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more than 200 poems, most of which can only be found in out-of-print books, magazines, and periodicals, and her unpublished manuscripts archived at the Huntington Library.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