Wild Spectacle: Seeking Wonders in a World Beyond Humans
Looking for adventure and discovery, Janisse Ray has repeatedly immersed herself in wildness. From overwintering with butterflies in Mexico to counting birds in Belize, her stories capture heart-pounding amazement, romance, and even wisdom along the way. Reflecting on the sights of explorers like Bartram and Sacagawea, Ray documents experiences that are rare in an age of increasingly virtual, urban life. From Alaska to Central America, she questions what it means to travel as a woman, speculates on the impacts of ecotourism, mourns the loss of abundance, and inspires others to help make substantive change. Wild Spectacle explores the wild earth and invites us to question its known and unknown beauties and curiosities.
Published by Trinity University Press, October 2021.
Red Lanterns: Poems
Red Lanterns is a collection of poetry that navigates the seen and the spirit worlds. Some things like beyond the realm of the rational mind, some places that appear empty may not be, and some things remain wild, secret, and intangible. For example, humans possess senses beyond our primary ones, with which we experience the seen and felt world, and these are not simply the sixth sense of intuition but also a sense of time, sense of responsibility, sense of being watched, sense of place, and so on. These poems look at the place where the mysterious joins with the explicable. They are about connections -- human to human, human to land, human to animal, animal to animal, heart to heart. Many of the poems can be called love poems, love being one of our most primal connections. There is also a thread of ferocity that runs through this work. This ferocity is in seeing disconnection and fighting to restore connectivity. More than anything the book is a manifesto to protect all connections that allow us to be creatures of spirit as much as creatures of the body.
Published by Iris Press, April 2021.
Ecology of a Cracker Childhood
From the memories of a childhood marked by extreme poverty, mental illness, and restrictive fundamentalist Christian rules, Janisse Ray crafted a “heartfelt and refreshing” (New York Times) memoir that has inspired thousands to embrace their beginnings, no matter how humble, and to fight for the places they love. This new edition updates and contextualizes the story for a new generation and a wider audience desperately searching for stories of empowerment and hope.
Ray grew up in a junkyard along U.S. Highway 1, hidden from Florida-bound travelers by hulks of old cars. In language at once colloquial, elegiac, and informative, Ray redeems her home and her people, while also cataloging the source of her childhood hope: the Edenic longleaf pine forests, where orchids grow amid wiregrass at the feet of widely spaced, lofty trees. Today, the forests exist in fragments, cherished and threatened, and the South of her youth is gradually being overtaken by golf courses and suburban development. A contemporary classic, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood is a clarion call to protect the cultures and ecologies of every childhood.
Pubished by Milkweed Editions, October 1999.
The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food
At no time in our history have Americans been more obsessed with food. Options -- including those for local, sustainable, and organic food -- seem limitless. And yet, our food supply is profoundly at risk. Farmers and gardeners a century ago had five times the possibilities of what to plant than farmers and gardeners do today; we are losing untold numbers of plant varieties to genetically modified industrial monocultures.
In this work of literary nonfiction, author and activist Janisse Ray argues that if we are to secure the future of food, we first must understand where it all begins: the seed.
The Seed Underground is a journey to the frontier of seed-saving. It is driven by stories, those from people who are waging a lush and quiet revolution in thousands of gardens across America to preserve our traditional cornucopia of food by simply growing old varieties and eating them.
The Seed Underground pays tribute to time-honored and threatened varieties, deconstructs the politics and genetics of seeds, and reveals the astonishing characters who grow, study, and save seeds.
This book is a voyage to the country of seed-saving. It is driven by stories, from people waging a lush and quiet revolution in thousands of gardens across America, a battle to preserve our traditional cornucopia of food.
Published by Chelsea Green Publishing, 2012.
- 2013 American Horticultural Society Book Award
- 2013 ASJA Eisenberg Book Awards
- 2013 Silver Award of Achievement
- 2013 Nautilus Gold Book Award : Green Living Category
- 2013 The Green Prize for Sustainable Literature
- 2013 GWA Gold Award of Achievement for Best Book Writing
A Georgia Food Forest
Paperback. Price includes shipping within US.
Book by Cindy Dill.
