Paper pub. date
May 2010
ISBN 9780870715822 (paperback)
6 x 9 inches, 160 pages.

A River Without Banks

Place and Belonging in the Inland Northwest

William Johnson

A River Without Banks chronicles one family’s journey to Idaho, with all of its uncertainties, promises, and hopes. The book explores their encounters with a place still partly wild, whose communities and landscapes teach them how to respect the earth and each other.

William Johnson’s essays move from a family vacation spent observing moose, to a comparison of the creation myths from Genesis and the Nez Perce, to watching a raptor seeking prey. Johnson meditates on how places, animals, and people teach us “how to see, and how we do, and don’t, belong.”

In prose that reveals a poet’s eye, Johnson examines how family relationships affect how we see the natural world. He explores the power of words to divide and to heal. He illuminates the challenges of sustaining a vital relationship with a home place.

A River Without Banks will appeal to readers interested in the literature of place, ecology, natural history, indigenous culture, and conservation.

About the author

William Johnson is the author of three volumes of poetry—Dogwood, Out of the Ruins, which received the Idaho Book of the Year Award, and At the Wilderness Boundary. His poems are widely published in journals, among them Poetry, Mother Earth News, Poetry Northwest, and Texas Review. His long interest in Thoreau resulted in a critical study, "What Thoreau Said: ‘Walden’ and the Unsavable.” He is Professor Emeritus at Lewis-Clark State College and lives in Lewiston, Idaho.

Read more about this author

Sign Up for Our Newsletter