Reviews

"Sanders' thoughtful reflections on the cycles of life, the flashpoints of awe, and our quest for meaning are quietly revelatory." --Donna Seaman, Booklist

"This remarkable memoir is beautifully written, and it delivers a complex and rich vision of the important spiritual practice of awe. Sanders tutors us in the art of paying attention to what is going on within and around us." --Spirituality & Practice

Praise for Hunting for Hope

"This is one of the rare books in which hope seems reasonable, and the grace and economy of the prose nourishes the parched spirit."-- Robert Taylor, The Boston Globe

"Although these beautifully written pieces are reminiscent of Wendell Berry's essays in their economy, grace and moral passion, Sanders projects his own distinctive voice, at once recognizably Midwestern (he's from Indiana by way of Ohio) and universal." --Publishers Weekly

"A small, bright arrowhead of a book: carefully hewn, piercing, balanced; betraying in its form its very substance. . . . [Sanders's] particular, urgent voice wields that arrowhead of hope into the hearts of his children, his students, and his readers." --GraceAnne A. DeCandido, Booklist

"A beautifully written tribute to natural beauty, addressed by a tree-hugging hippie dad to his Generation X son." --Kirkus Reviews

"An extraordinary book by one of America's most elegant writers. It is a veritable treasure trove of wisdom served up with love, imaginative verve, and spiritual sensitivity."--Values and Visions Reviews Service

"Sanders has blended the essences of philosophers, teachers, poets and authors, all filtered through his own unique Midwestern heart and mind, into passionate, crystal-clear, prize-winning essays." --James Alexander Thom, Indianapolis Star

"Watching Sanders traverse the trails of tension with his son makes me feel much more human after trying to propel my own son to do pretty much anything he doesn't want to, even though he is much younger than the teenage character. The candor and clarity of Sanders's pursuits in the fresh language of his rhythmic prose, make me want to buy Hunting for Hope for all my friends who are dads." --Huffington Post

"This book is an act of amazing generosity--five decades of seeing and living distilled into deep draughts of hope. It could help the planet; it will definitely help you in your relationships with spouse, children, community, and earth." --Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature

"Scott Russell Sanders is among America's finest living essayists, but he is also something else: a mortal who has felt loss in his family and in the land. And here we have a chance to hear how this caring heart and mind have found hope, and sustained it, in wondrous ways." --Gary Paul Nabhan, author of Cultures of Habitat

Praise for Writing from the Center

Winner of the Great Lakes Book Award

"... essays of substance and beauty... they belong beside the work of Annie Dillard, Samuel Pickering, and Wendell Berry." --Library Journal

"His essays are so good one is tempted to stand up and applaud after reading them." --Body Mind Spirit

Praise for Staying Put

"Reflective, rhapsodic, luminous essays. . . . A wise and beautifully written book." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Sanders's essays have a way of getting into your head and accompanying you like familiar spirits.... Sanders has become a master." --John Schultz, Chicago Tribune

"Sanders is at heart a tough politician with a cause. Like Barry Lopez...Sanders finds in nature a radical rebuttal to Western culture.... He proposes a different kind of citizenship." --Alex Raksin, Los Angeles Times

"For nearly two decades now, Sanders and his family have occupied the same two-story house on the same tree-lined street. While all of this 'sameness' might prove suffocation to a writer of lesser talent and imagination, Sanders has charged it with meaning and power." --Susan Hanson, San Marcos Daily Record

"Bravo! Staying Put is one of the best spiritual resources of the 1990s." --Spirituality & Practice

Praise for Secrets of the Universe

"Sanders looks for and often finds universal truths in the particulars of everyday life. . . A marvelous celebration of the small and large mysteries of life." --Kirkus Reviews

"An engaging sampling of intellect enlivened by imagination." --Publishers Weekly

"Three cheers for Scott Russell Sanders, whose splendid Secrets of the Universe should draw more deserved attention to one of the best writers of nonfiction going." --Columbus Dispatch

"Secrets of the Universe. . . illuminates the mysterious places in which we dwell--our minds and bodies, our neighborhoods and cities, the wilderness and the world--all parts of us that make us whole." --Richard Holmes, The Bloomsbury Review

"A volume of essays likely to delight those who receive it. . . It's the kind of book you want to share." --Charlotte Bruce Harvey, Boston Phoenix

"Scott Russell Sanders knows in his bones what it means to write the personal essay: it means to take risks. These are personal essays in the best sense of personal--candid, intimate, thoughtful, individual." --Robert Atwan, editor of Best American Essays

"Scott Russell Sanders makes use of a Hoosier plain-spokenness and Midwestern common sense to home in on serious matters with intelligence." --Edward Hoagland, author of Heart's Desire

Praise for The Paradise of Bombs

"In these eleven essays, knowing about the world is not an intellectual exercise but a sensation, or a chain of sensations, told by a troubled intelligence. . . . They give the reader more evidence than a poem and more intention than a story, more detailed substance from more angles than either poetry or fiction would." --Kim R. Stafford, The New York Times Book Review

"Rich in emotion, memory, and concern for the world we inhabit . . . harrowing and convincing." --Chicago Tribune

"Spirited, elegant essays. . . .Beautiful and angry. . . .A wonderful book." --Carol Bly, Hungry Mind Review

"Will captivate anyone who wants to feel the pulse of our era." --William J. Schafer, Louisville Courier-Journal

"Redemptive and crucial. . . Scott Russell Sanders observes life like a rustic saint." --Charles Jonson, author of Middle Passage

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