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Pleasing Tree

Pleasing Tree by Brooke Larson 1733971912 9781733971911
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ISBN: 1733971912

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Nominated for the 2020 CLMP Firecracker Award for Creative Nonfiction and the 2020 Association for Mormon Letters Award for Creative Nonfiction!

Brooke Larsons essay collection Pleasing Tree explores the human relationship with the wilderness. Beginning with a Mormon-founded experiment in primitive survival, teenagers hike the Arizona desert while Larson shines light on the effects of prolonged exposure to the outdoors, to lands considered inhospitable to life. Recalling Biblical and religious sojourns, Larson maps her own travels from the desert to Salt Lake City to New York City to Jerusalem, observing the life that curls in a leaf, the bug that spews cinnamon-flavored goo, and the water that occasionally floods the desert. Her essays track the impact the often unnoticed has on the human psyche, discovering the awe upon the recognition that even the deserts heart beats. This collection crawls with insects, communicative plants, and poetry. It pulses with blood and breath, excrement and the bodies of the living.

"Pleasing Tree is a natural history of Larsons vagrancies: guiding YoungWalkers in the Sonoran wilderness, drinking an Amazonian psychotropic herb on Rockaway Beach, falling in love with a dewdrop above Salt Lake City, pissing in the canyons between the buildings in Manhattan, or walking with an Armenian-Palestinian in Jerusalems Christian Quarter. While there are stories here, Larson never allows them to unfold in a straight line. Instead they ramble like her footprints-a crooked braid. Experience as viewed through lattices, the branches of a tree or the reticulations of the cultures shes adopted. Her language tumbles like a creek, dances like a flute player. Words conjoin and re-conjoin, kinky: facial beehive, piss alchemy, pan-species foreplay, sopping bloodknot, twilit bullshit. This frolic across landscapes, cityscapes, and inscapes is purposeful play, exploring desert blandness and urban loneliness, seasonal affective disorder and communion with plants, the plight of Palestinians and of lovers, the science of stomach bacteria and the mysticism of light and water. As she writes, The world is obscene with meaning." John Bennion, author of Falling toward Heaven and An Unarmed Woman

"Pleasing Tree is a wakeful series of interdisciplinary excavations into how the human being, when out of options, begins to heal. Into the narrative of a troubled teen trekking into the desert with the ANASAZI wilderness program and then returning, as an adult, to work as a guide herself, Brooke Larson weaves meditations on Native American and Mormon spirituality, the benefits of blandness, the fullness of desert emptiness, the bodily experience of spiritual hunger, and the dangers of over-pathologizing ourselves and each other. With sources spanning biblical myth and botany, Emily Dickinson and John Cage, these essays speak up in favor of the wonderful weirdness inherent in the natural world and in the human being. Larsons prose is large-hearted and trippy, self-aware and funny, expansive and raw. And, ultimately, driven by hope." Jessie van Eerden, author of My Radio Radio and The Long Weeping

"Brooke Larsons Pleasing Tree is a unique hybrid, braiding the personal and the informational, the lyric and the technical, into a series of histories about Mormons and seasonal affective disorder and the desert and the city, but maybe even more importantly, about people, vulnerable, lost, searching in every quadrant of the world for a place to belong." Dustin Parsons, author of Exploded View: Essays of Fatherhood with Diagrams

Author: Brooke Larson

Language: English

Binding: Paperback

Pages: 158

Publisher: Arc Pair Press

Publication Date: 2019-04-17

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