The Colors of Nature

Culture, Identity and the Natural World
“An unprecedented and invaluable collection.” —BOOKLIST
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From African American to Asian American, indigenous to immigrant, “multiracial” to “mixedblood,” the diversity of cultures in today’s world is reflected in our richly various stories—stories of creation and destruction, displacement and heartbreak, hope and mystery. For centuries, this richness has been widely overlooked by readers of environmental literature.

Featuring work from more than thirty contributors of widely diverse backgrounds—including Jamaica Kincaid on the fallacies of national myths; Robin Wall Kimmerer on the language of the natural world; Yusef Komunyakaa connecting the toxic legacy of his Louisiana hometown to a blind faith in capitalism; and bell hooks relating the quashing of multiculturalism to the destruction of “unpredictable” nature—The Colors of Nature works against the grain of this traditional blind spot by exploring the relationship between culture and place, emphasizing the lasting value of cultural heritage, and revealing how this wealth of perspectives is essential to building a livable future.

Bracing, provocative, and profoundly illuminating, The Colors of Nature provides an antidote to the despair so often accompanying the intersection of cultural diversity and ecological awareness.

Publish Date
5.94 × 9 × 0.81 in
18.3 oz

Alison Hawthorne Deming

Alison Hawthorne Deming is the author of numerous works of nonfiction and poetry, most recently Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit and the collections of poems Stairway to Heaven and Death Valley: Painted Light. She is currently the Agnese Nelms Haury Chair of Environment and Social Justice and Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Arizona.


Lauret Savoy

A teacher, earth scientist, writer, photographer, and pilot, Lauret Savoy is author of Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape (Counterpoint Press), a finalist for the 2016 PEN American Open Book Award and Phillis Wheatley Book Award, and the co-editor of several anthologies. She is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and professor of environmental studies and geology at Mount Holyoke College.

Praise and Prizes

  • “Some writers have to fight to be seen on the landscape at all. Enter The Colors of Nature, an anthology of nature writing by people of color, providing deeply personal connections to—or disconnects from—nature.”

  • “This notable anthology assembles thinkers and writers with firsthand experience or insight on how economic and racial inequities affect a person’s understanding of nature. The variety of styles and perspectives underscores the raison d’être for this book, an illuminating read for anyone interested in the future of American nature and environmental journalism.”

    Bloomsbury Review
  • The Colors of Nature marks a welcome shift toward a much more substantive and enriching interdisciplinary range of voices than in any environmental writing anthology to date. Alison Hawthorne Deming and Lauret E. Savoy have shifted the boundaries of nature writing, ecocriticism, and environmental justice literature beyond tokenism toward a more inclusive, holistic, and expansive perspective.”

  • “Sophisticated … Each piece clearly plays its intricate part in creating a dynamic argument for the reevaluation of traditional definitions of what was ‘nature writing’ toward what ‘nature writing’ should also be.”
  • “An unprecedented and invaluable collection of forthright and bracing essays … A salient contribution to the increasingly important nature-writing canon.”