Going back to Bisbee

by Shelton, Richard, 1933-

Format: Print Book 1992
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction F815 .S54 1992
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  F815 .S54 1992
One of America's most distinguished poets now shares his fascination with a distinctive corner of our country. Richard Shelton first came to southeastern Arizona in the 1950s as a soldier stationed at Fort Huachuca. He soon fell in love with the region and upon his discharge found a job as a schoolteacher in nearby Bisbee. Now a university professor and respected poet living in Tucson, still in love with the Southwestern deserts, Shelton sets off for Bisbee on a not-uncommon day trip. Along the way, he reflects on the history of the area, on the beauty of the landscape, and on his own life. Couched within the narrative of his journey are passages revealing Shelton's deep familiarity with the region's natural and human history. Whether conveying the mystique of tarantulas or describing the mountain-studded topography, he brings a poet's eye to this seemingly desolate country. His observations on human habitation touch on Tombstone, "the town too tough to die," on ghost towns that perhaps weren't as tough, and on Bisbee itself, a once prosperous mining town now an outpost for the arts and a destination for tourists. What he finds there is both a broad view of his past and a glimpse of that city's possible future. Going Back to Bisbee explores a part of America with which many readers may not be familiar. A rich store of information embedded in splendid prose, it shows that there are more than miles on the road to Bisbee.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Poet Shelton's first nonfiction book has won the 1992 Western States Book Award and will go on to win the hearts of readers everywhere, particularly those who share his love of the desert and fascination with life's myriad incongruities. Shelton ended up in southern Arizona when he was drafted and stationed at Fort Huachuca in the late 1950s. When he finished his stint, he took a teaching job in Bisbee, a hilly little mining town. Shelton's Bisbee years were germinal ones and, as the years passed, the town became a symbol of his youth and inspiration, a place worthy of a pilgrimage. Shelton's personal quest evolved into a universal tale incorporating elements of an on-the-road narrative, a selective memoir, and an engrossing anecdotal meandering through the history of southeastern Arizona's plants, animals, and people. As he drives his old blue van across the Sonora desert, Shelton regales his rapt readers with hilarious stories of encounters with diabolical desert plants and proud desert creatures and the often rabid activities of Mexicans and Anglos. He's a magician, hypnotizing his audience one moment with a tribute to coyotes, then waking them to a discussion of the Apache wars. Now he conjures a drifting veil of "walking rain," now the glory of an agave in bloom, and now the ruins of copper and silver mines. Shelton possesses great generosity of soul, a gift for observation, and a golden sense of humor. (Reviewed July 1992)0816513023Donna Seaman"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Poet Shelton has created a powerful annal of place--a paean to the Sonoran desert south of Tucson, a landscape as prickly as the cacti that grow in it and yet as refreshing as a rainy-season rainstorm. Shelton imbues landscapes, flora and fauna with resonance, imprinting themes of memory, history and human nature in the reader's mind. The opening description of a Sonoran monsoon is a masterful evocation of weather, vibrant and violent. Shelton's ( The Tattooed Desert ) tour of the desert includes descriptions of a six-foot snake that rescued him from the local squirrels who were infiltrating his house; his disastrous attempt to harvest a yucca as a native Christmas tree; an attack by raging bulls on the Mormon battalion in the U.S.-Mexican war; his abrupt discovery of an adobe ghost town; and the sociology of an old mining village. Shelton knows the lore and the life of Southern Arizona, and his diction, both precise and evocative, reflects his poetic skills. Indeed, the only fault here could easily have been repaired: the end of the book tends to repeat observations made earlier. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Shelton, Richard, -- 1933- -- Travel -- Arizona.
Natural history -- Arizona.
Desert ecology -- Arizona.
Arizona -- Description and travel.
Arizona -- History, Local.
Bisbee (Ariz.)
Publisher Tucson :University of Arizona Press,1992
Language English
Description viii, 329 pages : map ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 323-328).
ISBN 0816513023 (cloth : acid-free, archival-quality paper)
0816512892 (pbk. : acid-free, archival-quality paper)
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