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The special edition of Braiding Sweetgrass (ISBN 9781571311771, NHBS product code 250385), has been updated with a new introduction from Robin Wall Kimmerer. It is being reissued in honour of the fortieth anniversary of Milkweed Editions, to celebrate the book as an object of meaning that will last the ages. Beautifully bound in stamped linen cloth with a bookmark ribbon and a deckled edge, this edition features five brilliantly coloured illustrations by artist Nate Christopherson. In increasingly dark times, the publisher honours the experience that more than 350,000 readers in North America have cherished about the book – gentle, simple, tactile, beautiful, even sacred – and offer an edition that will inspire readers to gift it again and again, spreading the word about scientific knowledge, indigenous wisdom, and the teachings of plants.
As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on "a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise" (Elizabeth Gilbert).
Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings – asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass – offer us gifts and lessons, even if we've forgotten how to hear their voices. In reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return.
Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, a scientist, a decorated professor, and an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Her first book, Gathering Moss was awarded the 2005 John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing. Her writings have appeared in Orion, Whole Terrain, and Stone Canoe amongst many others. She lives in Fabius, NY where she is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology, and where she is also the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment.
"Robin Wall Kimmerer is writer of rare grace. She writes about the natural world from a place of such abundant passion that one can never quite see the world the same way after having seen it through Kimmerer's eyes. In Braiding Sweetgrass, she takes us on a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise. She is a great teacher, and her words are a hymn of love to the world."
– Elizabeth Gilbert
"Robin Wall Kimmerer has written an extraordinary book, showing how the factual, objective approach of science can be enriched by the ancient knowledge of the indigenous people. It is the way she captures beauty that I love the most?the images of giant cedars and wild strawberries, a forest in the rain and a meadow of fragrant sweetgrass will stay with you long after you read the last page."
– Jane Goodall
"With deep compassion and graceful prose, Robin Wall Kimmerer encourages readers to consider the ways that our lives and language weave through the natural world. A mesmerizing storyteller, she shares legends from her Potawatomi ancestors to illustrate the culture of gratitude in which we all should live."
– Publishers Weekly
"Robin Wall Kimmerer opens a sense of wonder and humility for the intelligence in all kinds of life we are used to naming and imagining as inanimate."
– Krista Tippett, host of On Being
"The gift of Robin Wall Kimmerer's book is that she provides readers the ability to see a very common world in uncommon ways, or, rather, in ways that have been commonly held but have recently been largely discarded. She puts forth the notion that we ought to be interacting in such a way that the land should be thankful for the people."
– Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Braiding Sweetgrass is instructive poetry. Robin Wall Kimmerer has put the spiritual relationship that Chief Seattle called the 'web of life' into writing. Industrial societies lack the understanding of the interrelationships that bind all living things – this book fills that void. I encourage one and all to read these instructions."
– Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper, Onondaga Nation and Indigenous Environmental Leader