A wide-ranging consideration of water’s plenitude and paucity—and of our relationship to its many forms
Water is quotidian, ubiquitous, precious, and precarious. With their roots in this element, the authors of Water’s Edge reflect on our natural environment: its forms, textures, and stewardship. Born from a colloquium organized by the editors at the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, the anthology features a diverse group of writers and artists from half a dozen countries, from different fields of scholarship and practice: artists, biologists, geologists, poets, ecocritics, actors, and anthropologists. The contributors explore and celebrate water while reflecting on its disturbances and pollution, and their texts and art play with the boundaries by which we differentiate literary forms.
In the creative nonfiction, poetry, and visual art collected here, water moves from backdrop to subject. Ashley Dawson examines the effects of industrial farming on the health of local ecosystems and economies. Painter Kulvinder Kaur Dhew captures water’s brilliance and multifaceted reflections through a series of charcoal pieces that interlace the collection. Poet Arthur Sze describes the responsibility involved in the careful management of irrigation ditches in New Mexico. Rather than concentrating their thoughts into a singular, overwhelming argument, the authors circulate moments of apprehension, intimation, and felt experience. They are like tributaries, each carrying, in a distinctive style, exigent and often intimate reports concerning a substance upon which all living organisms depend.