A Rough Sort of Beauty


Reflections on the Natural Heritage of Arkansas
Dana F. Steward
978-1-55728-729-8 (paper)
July 2001


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What does it mean to have a sense of place? Through history, memoir, poetry, and fiction, the writers of these essays answer this question in a variety of ways, giving us their collective history of natural Arkansas. They speak of the interrelationships of humans and nature, and of the struggles for balance between economic realities and landscape preservation. The book evokes the sheer physical diversity of the Natural State, from the Ozarks and the Boston Mountains to Crowley’s Ridge, the Grand Prairie, and the Delta. But far more than mere geography, these are places of intense meaning: sites of enlightenment, conflict, comfort, and vivid experience. Rivers and mountains, plains and forests — these are shorthand terms for specific, beloved, storied places.

Dana Steward teaches writing at Hendrix College and is a writing coach for the Little Rock Writing Project, a National Writing Project site. She has won the top nonfiction award from the Arkansas Literary Society, and is also the author of A Fine Age.

“A cornucopia of wonderful thoughts about what it’s like to live in the natural world of Arkansas, A Rough Sort of Beauty is a keepsake collection of tributes, memories, dreams, reflections, histories and warnings, indispensable to an understanding of just why we choose to call this home.”
—Donald Harington, author of Thirteen Albatrosses and eleven other novels set in the natural world of Arkansas