A wonderful, comprehensive, illustrated primer of 180 perennial edible plants and a design guide for the Zone 8 home grower written and illustrated by grower & artist Cindy Dill. Zone 8 covers parts of Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana & beyond. This is useful for neighboring zones as well.
Plants are listed in alphabetical order, mostly by common name. Dill wrote this book to promote local, organic, and sustainable food production in the South and to encourage others toward healing our industrialized food system and ecologies. We are helping to distribute this book.
8.5x11 inches, 128 pages. Printed in the U.S. on 10% recycled paper.
In One Place: The Natural History of a Georgia Farmer
Hardcover. Collector's edition. Price includes shipping within US.
Signed by both the late Milton Hopkins & Janisse Ray.
Introduction by Janisse Ray. Years ago Janisse helped a beloved friend--the naturalist and farmer Milton N. Hopkins, Jr.--collect and edit essays that he wrote in the evenings from his farmhouse near Osierfield, Ga. Milton had studied at the University of Georgia with Eugene Odum, known as the father of ecology, and was tremendously fascinated by natural history. Milton's stories of life in rural Georgia beginning in the 1930s, with an emphasis on natural history and culture, are truly a wonder. (Saltmarsh Press, St. Simons Island, GA)
A number of these books have recently become available through Janisse's dad's estate. The books belong to Janisse's mom. Get one while you can, where you can. The price is only going to increase.
Published by Saltmarsh Press, 2001.
Drifting into Darien: A Personal & Natural History of the Altamaha River
The Altamaha rises dark and mysterious in southeast Georgia. It is deep and wide bordered by swamps. Its corridor contains an extraordinary biodiversity, including many rare and endangered species, which led The Nature Conservancy to designate it as one of the world’s last great places.
The Altamaha is Ray’s river, and from childhood she dreamed of paddling its entire length to where it empties into the sea. Drifting into Darien begins with an account of finally making that journey, turning to meditations on the many ways we accept a world that contains both good and evil. With praise, biting satire, and hope, Ray goes looking for wisdom and finds a river.
Though commemorating a history that includes logging, Ray celebrates “a culture that sprang from the flatwoods, which required a judicious use of nature.” She looks in vain for an ivorybill woodpecker and is equally eager to see any of the imperiled species found in the river basin: spiny mussel, American oystercatcher, Radford’s mint, Alabama milkvine.
As in her groundbreaking Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, Ray writes an account that includes both social history and natural history, understanding the two as inseparable, particularly in the rural corner of Georgia that she knows best.
Published by University of Georgia Press.
Wild Card Quilt: Taking a Chance on Home
Hardback. Price includes shipping within US. Signed & dated (with place) by author.
Craving a life built on "land, history, and blood," Janisse Ray returns to South Georgia from Montana and moves into the family's rundown 1920s farmhouse in Appling County. There Ray rediscovers the pleasures of country life -- a Thanksgiving syrup boil, alligator trapping, and neighbors - as well as the dysfunction of rural community. Wild Card Quilt is the story of her return and the adventures that follow as she ponders whether she will stay "and die where seven generations of grandmothers had died" before her or whether she will leave again.
Published by Milkweed Editions.
Pinhook: Finding Wholeness in a Fragmented Land
Paperback. Price includes shipping within US. Signed & dated (with place) by author.
Cover painting by Johnny Dame.
Janisse Ray, award-winning author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood and Wild Card Quilt, writes an evocative love letter to wildness with an extraordinary journey into southern Georgia's Pinhook Swamp.
Pinhook Swamp acts as a vital wildlife corridor, a link between the great southern wildernesses of Okefenokee Swamp and Osceola National Forest. Together these form one of the largest expanses of protected wild land east of the Mississippi River, the O2O Corridor. This is one of America's last truly wild places.
Ray comes to know Pinhook intimately as she joins the fight to preserve land and expand the corridor, spending a night in the swamp, tasting honey made from its flowers, tracking wildlife, and talking to others about their relationship with it. Ray sees Pinhook through the eyes of the people who live there -- naturalists, beekeepers, homesteaders, hunters, and locals at the country store.
In lyrical, braided prose, she draws together the swamp's need for restoration and the human desire for wholeness in our own lives. Herein is a great philosophy to live by.
Published by Chelsea Green Publishing.