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A Song for the River by Philip Connors

Immediately, in the very first chapter, the author sets off down the river, and takes us with him.

As he travels in an inflatable boat, the waters of the Gila begin to rise. He has no choice but to keep on. He wants to be alone on the water, to feel it, to live with it, to dedicate himself to keeping it alive and free, as the river itself has been threatened in recent years by men wanting build a concrete dam that would divert and end the life of the Upper Gila. He also needs to be encircled in the moving waters to honor what has been lost: the lives of two friends who have passed too soon. When he emerges from his journey on the river, his desire to finish his story becomes a vow, a song for the river.

Connors’ true story entwines the events that occur in a quiet corner of New Mexico. There is the tragedy of a plane crash, which takes the lives of three brilliant young people studying the environment from the air, and also the life of the pilot. Sixteen days later, a man, a seasoned fire lookout, about to be married, takes a last ride on his horse and is killed when his horse falls on him. Braided through these stories is the author’s own healing, alongside tales of fires that ravage and destroy.

This is a brave book, one that deals intimately with death, and the aftermath of death. It tells the stories that need to be remembered, and honors the ones who have protected and cared for the forests and the river we love. There is inspiration right beneath the loss, truth cropping up in new shoots of green, and love, found along the curve of the river.

– Elise Stuart

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Southwest Word Fiesta™ or its steering committee.

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We respectfully acknowledge that the entirety of southwestern New Mexico is the traditional territory, since time immemorial, of the Chis-Nde, also known as the people of the Chiricahua Apache Nation. The Chiricahua Apache Nation is recognized as a sovereign Native Nation by the United States in the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Friendship of 1 July 1852 (10 Stat. 979) (Treaty of Santa Fe ratified 23 March 1853 and proclaimed by President Franklin Pierce 25 March 1853).

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Mimbres Press of Western New Mexico University is a traditional academic press that welcomes agented and unagented submissions in the following genres: literary fiction, creative non-fiction, essays, memoir, poetry, children’s books, historical fiction, and academic books. We are particularly interested in academic work and commercial work with a strong social message, including but not limited to works of history, reportage, biography, anthropology, culture, human rights, and the natural world. We will also consider selective works of national and global significance.