Concerned with the earth, our habitat and common home, poet and essayist Rae Marie Taylor bears witness to the many-layered pressures from development on land and water in the American Southwest. In her book of essays, The Land: Our Gift and Wild Hope, she offers a timely look at the threats posed, in particular, on the region's wildlife and people, their homes and cultures. While telling her own story of loss in the Rocky Mountain/Rio Grande corridor, she also reveals a vigorous hope found among the many Westerners collaborating in sustainable approaches. In celebration of the earth's gradual renewal, she brings to light the New West's use of local traditions, innovative ranching and restoration practices, and scientific insights affirming the importance of earth-based values. Eyewitness accounts, interviews, lively anecdotes, and an occasional poem inspire within the reader a deepening affection for the earth.
About the Author
Born and raised in Colorado and introduced at age ten to New Mexico, Rae Marie Taylor early on cultivated an appreciation for the beauty and cultural diversity of the American Southwest, as well as a sense of shared habitat and kinship with its vegetation and wildlife. After earning her BA from Loretto Heights College in Denver, her passion for the French language drew her to Quebec, Canada, where she later founded the first courses on Native American literature at Montreal's Dawson College and Concordia University's Simone de Beauvoir Institute. While teaching in the province of Quebec, she became an artist and poet. Taking a year for further study, she was also granted her MA from l'Université Aix-Marseille in France.
Keenly interested in petroglyphs and her own roots, Rae Marie journeyed back to the Southwest and was soon invited to be an illustrator for Mesa Verde National Park's archaeology lab. Staying in the region for several years, she engaged in fieldwork for the former Santa Fe Regional National Park Office and eventually served as conference coordinator and guide in Southwest art and archaeology for Recursos de Santa Fe.
Following a return to teaching in Quebec, she produced the Spoken Word CD Black Grace with Montreal musician David Gossage. Whether recording, performing in festivals and other poetry venues, or starring in one-woman shows—her Chant du Nord, regard du Sud at L'Espace Félix-Leclerc in Quebec and An Earthly Hour: A Human Time at the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, New Mexico— her work has consistently celebrated the cultural and natural beauty of her Southwestern homeland.
Most recently, she was invited to perform in the Poetry Jam at the Lensic Theater, at the Santa Fe Literary Center, and in other popular Northern New Mexico venues. In addition, her essay "Release" was published in the 2011 anthology The Return of the River: Writers, Scholars, and Citizens Speak on Behalf of the Santa Fe River.
Rae Marie's migrations north and south, between Quebec's wooded and well-watered landscape and the high, dry Rocky Mountain/Río Grande corridor, have broadened her perspective on the complex interactions of habitat and culture. Vitally concerned about the impact of development on land and water, she bears witness in her book of essays, The Land: Our Gift and Wild Hope, to both their devastation and today's resurgent hope for renewal.