Thursday, December 2, 2010

Le Guin and the Poetry of Oregon's High Desert

I am one of these writers who actually likes writing.
~ Ursula K. Le Guin

Affectionately called the "Queen Mother of Science Fiction"*, Ursula K. Le Guin (b. October 21, 1929) writes science fiction and fantasy (her well-known Earthsea series is six volumes), essays, criticism, children's books (Catwings and Catwings Return, A Ride on the Red Mare's Back), translations, and poetry. She's published more than four dozen books and is the recipient of a long and varied list of literary honors, including a Library of Congress "Living Legends" award and a National Book Award. Age — she's 81 — isn't an excuse she uses to stop doing what she wants; she still writes, recently contributing to an anthology, Breaking Waves, for Gulf Coast relief; still gives public readings, and speaks, as in the video below, of how much she still enjoys collaborating with artists of all kinds (excluding other writers).

. . . [I]t's as here as a place can be: a landscape that is 
immensely and intensely vivid, present. But still, it's out here.
 Distance is inherent in its presence.**

In this Oregon Art Beat video, Le Guin discusses her collaboration with photographer Roger Dorband on Out Here: Poems and Images From Steens Mountain Country, reflects on her life as a writer who is a woman, and reads some of her work. Enjoy!


Ursula Le Guin Website

Articles of Note:

* Jeff Baker, "Northwest Writers at Work: Ursula K. Le Guin Is 80 and Taking on Google", Oregonian/OregonLive, February 27, 2010 (This is an excellent profile. Included is a video of her interview.)

Jeff Baker, "Margaret Atwood, Ursula K. Le Guin Bring Off-the-Wall Humor to Portland Arts & Lectures", Oregonian/OregonLive, September 24, 2010 

** Jeff Baker, "Nonfiction Review: Out Here by Roger Dorband and Ursula K. Le Guin", Oregonian/OregonLive, October 16, 2010

Renee Struthers-Hogge, "'Out Here' Combines Stunning Photographs, Stirring Poetry", East Oregonian, October 17, 2010

Autographed copies of Out Here may be ordered here through Raven Studios, Roger Dorband's site and the book's publisher. Dorband also collaborated with Le Guin on Blue Moon Over Thurman Street (New Sage Press, 1993).


Louise Gallagher said...

The cows are all Buddhists -- love it!

And the scenery is exquisite. No wonder she wanted to write a book about it!

thanks once again for sharing such wonder.

Kathleen Overby said...

iLoved the picture of both of them in the old rusted out pick up truck. The handwritten poems, also. :) What a vibrant older woman.

Cassandra Frear said...

Loved the quote at the top. Wanted to shout AMEN.

I'm tweeting this tomorrow as part of my beauty project on Twitter!

S. Etole said...

What a perfectly, delightful woman ... and "Out Here" is going on my Christmas list.

Monica Sharman said...

First, congrats on your Red Lion Sq. poem, Maureen!

I have Le Guin's Steering the Craft but have never read any of her fiction! Off to the library...

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing our story about Ursula Le Guin with your followers. The video as embedded on your site cuts off the right side of the picture (it is in the modern 16x9 format not the old 4x3 ratio). If you can fix that, you would improve the viewing experience for your followers. The story can also be seen on our website. Thanks, Jeff Douglas, Oregon Art Beat

Maureen said...

I'm sorry about the cut-off problem, Jeff. I copied the embed code from your site and originally in preview it was ok. I've tried fixing it in Blogger without success. I did go back and hyperlink "Oregon Art Beat video" so that anyone can click over now to your site to see the video there and see all the words to the poetry. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

Jenne' R. Andrews said...

Hi M-- as ever, a detailed, in-depth and amazing feature-- hope all's well! xxxj

A. Jay Adler said...

"Distance is inherent in its presence."

What a great line. Anyone who has spent time in the great expanses of the West can understand it - more, feel it.

Anonymous said...

i would like to spend that week with her on the ranch.

Anonymous said...

This lady is cool. What a great example of aging - we certainly don't need to slow down or stop our creative lives as we grow older! Very inspiring.

Great video.