Pasatiempo - - In Other Words -

Get some West If you broach the sub­ject of the OldWest at any mixed gath­er­ing where strong, in­formed opin­ions flow like a geyser of crude or a healthy stream, you’re bound to get an ear­ful about the state of the new West, too.

From the rush to find gold to the drive for techie dom­i­nance in Sil­i­con Val­ley and the strug­gle to re­verse the trend of erod­ing tra­di­tions in cul­ture, fam­ily, and liveli­hood, the pro­gres­sion of the Amer­i­can West has al­ways served as a yard­stick for the way the rest of the coun­try sculpts its ever-shift­ing iden­tity.

In Voices of the Amer­i­can West (Ful­crum Pub­lish­ing, 2009), Colorado writer Corinne Platt as­sem­bles nar­ra­tives from peo­ple who call theWest home: politi­cians, ranch­ers, con­ser­va­tion­ists, ac­tivists, agri­cul­tural and en­vi­ron­men­tal in­no­va­tors, jour­nal­ists, au­thors, artists— the cross sec­tion of ideas brew­ing among them is as var­ied as the land­scape they roam. And Platt— without tak­ing sides— gives more than 45 of them equal con­sid­er­a­tion here.

The voices of fig­ures such as artist Rox­anne Swentzell, in­dige­nous-foodways preser­va­tion­ist Gary Nab­han, writer Terry Tem­pest Wil­liams, and for­mer Sec­re­tary of the In­te­rior Ste­wart Udall are com­ple­mented by black-and-white por­traits by pho­tog­ra­pher Mered­ith Ogilby, whose work lends the writ­ing an af­fect­ingly in­ti­mate con­text. At 2 p.m. on Satur­day, Jan. 30, Platt, Ogilby, and other con­trib­u­tors dis­cuss and sign copies of Voices at Gar­cia Street Books, 376 Gar­cia St., 986-0151.

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