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Cover for Holdfast


At Home in the Natural World

Kathleen Dean Moore


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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (11/1/2004)


Naturalist and philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore meditates on connection and separation in these twenty-one elegant, probing essays. Using the metaphor of holdfasts—the structures that attach seaweed to rocks with a grip strong enough to withstand winter gales—she examines our connections to our own bedrock.

“When people lock themselves in their houses at night and seal the windows shut to keep out storms, it is possible to forget, sometimes for years and years, that human beings are part of the natural world,” she writes. Holdfast passionately reclaims an awareness of the natural world, exploring the sense of belonging fostered by the communal howls of wolves; the inevitability of losing children to their own lives; the fear of bears and love of storms; the sublimity of life and longing in the creatures of the sea; her agonizing decision when facing her father’s bone-deep pain. As Moore travels philosophically and geographically—from Oregon’s shores to Alaska’s islands—she leaves no doubt of her virtuosity and range. 

The new afterword is an important statement on the new responsibilities of nature writers as the world faces the consequences of climate change. 

Praise For Holdfast: At Home in the Natural World

“A gifted essayist…Moore’s prose is elegant and poetic.” —Hungry Mind Review

“Reminiscent of the work of Annie Dillard and others who have combined their observations of the natural world with philosophical reflections…”  —Publishers Weekly

“Graceful meditations on nature…an altogether satisfying collection by a gifted interpreter of the natural world.” —Kirkus Reviews

Oregon State University Press, 9780870717086, 160pp.

Publication Date: May 1, 2013

About the Author

Kathleen Dean Moore is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Oregon State University and co-founder and senior fellow of OSU’s Spring Creek Project of Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word. She is the coeditor of the award-winning Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril and the author of Wild Comfort, Riverwalking—winner of a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award—and The Pine Island Paradox—winner of the Oregon Book Award.