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One night, poet and environmental writer John Lane tuned in to a sound from behind his house that he had never heard before: the nearby eerie and captivating howls of coyotes. Since this was Spartanburg, South Carolina, and not Missoula, Montana, Lane set out to discover all he could about his new and unexpected neighbors.
Coyote Settles the South is the story of his journey through the Southeast, as he visits coyote territories: swamps, nature preserves, old farm fields, suburbs, a tannery, and even city streets. On his travels he meets, interrogates, and observes those who interact with the animals – trappers, wildlife researchers, hunters, rattled pet owners, and even one devoted coyote hugger. Along the way, he encounters sensible, yet sometimes perplexing, insight concerning the migration into the Southeast of the American coyote, an animal that, in the end, surprises him with its intelligence, resilience, and amazing adaptability.
John Lane is an associate professor of English and environmental studies at Wofford College, USA. His books include Waist Deep in Black Water, Chattooga: Descending into the Myth of Deliverance River, and Circling Home (all Georgia). He also coedited, with Gerald Thurmond, The Woods Stretched for Miles: New Nature Writing from the South (also Georgia). He has published several volumes of poetry and essays (with Mercer University Press and others), as well as a selection of his online columns, The Best of the Kudzu Telegraph.
"I first realized what a talent John Lane is when I read his book on the Chattooga. He is a dynamic writer I've come to respect."
– Pat Conroy, author of The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son
"John Lane takes readers into the heart of nature as well as into the nature of the heart, and he writes with wonder, wisdom, and profound attentiveness."
– Ron Rash, author of Serena
"Like the best American environmental writing, Lane strikes a balance between close scrutiny of the natural word and sudden flights of romantic reverie."
– Jeff Calder, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"John Lane is an ecologist who uses a Caves of Lascaux mentality to get into the heads of his other-species neighbors [...] In Coyote Settles the South, Lane walks us down the road to the future, checking out scat, tracks and fur, and is a kind of folk character himself, the wide-eyed and musing poet playing second fiddle to warriors in the field."
– Rob Neufeld, Asheville Citizen-Times
"Coyote Settles the South is a wonderful book, a seamless mix of the personal and the scientific, chronicling the return of the wild, in the form of Canis latrans, to the American South. John Lane takes us exploring, and in his fine company we learn the facts about coyotes while also exploring the question of what the wild still means in our lives. His tone is not just smart but amiable, and his approach is balanced as he talks to everyone from trappers and hunters to scientists to those he calls 'coyote huggers'. He paints a picture of a resilient species that, rather than being reintroduced, is reintroducing itself, filling the old niche once filled by the wolf. To anyone interested in the wildness that can be found in their own backyards, this is an indispensable book."
– David Gessner, author of All the Wild That Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, and the American West
"John Lane demonstrates in this engaging book why we need poets to ask good questions and drive the back roads in search of stories and creatures that are learning how to inhabit this landscape we've created. Following the southern coyote that has moved into suburbs, cities, and refuges alike, Lane illuminates the tradition of hilltop fox hunting, the strange intermixing of coyote and red wolf, the new profession of those working on human-animal conflict resolution and more. This is essential work for the twenty-first-century nature writer: interrogating our 'continuing experiment in cross-species community' while still managing to celebrate 'the songfest of wildness on the edge of our suburbs'. Thank you, John Lane, for this beautiful and nourishing read."
– Alison Hawthorne Deming, author of Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit
"The resilience of nature is one of the mysteries of our time, and nothing embodies this story more vividly than the return of the wolf in the form of the eastern coyote. John Lane tracks this elusive animal, leading one along the trail with astute observations and insights all the way."
– Susan Brind Morrow, author of Wolves and Honey: A Hidden History of the Natural World
"Coyote is a fine book, clear, wide-ranging, perceptive, and thoughtful."
– Sam Pickering, The Georgia Review