Grace of Grass and Water

The late Minnesota author Paul Gruchow was often described as beautifully intense, bard-like and prophetic. While plying his talents as seer and naturalist, Gruchow was also a master of trenchant insight into the right ways of living, as well as the foibles and hypocrisies of modern society.

This collection honors the memory of Paul Gruchow through the words of the many he touched as mentor, teacher, colleague, friend as well as some of the last published writing by both Bill Holm and Carol Bly.

The Grace of Grass and Water brings together new writings by award winning authors Mary Pipher, Bill Holm, Carol Bly, Jim Heynen, Mark Vinz, Gary Deason, Louis Martintelli, Bob Artley and Thomas Dean as well as one of Paul Gruchow’s last essays.

Praise for The Grace of Grass and Water:

“The fine essays in The Grace of Grass and Water: Writing in Honor of Paul Gruchow offer personal recollections and reflections about Paul Gruchow’s life and a sense from his peers of his vital contribution to the literature of place. The inclusion of Paul Gruchow’s own essay ‘The Meaning of Natural History’ is sufficient reason to own the book. The essay, here published for the general reader for the first time, is a history of the greats of American nature writing. It offers readers a superb overview of the growth of a field, as well as insights into why, now more than ever, we must understand the earth in order to save it.”—Emilie Buchwald, publisher emeritus, Milkweed Editions; publisher, The Gryphon Press

“This elegantly produced collection of memorial essays is a treasure not only for those who cherished Paul Gruchow as a lyric essayist and fond friend but as a clarion voice for political courage. Paul and I were kids together—working on the student paper at the University, pretending our way into being writers. As the decades passed it seemed he was always there, saying the right thing at the right moment. And then, shockingly, he wasn’t there. It’s still a signal loss, and this book of essays by some of our best essayists and poets goes a long way toward reminding us of his charm and his fierce courage, and especially his enduring hopes for the planet.”–Patricia Hampl, author, The Florist’s Daughter: A Memoir

“Beloved in his home place, Paul Gruchow deserves to be known far and wide, and this lovely volume makes clear exactly why.”—Bill McKibben, author, Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future

“A useful introduction to Gruchow’s work and a lovely tribute to his life. Its reminiscences, appreciations, and analyses are as eloquent and insightful as the books of the man it honors.”—David Pichaske, author, Rooted: Seven Midwest Writers of Place

“As these essays reveal, Paul Gruchow was a brilliant writer and a profound thinker who never failed to amaze his friends and acquaintances with his wisdom and kindness. Gruchow’s work—like his life—resonates with passion and intensity. Whether writing about the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, the Beartooth Range of Montana, or the Sandhill cranes of Nebraska, Gruchow makes us see, think, and feel in new ways and, ultimately, gaze inward to confront the hard, painful questions of our own humanity—something that Gruchow knew all too well in his own tragic life. He was our generation’s Thoreau. The Grace of Grass and Water is a deeply moving and fitting tribute to the man and his work.”—Thom Tammaro, coeditor, Inheriting the Land: Contemporary Voices from the Midwest, Imagining Home: Writing from the Midwest, and To Sing Along the Way: Minnesota Women Poets from Pre-Territorial Days to the Present

“We are fortunate Paul Gruchow was a writer, for America stands in dire need of his vision and understanding. This collection of beautiful essays will serve as an invaluable introduction to the complicated life of a true American hero.”—Paul Theobald, author, Teaching the Commons: Place, Pride, and the Renewal of Community