Ursula’s Landscape

Ursula K. Le Guin 1929-2018

Ursula K Le Guin lived just over the West Hills.  Hills obscured with rain this morning.  From the sunporch you could look across the river to the hills and think of her in the house on the hill.  Maybe she was curled up too–with a book and a cat.

From the Bridge, you could see the flattened top and lumpy sides of St Helen’s deep in snow.  The mountain is hers as well.

We live and move in her world.

Because she was my teacher’s teacher, I have been her student.

I hold close her vision of a school that meets in the morning outside under an apple tree, her inquiry into the relationships between women and men, her questions about citizenship and the individual, the way to catch fish with your bare hands.

On her recommendation I’ll be reading Mansfield Park in the coming months.  You too?


  1. I’ve never read anything by Ursula K Le Guin, actually, I just heard of her recently through the What Should I Read Next podcast. Do you have a recommended favorite?

  2. If you’ve never read Le Guin, you’ve got a lot of great books ahead of you! I love her later poetry and short stories, esp Late in the Day and Fisherman of the Inland Sea. Her (cat focused!) writing for kids is also great. My favorite novel is called The Dispossessed. Even though many of her stories happen on other worlds, she is firmly writing about what it means to be human.

  3. The Earth Sea Trilogy really meant a lot to me in my late teens. The Trouble with Omelas haunted me for many years, maybe even still today. Ms Le Guin had a great talent for the succinct.

    Mansfield Park is one of my favorite novels by one of my favorite novelists. Austen had a penetrating appreciation of the complexities of human nature and does not generally paint her characters in stark black or white. In MP, which is more ‘dark’ in tone than any of her other novels, she creates someone I consider to be an outright villain… Good reading to you one and all.

    1. Pastor Tom–we have been living and breathing Pride and Prejudice here and your comments about the complex characters in Austen really rings true. It makes for conversations that we keep returning too, keep thinking about. Looking forward to MP even more now that it has your recommendation.

      In other news…this week has found me writing a story. A narrative with a plot! So different from the way my poetry usually works. I’m as surprised as anyone. Still very early stages, but it’s captured my interest.

      Also, do you know the work of Jonathan Rogers? I think you might like how he thinks about writing and the world. http://www.jonathan-rogers.com/ I just signed up for his new Tuesday writing tips.

      1. Thanks for the recommendation. I feel as though I recognize the name Jonathan Rogers but that could just be a trick of the aging brain, still I am not familiar with his writings and intend to check him out.

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