Robert Michael Pyle nominated for award
December 31, 2020
Gray's River author Robert Michael Pyle has been nominated to receive a $15,000 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay.
Pyle's work Nature Matrix: New and Selected Essays is one of 10 being considered for the award. Judges are Sandra Cisneros, John D’Agata, and Adam Gopnik.
The award is for a seasoned writer whose collection of essays is an expansion on their corpus of work and preserves the distinguished art form of the essay.
According to the description of the book by the publisher, Counterpoint Press, Nature Matrix: New and Selected Essays contains 16 pieces that encompass Pyle's philosophy, ethic, and aesthetic. The essays range from Pyle’s experience as a young national park ranger in the Sierra Nevada to the streets of Manhattan; from the suburban jungle to the tangles of the written word; and from the phenomenon of Bigfoot to that of the Big Year–a personal exercise in extreme birding and butterflying. They include deep profiles of John Jacob Astor I and Vladimir Nabokov, as well as excursions into wild places with teachers, children, and writers.
The nature of real wilderness in modern times comes under Pyle’s lens, as does reconsideration of his trademark concept, “the extinction of experience”–maybe the greatest threat of alienation from the living world that we face today.