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40th Anniversary Edition: The Desert Smells Like Rain

A little resurrected book showed up at our place in Patta-Butta, AridZona this week, with a new cover by O’odham artist Michael Chiago, who is also the co-author of wonderful new book with my teacher Amadeo Rea.  

There is only one word I can say about the new 40th anniversary edition that University of Arizona Press kindly released this month: GRATITUDE.

Gratitude to dozens of individuals and families in O’odham villages who let a wayfaring Lebanese American waif join them at the tables, altars, fields and olas ki’s over nearly 50 years: the Ahills, Ascencios, Blaines, Cassas, Chanas, Eilers, Flores, Garcias, Giffs, Joses, Kermans, Lewises, Lopezes, Manuals, Noriegos, Pablos, and Zepedas, to name a few.

To Cynthia Anson, Amadeo Rea, Wendell Berry, Martha Burgess, Hank Dobyns, Bunny Fontana, Big Jim and Lom Griffith, Julian Hayden, Kit Schweitzer Eric Mellink, Dan Matson, Richard Purcell, Tom Sheridan and Chris Szuter who mentored and accompanied me on my first journeys into Papagueria.

To those who first read it and edited it, Karen Reichardt and Wendell Berry, then Jack Shoemaker, Lawrence Clark Powell, Victoria Shoemaker and Larry Evers.

Somehow the book first landed at North Point Press at a moment when many of my dearest future friends were gathering around Jack building some strange far-reaching community:  Gary Snyder and Wes Jackson; Dominique Gioia Scaggs and Barbara Ras, W.S. Merwin and Mary Simeti, etc.

I am just as delighted to still be working with the crew at University of Arizona Press on this and other recent desert books: Kristen Buckles, Abby Mogollon, Amanda Krause, Leigh McDonald, Mari Herreras, Allyson Carter and Kathryn Conrad, and all my past editors and designers there. Oh, and to gracias to Planet Desert herself, our Braised New World!

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