Dubbed Nature Writer by bookstores and critics, Rick
Basss works are concerned with the nature of the human heart and the heart
of nature. He was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on March 7, 1958. The son of a geologist,
Bass took an early interest in the natural world. He earned a B.S. at Utah
State University in 1979 and worked as a petroleum geologist for several years.
Bass has lived around the South and Southwest, including stints in Mississippi
from 1979 to 1987 as a petroleum geologist in charge of prospecting for new wells,
an experience that formed the basis for his book Oil Notes (1989). He
currently lives and works in the Yaak Valley in Montana.
Bass is part of a recent trend
in regional writing: Southerners writing about the West. The stories
in Basss first short story collection, The Watch, which
won the 1988 PEN/Nelson Algren Award in 1988, are generally set
in Texas. His other works, however, concern the West.
In an article in the Bloomsbury
Review, John Murray wrote, Bass is characteristically
Southwestern in independence, his restlessness, his humor, his vitality,
his sunny outlook, his distrust of unchallenged authority, and his
disclaim for affectation and pretense.
Bass published his first novel,
Where the Sea Used to Be, in 1998. His most recent fictional
work is a short story collection, The Hermits Story: Stories
(2002). Most of his other recent works have been nonfiction, including
The New Wolves (1998), Brown Dog of the Yaak: Essays on
Art and Activism (1999), Colter: The True Story of the Best
Dog I Ever Had (2000), and The Roadless Yaak: Reflections
and Observations About One of Our Last Great Wilderness Areas
In 1996 W.W. Norton
reissued Bass's first essay collection, 1985's The
- The Watch: Stories. New York: Norton, 1989.
- Platte River. (stories) Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994.
- In the Loyal Mountains: Stories. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995.
- The Sky, the Stars, the Wilderness: Novellas. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
- Where the Sea Used to Be. (novel) Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998.
- Fiber. (short story) Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1998.
- The Hermits Story: Stories. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.
- The Deer Pasture. College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 1985. Reprinted by Norton, 1996.
- Wild to the Heart. New York: Norton, 1987.
- Oil Notes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989.
- Winter: Notes from Montana. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1991.
- The Ninemile Wolves: An Essay. Clark City Press, 1992. New York: Ballantine Books, 1993.
- The Lost Grizzlies: A Search for Survivors in the Wilderness of Colorado. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995.
- The Book of Yaak. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996.
- The New Wolves: The Return of the Mexican Wolf to the American Southwest. New York: Lyons Press, 1998.
- "Postwar Paris: Chronicles of a Literary Life." Portfolio. The Paris Review 150 (Spring 1999).
- Brown Dog of the Yaak: Essays on Art and Activism. Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 1999.
- Colter: The True Story of the Best Dog I Ever Had. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.
- The Roadless Yaak: Reflections and Observations About One of Our Last Great Wilderness Areas. New York: Lyons Press, 2002.
Reviews and Criticism:
- Baker, Jeff. "Rick Bass: Don't Mess with Nature's Ways." Review of The Sky, the Stars, the Wilderness. The Oregonian (15 December 1997).
- Bernstein, Richard. "Searching for Oil, and Maybe Love, in the Snow." Review of Where the Sea Used to Be. The New York Times (1 July 1998).
- Conniff, Richard. "That Dog Will Hunt." Review of Colter: The True Story of the Best Dog I Ever Had. New York Times Book Review (16 July 2000).
- Gorra, Michael. "Outside." Review of The Sky, the Stars, the Wilderness. New York Times Book Review (14 December 1997).
- Harshaw, Tobin. "In Short: Fiction." Review of In the Loyal Mountains. New York Times Book Review (16 July 1995).
- Hegi, Ursula. "Splendid Isolation." Review of Winter: Notes from Montana. New York Times Book Review (10 February 1991).
- Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher. "Books of the Times: The Lure of the Outdoors, Then and Now." Review of Oil Notes. The New York Times (24 July 1989): C16.
- ---. "Books of the Times: Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolves?" Review of The Ninemile Wolves. The New York Times (30 July 1992).
- Leschak, Peter M. "No Trespassing." Review of The Book of Yaak. New York Times Book Review (1 December 1996).
- Lowell, Susan. "Country Love and Naked Laundresses." Review of The Watch. New York Times Book Review (5 March 1989): 11.
- McKinnon, Julissa. "Author Rick Bass shares a piece of the mountains in final reading of Earth Series." The California Aggie Online (17 May 1996).
- McManus, James. "Geology Is Destiny." Review of Where the Sea Used to Be. New York Times Book Review (2 August 1998).
- McNamee, Thomas. "A Wild Bear Chase." Review of Lost Grizzlies: A Search for Survivors in the Wilderness of Colorado. New York Times Book Review (26 November 1995).
- Weltzian, O. Alan. The Literary Art and Activism of Rick Bass. University of Utah Press, 2001.
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