Barry Lopez: 1945–2020
In this episode, one of Oregon’s most celebrated authors, Barry Lopez, discussed his latest nonfiction book, Horizon, with Andrew Proctor, Executive Director of Literary Arts. The two discussed the themes behind the book, including the environmental crisis at hand. A work thirty years in the making, Horizon defies category. It is not merely travel, science, or nature writing. It is not only a memoir, or a book of natural history. Within the book’s nearly 600 pages, Lopez explores the six regions of the world: from Western Oregon to the High Arctic; from the Galápagos to the Kenyan desert; from Botany Bay in Australia to the ice shelves of Antarctica. As he takes us on these myriad travels, Lopez probes the long history of humanity’s quests and explorations.
This work challenged Lopez to answer his own question: “Having seen so many parts of the world, what had I learned about human menace, human triumph, and human failure?” Lopez reads passages from the book while also weaving anecdotes about his decades of fieldwork. He leaves us with an urgent call to take ownership of the health and the future of our world and its inhabitants.
Barry Lopez is the author of Arctic Dreams, for which he received a National Book Award and an Oregon Book Award; Of Wolves and Men, a National Book Award finalist; and eight works of fiction, including Light Action in the Caribbean and Resistance, which also won Oregon Book Awards.
Barry Lopez passed away on December 25, 2020, at the age of 75 after a long battle with cancer.