Book Review: Writing Wild by Kathryn Aalto
If you feel the need to escape to the woods or a wide open field, to sink your toes into sand or hike up a mountain, this book will give you plenty of reading material to soothe your soul.
Writing Wild: Women Poets, Ramblers, and Mavericks Who Shape How We See the Natural World gives a glimpse of 25 women who write about nature. Kathryn Aalto covers a range in terms of culture and writing genre from the poetry of Dorothy Wordsworth to the activism of Rachel Carson to the poetry and activism of Camille T. Dungy. Aalto talks about European women, American women, African-American women, and Indigenous women to show nature writing from different perspectives.
Each section of the book is fairly short, but Aalto packs in enough information and examples to leave the reader wanting more. I enjoyed the illustrations of each author at the beginning of each section, and I liked how Aalto incorporates excerpts of their work so their writing can stand for itself.
Aalto has clearly done her research for Writing Wild; she speaks of each author's backstory, and she travelled to many of the places the authors wrote about. I enjoyed seeing her perspective of landscapes combined with what each nature writer said. My favourite part of the book is how Aalto shows that nature writing applies to so much of life: environmentalism, spirituality, mental health, gender, sexuality, etc.
The one thing I wish the book had more of is BIPOC writers. Although there is some diversity in Aalto's choice of nature writers, there could be more; Writing Wild is missing Asian and Latinx perspectives, which I think would be fantastic additions. I do appreciate, though, how almost every chapter ends in a list of other women nature writers for further reading, and there's an extensive list of sources at the end of the book.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Publication Date: June 23, 2020
Thank you NetGalley and Timber Press for the ARC!