Reaching Keet Seel: Ruin's Echo & the Anasazi

Reg Saner, Author
Reg Saner, Author University of Utah Press $14.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-87480-553-6
Reviewed on: 03/02/1998
Release date: 03/01/1998
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When looking at the Anasazi's great accomplishments, your average ruin junkie will inevitably end up asking themselves questions like Why does this interest me so? and What can I learn from this? Saner, winner of the 1997 Wallace Stegner Award, offers his own eloquent meditations on these and many other essential questions of the American Southwest. It is a loving and vital examination: as Saner says in the preface, ""[T]his book explores our living relation--yours and mine--to the most impressive prehistoric culture in North America."" In a conversational style, Saner recounts his experiences among the canyons and ruins of the ancient Pueblo people in such a way as to make them universal adventures. This is not a selfish book, he is not recounting his conquests, but guiding readers on a reverent journey of discovery. As Saner is the author of four books of poetry (Essay on Air; Red Letters), the lyrical writing should come as no surprise; and if at times he over-romanticizes the Anasazi, it is a refreshing change from the dry archaeological texts and the ""another ruin to conquer"" attitude of many writers on the prehistoric Southwest. He relates our everyday city lives to those who knew only how to live off the land, and by comparing views of our relation to nature we may come to understand what Euro-Americans have lost in the rush to civilization. Possibly what we can best learn from the remains of Anasazi culture is, ""that our greatest wisdom might be in living gently enough to make others wise."" (Mar.)
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