“We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in. For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope,” wrote Wallace Stegner in his 1980 Wilderness Letter, a riveting and poetic plea to the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission. For Stegner, the “geography of hope" a concept as physical and literal as it was metaphysical and figurative, at once a fertile landscape and an idea—“an intangible and spiritual resource"—vital to the health and well-being of the human race. It is this intersection that the upcoming biennial literary conference, Geography of Hope, seeks to explore through the lens of this year’s theme, Women and the Land.
Since 2008, the Geography of Hope conference has brought together writers, activists, and poets for three days of readings, discussions, and activities “to inspire and deepen an understanding of the relationships between people and place.” Founded by Steve Costa of Point Reyes Books (whom we recently featured on Edition Local), the conference will be taking place in locations all throughout West Marin this upcoming weekend, March 13-15. Authors Robin Wall Kimmerer and Kathleen Dean Moore are co-chairs of the 2015 gathering.
“To create this new perspective,” says GOH co-chair Kathleen Dean Moore, “will take every point of view and every imaginative power. So we are listening particularly for voices that might offer useful perspectives. That means we want to listen closely to women. We want to listen to people of color and to the poor. We want to listen to future generations. And we want to listen closely to other voices that offer new directions, new compass points, new trails across new terrain.”
We’re especially excited about the Geography of Hope conference because it reflects Edition Local’s own concerns about people, place, and the relationship between the two. One of the main questions that will be asked of conference participants is “What do we love too much to lose? What will we do to protect it?”
We need more conversations about both crisis and renewal. Any hope that we have for the places we inhabit will require more than individual moxie. Our hope must be built up collectively, through an entire village of voices.