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The Wild Marsh: Four Seasons at Home in Montana
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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2010
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An account of one year in the Yaak Valley wilderness range, by the acclaimed naturalist and memoirist.
 
Beginning with his family settling in for the long northwestern Montana winter, and capturing all the subtle harbingers of change that mark each passing month—the initial cruel teasing of spring, the splendor and fecundity of summer, and the bittersweet memories evoked by fall—this is a beautiful evocation of the “fauna, flora and folks” in this rugged and spectacular landscape (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
 
It is full of rich observation about what it takes to live in the valley—toughness, improvisation and, of course, duct tape. The Wild Marsh is also poignant, especially as the author reflects on what it means for his young daughters to grow up surrounded by the strangeness and wonder of nature. He shares with them the Yaak’s little secrets—where the huckleberries are best in a dry year, where to find a grizzly’s claw marks in an old cedar—and discovers that passing on this intimate local knowledge, the knowledge of home, is a kind of rare and valuable love.
 
Bass emerges not just as a writer but as a father, a neighbor, and a gifted observer, uniquely able to bring us close to the drama and sanctity of small things, ensuring that though the wilderness is increasingly at risk, the voice of the wilderness will not disappear.
 
“A work of wonder, praise, and thanksgiving for all the marvels of nature, where every aspect is connected and every process has its place. Bass, grounding his book in science well, takes the facts and transforms them, as a musician transforms musical notes, into a work of great beauty. This walk through a year is a walk through the author’s soul, filled with passions, dreams, fears, and the exuberance of Walt Whitman.” —School Library Journal, starred review
 
“Whether the topic is a forest fire in his front yard or the excitement of the first tiny cheerful glacier lilies in spring, Rick Bass is a stirring companion on the trail that leads west from the Walden Pond of Henry David Thoreau and the Sand County of Aldo Leopold.” —Ivan Doig, author of The Whistling Season
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Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
09/01/2010
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780547525402
ASIN:
B004H1UF0S
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APA Citation (style guide)

Rick Bass. (2010). The Wild Marsh: Four Seasons at Home in Montana. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Rick Bass. 2010. The Wild Marsh: Four Seasons At Home in Montana. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Rick Bass, The Wild Marsh: Four Seasons At Home in Montana. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Rick Bass. The Wild Marsh: Four Seasons At Home in Montana. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: Rick Bass's fiction has received O. Henry Awards, numerous Pushcart Prizes, awards from the Texas Institute of Letters, fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, and his memoir, Why I Came West, was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award.
      • name: Rick Bass
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The Wild Marsh
fullDescription
An account of one year in the Yaak Valley wilderness range, by the acclaimed naturalist and memoirist.
 
Beginning with his family settling in for the long northwestern Montana winter, and capturing all the subtle harbingers of change that mark each passing month—the initial cruel teasing of spring, the splendor and fecundity of summer, and the bittersweet memories evoked by fall—this is a beautiful evocation of the “fauna, flora and folks” in this rugged and spectacular landscape (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
 
It is full of rich observation about what it takes to live in the valley—toughness, improvisation and, of course, duct tape. The Wild Marsh is also poignant, especially as the author reflects on what it means for his young daughters to grow up surrounded by the strangeness and wonder of nature. He shares with them the Yaak’s little secrets—where the huckleberries are best in a dry year, where to find a grizzly’s claw marks in an old cedar—and discovers that passing on this intimate local knowledge, the knowledge of home, is a kind of rare and valuable love.
 
Bass emerges not just as a writer but as a father, a neighbor, and a gifted observer, uniquely able to bring us close to the drama and sanctity of small things, ensuring that though the wilderness is increasingly at risk, the voice of the wilderness will not disappear.
 
“A work of wonder, praise, and thanksgiving for all the marvels of nature, where every aspect is connected and every process has its place. Bass, grounding his book in science well, takes the facts and transforms them, as a musician transforms musical notes, into a work of great beauty. This walk through a year is a walk through the author’s soul, filled with passions, dreams, fears, and the exuberance of Walt Whitman.” —School Library Journal, starred review
 
“Whether the topic is a forest fire in his front yard or the excitement of the first tiny cheerful glacier lilies in spring, Rick Bass is a stirring companion on the trail that leads west from the Walden Pond of Henry David Thoreau and the Sand County of Aldo Leopold.” —Ivan Doig, author of The Whistling Season
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from April 6, 2009
        Novelist and naturalist Bass (The Lives of Rocks
        ) gets up close and personal with local fauna, flora and folks in this account of the passing seasons in northwestern Montana’s Yaak Valley wilderness range, where he and his family—four of the estimated 150 inhabitants of the half-a-million-acre region—have dwelled for 13 years. January is the dark month; March heralds the mud season; May brings hard rains and the first aspen buds. July and August are when fire, “a forest’s breath,” both renews the landscape and threatens homes. Come October, “a heroic fatigue” sets in after spring’s heady growth and summer’s steady pace, and spirits surge on a brittle, sunny day in December. Bass complements naturalistic observations with anecdotes about his neighbors, like the accommodating old-timers who winch his truck out of a ravine. Throughout, the author anchors his celebration of nature’s elegant order with his rhapsodic relationship to the wild marsh outside his writing cabin, and the uncompromising wilderness it represents. Bass has mined his valley for several other books, but there is no shortage of nature’s grace for him to exalt.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        May 1, 2009
        A fan's notes on wilderness, log-cabin life, grizzly bears and other aspects of the American outback.

