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Hardcover | $42.50 Short | £29.95 | ISBN: 9780262182119 | 300 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 23 illus.| May 2001
Paperback | $17.95 Trade | £12.95 | ISBN: 9780262681360 | 300 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 23 illus.| February 2002

Writing on Water


Water links all aspects of our existence. From the politics of watersheds to the romance of turtles climbing up from the sea to the beaches, from Leonardo da Vinci to Octavio Paz, from death at a hot spring to the practicalities of liquidation, the writings in this collection reflect on many aspects of the human encounter with water.

The book contains some science, a few plans for managing and protecting water, and plenty of stories, poems, essays, and artwork. The writers include Bob Braine Robert Grudin, Wilson Harris, George Keithley, David Morse, Octavio Paz, physicist Sidney Perkowitz, Eva Salzman, Ted Steinberg, and Peter Warshall, editor of Whole Earth magazine. Photographers include Cyril Christo, Adam David Clayman, Monique Crépault, Helen M. Ellis, Sally Gall, Margaret McCarthy, Kristin Ordahl, Jerry Uelsmann, and Marie Wilkinson.

This is the second in a series of Terra Nova books from MIT Press, which aim to show that environmental issues are cultural and artistic as well as practical and political.

About the Editor

David Rothenberg is Professor of Philosophy at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and founder of the Terra Nova book series. His most recent books are Always the Mountains and Sudden Music: Improvisation, Art and Nature.


"...Gushes with torrents of words that dance and ebb and eddy and swirl.", David Bolling, Whole Earth Review

"...These books are courageous, and necessary." , Renee Lertzman, Parabola

"A great choice for anyone who wants a little watery reading to nourish the soul." —New Age Journal

"An important anthology on a precious element.", Lori Kranz, The Bloomsbury Review

"An ode to water composed by a range of admirers." —American Scientist

"Refreshing as a cool drink from a deep well on a steamy July afternoon...." —Publishers Weekly


"Writing on Air is a superb anthology. It successfully integrates science and imagination, using narrative, memory, and metaphor to convey complex environmental and biospheric concepts."
—Mitchell S. Thomashow, Chair, Department of Environmental Studies, Antioch New England Graduate School

"Promises to be a significant contribution in addressing a neglected but important environmental topic."
—Cheryll Glotfelty, Department of English, University of Nevada, Reno

"Whatever David Rothenberg touches becomes a surprise exploration, an unexpected point of engagement where he invites us to a deeper way of thinking about our place on the planet. He is a musician, a philosopher, a writer, and above all, an alchemist. Writing on Air is just another example of his brilliant dance with the world."
—Terry Tempest Williams, author of Leap and Red