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Catalog Archive / Fall 2021

The Green Hour
A Natural History of Home

“Truly a love song to wild, shining places. It is a lonely, lovely memoir of a life shaped by a mother’s early death, a story from the time when the Earth still had the strength to save her children.”
—Kathleen Dean Moore, author of Earth’s Wild Children

When Alison Townsend purchased her first house, in south-central Wisconsin, she put down roots where she never imagined settling. To understand how she came to live in the Midwest, she takes a journey through personal landscapes, considering the impact of geography at pivotal moments in her life, vividly illuminating the role of mourning, homesickness, and relocations.

With sparkling, lyrical prose, The Green Hour undulates effortlessly through time like a red-winged blackbird. Inspired by five beloved settings—eastern Pennsylvania, Vermont, California, western Oregon, and the spot atop the Wisconsin hill where she now resides—Townsend considers the role that place plays in shaping the self. She reveals the ways that a fresh perspective or new experience in any environment can incite wonder, build unexpected connections, and provide solace or salvation.

Mesmerizingly attentive to nature—its beauty, its fragility, and its redeeming powers—she asks what it means to live in community with wilderness and to allow our identities to be shaped by our interactions with it: our story as its story.


Alison Townsend. Alison Townsend is the award-winning author of two poetry collections, The Blue Dress and Persephone in America, and a volume of prose, The Persistence of Rivers. She is a professor emerita of English at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater.




“In essays of breathtaking beauty and emotional honesty, The Green Hour explores the psychic costs of uprooting, and the healing to be found in connecting with the natural world. Townsend is a writer so attuned to the numinous that her lyrical prose seems to shimmer on the page. An unforgettable book.”
—Catherine Jagoe, author of Bloodroot

“I read The Green Hour outside, and every few sentences I looked up to see this familiar place through Townsend’s eyes, every detail now infused with the ‘proper attitude of wonder.’ I suggest you take this book out with you into the world where all things are ‘waiting to be noticed and seen.’”
—Brenda Miller, author of An Earlier Life

“I enjoyed The Green Hour, for its prose and questing narrator, and for its evocation of landscapes and inner geography in these fine essays of loss, love, and healing.”
—Scott Russell Sanders, author of The Way of the Imagination



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Long Way Round
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September 2021
LC: 2021010994 PS
256 pp. 6 x 9

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Jacketed Cloth $28.95
ISBN 9780299334604
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