        Bass (Why I Came West, 2008, etc.) returns to the form of his early book Winter (1991), recording a year in the Yaak Valley of northwestern Montana, an uncommonly lush and marshy tract of forest that, at 1,800 feet, is the state's lowest elevation. This does not keep the Yaak from posing challenges aplenty in winter, in the thick of which the book opens. Bass strikes a Thoreauvian note at the outset, contrasting his contemplative life in the woods with other possibilities:"I'm not talking about out-and-out government-loathing misanthropy, not the survivalist's manifesto kind of hunkering down, but something more peaceable and searching." Considering that the Unabomber's cabin and Ruby Ridge are both located not so far away, the apology isn't misplaced, but it soon becomes apparent that there's no misanthropy here, even if the events related aren't entirely peaceable. (Nature is, after all, red in tooth and claw.) Bass takes a philosophical view of wilderness and the need to protect it, ascribing to the world a desire for order that admits human participation. In all this he is more conversational and less clenched of jaw than in previous essays. As the year progresses, the author takes the reader from days of endless gray sky, sideways-falling snow—indeed, at one point he recounts ten days without a break in snowfall—and winter blues ("like the effects of too many concussions"), to a superheated summer in which wildfire threatens to destroy his family's home. In the end, the importance of family is what emerges most strongly, with Bass pondering whether his daughters' lives will be made the better for their having grown up so far away from shopping malls, television and the other amenities of postmodern life.

        A welcome installment in Bass's ongoing place-centered autobiography.

        (COPYRIGHT (2009) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from April 1, 2009
        Critically acclaimed writer Bass ("The Book of Yaak") writes again about his beloved Yaak Valley, only this time with a sense of celebration as he ushers in the new millennium with a month-by-month record of observations, events, and thoughts from this remote, wild section of northwest Montana. He writes of each month's distinctive charactersilent January, lusty May, and April, as we northern readers can attest to, the month of dashed hopes when sudden snowstorms hold spring at bay. Bass, whose life seems shaped by the Wendell Berry poem "The Peace of Wild Things," presents a work of wonder, praise, and thanksgiving for all the marvels of nature, where every aspect is connected and every process has its place. Bass, grounding his book in science well, takes the facts and transforms them, as a musician transforms musical notes, into a work of great beauty. This walk through a year is a walk through the author's soul, filled with passions, dreams, fears, and the exuberance of Walt Whitman. Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries. [See Prepub Alert, "LJ" 3/15/09.]Maureen J. Delaney-Lehman, Lake Superior State Univ. Lib., Sault Ste. Marie, MI

        Copyright 2009 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from May 1, 2009
        Bass lives on an old homesteaders quarter section in the Yaak Valley of northwestern Montana. He unearthed the original 1903 log cabin and reconstructed it right on the edge of the broad marsh on the property, with the forest all around and cloaking the cabin. He there stares out the window at the fecundity of the marshand writes. A passionate advocate for the wilderness in his writings for magazines such as Audubon and Field and Stream and his books (The New Wolves, 1998) herewrites in celebration of the ecosystem and inhabitants of the Yaak Valley. Dividing the narrative into 12 parts, one for each month, Bass takes us through a year in the valley. January starts with a millennial New Years Eve party with friends and the beginning of a ten-day blizzard. March brings a snowshoe hare still in his white winter coat, believing himself still invisible as he sits on the newly bare earth. In July the author often ignores his work and watches the grass grow, listening to it sprout while the marsh basin grows warmer and brighter. October finds Bass hunting (elk, deer, grouse) and gathering (firewood, berries, mushrooms) in rhythm with the animals around him as all prepare for winter. A wonderfully poetic, evocative homage to a wilderness most of us will never see.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2009, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription
An account of one year in the Yaak Valley wilderness range, by the acclaimed naturalist and memoirist.
 
Beginning with his family settling in for the long northwestern Montana winter, and capturing all the subtle harbingers of change that mark each passing month—the initial cruel teasing of spring, the splendor and fecundity of summer, and the bittersweet memories evoked by fall—this is a beautiful evocation of the “fauna, flora and folks” in this rugged and spectacular landscape (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
 
It is full of rich observation about what it takes to live in the valley—toughness, improvisation and, of course, duct tape. The Wild Marsh is also poignant, especially as the author reflects on what it means for his young daughters to grow up surrounded by the strangeness and wonder of nature. He shares with them the Yaak’s little secrets—where the huckleberries are...
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Four Seasons at Home in Montana
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