"Dazzling. . . . In glittering prose, Momaday recalls stories passed down through generations, illuminating the earth as a sacrosanct place of wonder and abundance. At once a celebration and a warning, Earth Keeper is an impassioned defense of all that our endangered planet stands to lose." — Esquire
A magnificent testament to the earth, from Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and poet N. Scott Momaday.
One of the most distinguished voices in American letters, N. Scott Momaday has devoted much of his life to celebrating and preserving Native American culture, especially its oral tradition. A member of the Kiowa tribe who was born and grew up on Indian reservations throughout the Southwest, Momaday has an intimate connection to the land he knows well and loves deeply.
In Earth Keeper: Reflections on the American Land, he reflects on his native ground and its influence on his people. “When I think about my life and the lives of my ancestors, I am inevitably led to the conviction that I, and they, belong to the American land. This is a declaration of belonging. And it is an offering to the earth.” he writes.
Momaday recalls stories of his childhood, stories that have been passed down through generations, stories that reveal a profound and sacred connection to the American landscape and a reverence for the natural world.
In this moving and lyrical book, which includes original artwork by the author, Momaday offers an homage and a warning. He reminds us that the Earth is a sacred place of wonder and beauty; a source of strength and healing that must be protected before it’s too late. As he so eloquently and simply expresses, we must all be keepers of the earth.
About the Author
N. Scott Momaday is an internationally renowned poet, novelist, artist, teacher, and storyteller whose works celebrate and preserve Native American heritage. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel House Made of Dawn and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Academy of American Poets Prize, the National Medal of Arts, the Ken Burns American Heritage Prize, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation's Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award, and the 2021 Frost Medal for distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry. A longtime professor of English and American literature, Momaday earned his PhD from Stanford University and retired as Regents Professor at the University of Arizona. He lives in New Mexico.
“Poets and storytellers have always reminded us of our spiritual connections to the land and the world around us — passed along through dreams, stories, memories, and mythologies. Scott Momaday skillfully continues this tradition in Earth Keeper, from which we can all learn and benefit.”
— Robert Redford
“Earth Keeper is a prayer for continuity in these days of uncertainty. I cannot tell you why I loved this book, I can only tell you I wept my way through it. Each page brought me closer to myself, a self I had lost in the pandemic. We need Scott Momaday's calm, clear prose and stories. Words are medicine. There is wisdom in sharing what one knows, especially at a time when we know so little. ‘Let me say my heart,’ he says. And he does.”
— Terry Tempest Williams, author of Erosion: Essays of Undoing
"Dazzling. . . . In glittering prose, Momaday recalls stories passed down through generations, illuminating the earth as a sacrosanct place of wonder and abundance. At once a celebration and a warning, Earth Keeper is an impassioned defense of all that our endangered planet stands to lose."
"A timely meditation on the natural world — as well as what we stand to lose as the climate changes."
— New York Times
“Wonder abounds in these pages. . . . Short chapters of prose that read almost like prayers to the natural world.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Short but satisfying. . . . Using lyrical, heartfelt language, [Momaday] looks back on a life lived close to nature, and on the joy that natural wonders have given him. . . . At a time when bad news is in plentiful supply, readers will find Momaday’s words refreshing and comforting in their sincerity.”
— Publishers Weekly
"A profound reflection on humanity's relationship with its terrestrial home, the planet Earth."
“A collection of short essays as multilayered and majestic as the landscape that has been present in everything that Momaday has written. . . . [A] poetic love letter to the Earth.”
— Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Part memory and part meditation, part poem and part prayer, Earth Keeper is a short but powerful collection that holds its arms out to the world, asking to be read again and again. "I make a prayer for words," writes Momaday. "Let me say my heart." That heart is evident on every page of Earth Keeper, a reminder that body, soul and earth are inextricably woven together, and to deny that connection is to deny one's very humanity."
— Shelf Awareness (starred review)
"Earth Keeper is a celebration of the rich spiritual imagination of America’s Native peoples. . . . Momaday, now 86 years old, must be ranked among the greatest of our contemporary writers and our environmental prophets."
— American Scholar
"Equal parts memoir, folklore, and poetry, Earth Keeper is above all a work of great reverence, an appreciation for the earth and the relationship we cultivate with it."