Barry Lopez: Hope, Resilience, Memory

Last night we had the opportunity to hear Barry Lopez speak.  He is a thoughtful, disarming man.  The  cadence of his rich voice drew a rather rambunctious crowd into a more reflective space.  The evening was presented as a conversation, so his remarks circled around the same few themes.  I took 8 pages of notes; here’s some of what caught my imagination:

I use the metaphors of geography and natural history to discover what we yearn for as human beings.

Involve yourself in the real world.  The possibility for holiness exists all around us.

It’s easy to feel informed, yet the world is beyond comprehension.

By saying thank you, you put yourself back in the flow, open to spiritual health.

Turn anger inside out; be strong and patient with yourself.  Whatever it is you make beautiful–a child or a short story–as you do that the enemy has less to stand on.

What people really need is a pattern in language that grows out of human interaction…the antidote of conversation.

The Achilles heel of consciousness is that we forget, we forget what we mean by our lives.

Give yourself away to find what is nascent in the young.

The best we can do is take care of each other.  The temptation is power; the calling is to be in love with your family and the earth.

Lopez speaks from the deep tradition of faith with a reverence for the unspeakable.  You can hear him read many of his short stories on audio book.  You will be changed.

Poetry Friday


  1. wonderful notes…what a great opportunity…Not too long ago I commented about our quest for a Barry Lopez book in Monterey…you found it and got it signed as I remember.

    1. I did! It was Arctic Dreams…which I didn’t read until we moved to the jungle. Life changing! Thanks for taking me along on that trip! So many wonderful memories…Tor House!

  2. “It’s easy to feel informed, yet the world is beyond comprehension.” — I think maybe we would all be a bit more patient with each other if we kept this in mind.
    I agree with Jama — your notes made me want to read his work! Lopez sounds amazing. Thanks, Kortney.

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