A Love Story

Edited by Barbara Richardson

Community farms. Mud spas. Mineral paints. Nematodes. The world is waking up to the beauty and mystery of dirt. This anthology celebrates the Earth’s generous crust, bringing together essays by award-winning scientists, authors, artists, and dirt lovers to tell dirt’s exuberant tales. Geographically broad and topically diverse, these essays reveal life as lived by dirt fanatics—admiring the first worm of spring, taking a childhood twirl across a dusty Kansas farm, calculating how soil breathes, or baking mud pies. Essayists build a dirt house, center a marriage around dirt, sink down into marshy heaven, and learn to read dirt’s own language. Scientists usher us deep underground with the worms and mycorrhizae to explore the vast and largely ignored natural processes occurring beneath our feet. Whether taking a trek to Venezuela to touch the oldest dirt in the world or reveling in the blessings of our own native soils, these muscular essays answer the important question: How do you get down with dirt? A literary homage to dirt and its significance in our lives, this book will interest hikers, gardeners, teachers, urbanites, farmers, environmentalists, ecologists, and others intrigued by our planet’s alluring skin. Essayists include Vandana Shiva, Peter Heller, Janisse Ray, Bernd Heinrich, Linda Hogan, Wes Jackson, BK Loren, David Montgomery, Laura Pritchett, and Deborah Koons Garcia.

Cloth: $85 | E-book: $14.99
ISBN-13: 9781611689006
Pages: 224 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: August 22, 2015


  • Who knew dirt could be a topic of such fascinating diversity?

    Deseret News
  • A love song to the humble earth beneath our feet, this is nature writing at its best.

    Daily Camera
  • Dirt showcases an outstanding chorus of voices, allowing them to intertwine, resonate and amplify each other and build to a kind of lyrical crescendo that will leave readers eager to get out and get down in their own dirt, the lively soil that lives beneath all our feet.

    Story Circle Book Reviews
  • Many of the essays make it seem as if organic methods have only advantages and no drawbacks, and to love the soil is to embrace this belief. For this reason, the main contribution of the book is to allow readers to get to know the organic community on a more personal basis, and in this respect the book is a triumph.

    American Journal of Agricultural Economics
  • Add my name to the list of those who love to play in dirt, and know how much I love this anthology of vibrant voices celebrating, investigating, remembering the ways in which we are grounded in life, in memory, and in story by mud and dust. There is much here to laugh over, to learn about, to sing along with. Kick off your shoes, dig in your toes, and enjoy!

    Kim Barnes
    author of In the Kingdom of Men

About the Author

Barbara K. Richardson

Barbara K. Richardson is the author of two novels: Tributary, which won a Utah Book Award and was a 2013 WILLA Award finalist in historical fiction, and Guest House, a 2010 Eric Hoffer Award finalist in fiction. Her work also has appeared in Northwest Review, Cimarron Review, Epiphany, Windhorse Review, and Dialogue. She lives in Kamas, Utah.

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