.. John Tallmadge | Exploring Nature, Culture, and the Human Journey
The creator loves pizzaz. - Annie Dillard


The Cincinnati Arch:
Learning from Nature in the City

A wilderness lover relocates to the Rust Belt and learns from his children and his neighborhood how to value urban nature as a scene of delight and instruction.

From the publisher:

The "arch" of the book's title is richly resonant: as the name of a geologic formation molding the urban landscape Tallmadge comes to love; as an archetypal building form; and, in its parabolic shape, as a metaphor for life's journey. Filled with luminous lessons of mindfulness, attentiveness, and other spiritual practices, this is a hopeful guide for finding nature and balance in unlikely places.

From the reviews:

“This lustrous, continually deepening book, clearly the work of many years of observation and deep thought, is an insightful paean that reminds us that while it is thrilling to vacation in the wilderness, it is far more important to treasure everyday nature as manifest within ourselves and at our doorstep.” –Donna Seaman, Booklist





The Cincinnati Arch . 2004
University of Georgia Press


From other nature writers:

“The Cincinnati Arch will be looked at as a literary landmark “ –John Elder, editor of American Nature Writing and coeditor, The Norton Book of Nature Writing

“A book certain to become a classic at birth... A writer of scintillating image and rock-solid intellect” –Robert Michael Pyle, author of The Thunder Tree and Chasing Monarchs

“Evocative and beautifully written.” –Ann Zwinger, author of Wind in the Rock and Downcanyon

“A book the world needs.” –Scott Russell Sanders, author of Hunting for Hope and The Force of Spirit

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Meeting the Tree of Life:
A Teacher's Path

Drawn by the great nature writers, a young teacher finds adventure, inspiration, and healing in the great wilderness landscapes of North America.

From the publisher:

Tallmadge turns first to the mountains, whose clean, enduring rock and sublime geometry promise a godlike view of the world, and then to the deserts, whose austerity and remoteness offer the strength to live without institutions. When his path forces him out of the West, Tallmadge discovers in Minnesota’s canoe country a “spirituality of water” that embodies goalless travel and living by faith. Finally, the cone of the humble jack pine, which needs fire to release its seeds, shows him what true teaching and personal survival really mean.

From the reviews:

“Tallmadge’s accomplished collection of personal essays carefully negotiates the convoluted, exhilarating, often dangerous terrain where the paths of our personal and professional lives intersect.”–Michael Branch, Western American Literature

“For all of us who strive to do ethical and meaningful work without losing track of ourselves as human animals inhabiting a still-rich natural world, this book is an inspiration.”–Nancy Cook, ISLE




Meeting the Tree of Life: A Teacher's Path . 1997
University of Utah Press


From other nature writers and scholars:

“Rich, original, redolent of pine and stream and duff, this is a thinking man’s journey through the richest of physical and intellectual landscapes.”–Sy Montgomery, author of The Curious Naturalist and Journey of the Pink Dolphins

“Line by line, the prose is polished, engaging, supple, and steadily personal, whether Tallmadge is reporting his experience or reflecting on ideas. ...I enjoyed Meeting the Tree of Life, learned from it, and admired the intelligence and skill displayed in the making of it.”–Scott Russell Sanders, author of Hunting for Hope and Secrets of the Universe

“Above all, Meeting the Tree of Life is a superb read ...There are passages of extraordinary beauty throughout this book, among he best nature writing I have ever read.”–Mitchell Thomashow, author of Ecological Identity

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Reading Under the Sign of Nature:
New Essays in Ecocriticism

Edited, with Henry Harrington

From the publisher:

“Reading Under the Sign of Nature is a groundbreaking collection of ecocritical essays that reveals the exciting possibilities for this form of inquiry. Included in this long-awaited volume are critiques of contemporary and traditional prose and poetry representing the diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural perspectives of familiar writers from the American literary and nature-writing canons, and of lesser-known authors from Native American, African American, Occidental, and Far Eastern traditions.”

From other ecocritics:

“This important collection expands the dimensions of ecocriticism. A wonderful introduction to ecocritical practice that will appeal to literary scholars and critics in general.”–Scott Slovic, University of Nevada-Reno and editor of ISLE

“Any reader of this collection–scholar, student, or lay person–will gain a appreciation for and understanding of ecocriticism.”–Ian Marshall, Penn State University, author of Story Line: Exploring the Literature of the Appalachian Trail





Reading Under the Sign of Nature:  New Essays in Ecocriticism . 2000
University of Utah Press