The Road to the Spring is the first book publication of Mary Austin’s
(1868–1934) poems. Best known for her prose book The Land of Little
Rain (1903), Austin was in fact a poet from the beginning of her career to
the end, even though she never published a volume dedicated to her own
original poetry. Instead, Austin’s work came to light in collections of poetry
and in prestigious journals such as Poetry, the Nation, the Forum, Harper’s,
and Saturday Review of Literature, among many others.
The Road to the Spring contains more than 200 poems, most of which
can only be found in out-of-print books, magazines, and periodicals, and
her unpublished manuscripts archived at the Huntington Library. This singular
publication includes her original work, poems she claimed to have
written with her grammar school pupils at the end of the nineteenth century,
and her translations and “re-expressions” of Native American songs,
which often diverge greatly from any other known sources. Warren includes
an introduction, laying out Austin’s place in American literature and
situating her writings in feminist, environmentalist, regionalist, and Native
American contexts. He also includes notes for those new to Austin’s work,
glossing Native terms, geographical names, and the ethnological sources
of the Native songs she re-creates.
James Perrin Warren is S. Blount Mason, Jr. Professor of English
at Washington and Lee University.
6 x 9, 464 pages