Cover image for Brown dog of the Yaak : essays on art and activism
Brown dog of the Yaak : essays on art and activism
Bass, Rick, 1958-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Minneapolis, MN : Milkweed Editions, 1999.
Physical Description:
170 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3552.A8213 Z468 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Rick Bass's dog Colter is the brown dog of the Yaak who charges through the mountain valleys following the scent of game. Bass gives a history of his years with Colter as a way of understanding what is intuitive in his quest to create art.

Author Notes

Rick Bass is the author of sixteen acclaimed books of fiction & nonfiction, including "Where the Sea Used to Be" & "The Sky, the Stars, the Wilderness".

(Bowker Author Biography) Rick Bass has authored works of fiction & nonfiction, including "Colter", "The Ninemile Wolves", "Oil Notes", & "The Watch". He lives in Yaak, Montana.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In four essays, Bass (The Sky, The Stars, The Wilderness, etc.) ponders the relationship between literature and activism, organically fusing nature writing, environmentalism and the quest for meaning, leaping from the particular to the universal, from individual worries to planetary concerns, with breathtaking ease. As Bass discusses the difficulty of juggling the roles of writer and conservationist, his central theme emerges: art, which makes order out of chaos, and activism, which transforms the physical world, complement each other. The unifying thread in these reflections, oddly, is Colter, Bass's brown, German shorthaired pointer, a dog that helped him hunt grouse and pheasants in Montana's north woods. Bass draws some strained parallels between the dog's dexterity and the artist's forays into reality and imagination, yet anyone who has ever mourned the loss of a pet (and especially readers who have actually worked with dogs, as hunters do) will find solace in his soaring tribute to man's best friend. The collection's other major motif is the importance of preserving the Yaak, a wild valley between the Pacific Northwest and the northern Rockies where a handful of caribou, grizzly bears, bald eagles and other endangered species still survive. Bass believes that the area's logging industry should give way to sustainable forestry, and he calls for federal protection of his home's roadless wildlands. These eloquent essays renew the spirit and reawaken the senses. (May) FYI: Brown Dog of the Yaak launches Milkweed's new Credo series, which will address the concerns of contemporary nature writers. Scott Slovic is the series editor. Forthcoming books in the series will come from Patiann Rogers, Scott Russell Sanders and William Kittredge. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

These two slim volumes, which inaugurate Milkweed's new "Credo" series, express the importance of place. Each contains the author's statement of belief, a short biography by series editor Scott Slovic, and a bibliography of the author's published work. Bass (The New Wolves, The Book of the Yaak) had a pointer named Colter, an extraordinary dog, and Bass succeeds in translating his physical passion into words. Colter's singleness of purpose, though, is something Bass can only envy as he finds in himself the need not only to write about the natural world but also to become an activist in its defense, particularly of his beloved Yaak Valley in Montana. Reading about Colter and the Yaak is more fun than reading about activism, but Bass confronts the issues seriously and provides much food for thought. Award-winning poet Rogers (Eating Bread and Honey) takes a different tack, explicating the processes by which she creates her poems. A trained zoologist, she brings a scientist's eye to her poetry, often with startlingly beautiful results. As she creates a poem, she says, the poem also creates her. Rogers's prose flows into and out of the poems, making the book a gentle primer not only on reading her poetry but on reading poetry in general. Recommended for academic and public libraries with writing and/or nature collections. The next two books in the series (by William Kittredge and Scott Russell Sanders) will be out in the fall.√ĄMary Paumier Jones, Westminster P.L, CO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.