The Salt Lake Papers

From the Years in the Earthscapes of Utah

Once again cast in the companionable style of journal entries and notes that readers enjoyed in Lueders’s 1977 creative nonfiction classic The Clam Lake Papers, this new investigation into language and ways of knowing follows the author’s move from the north woods of Wisconsin to the Intermountain West of Utah.
The Salt Lake Papers is divided into two sections by location and time. Book One reflects the central geophysical presence of the Great Salt Lake, in view from Leuders’s home and the University of Utah campus where he studied and taught. Researched and composed during the 1980s, it is published here for the first time. Book Two begins with his retirement to the “earthscapes” of the Torrey–Capitol Reef area of southern Utah and contemplates the Colorado River system. Hydrology thus provides both the physical and the metaphysical basis for the author’s reflective insights and for the natural flow of his advancing thought.
Beautifully written, The Salt Lake Papers, in varied ways, speaks to the necessity of the humanities in the modern age. At its heart, Lueders’s small book of intellectual musings explores place and the ways landscape shapes what is observant in each of us.

Hear Ed Lueders talk about his book on Utah Conversations with Ted Capener on KUED

Edward Lueders is a jazz pianist, WWII veteran, poet and retired professor from the University of Utah. He is the author of The Clam Lake Papers: A Winter in the North Woods and The Wake of the General Bliss: A Novel of World War II, and the editor of several volumes, including Writing Natural History: Dialogues with Authors.

Table of Contents:
BOOK ONE: Salt Lake City and the Great Salt Lake
The Papers (from the 1980s)
Epilogue: The Hawaii Episode
BOOK TWO: Torrey, the Colorado Plateau, and the Colorado River
The Papers
Epilogue: The Disquisition: On Language, Number, and the Humanities: An Epistemology for the Digital Age

Praise and Reviews:
“Only someone who has spent a lifetime roaming the physical and intellectual terrain with his head up and his eyes clear could understand so many fields so well and relate them to each other. This work is an amble through geology, geography, hydrology, forestry, theology, philosophy, history, literature, and much more. But words, the development and use of language, provide the lens through which we zoom in to see exquisite details in nature or discourse, or out to gain a grand perspective. Poetry and metaphor punctuate the whole.”
—L. Jackson Newell, author of The Electric Edge of Academe: The Saga of Lucien L. Nunn and Deep Springs College

"Where memoir meets natural history, where aphorism joins with tale, where one man’s memory is indivisible from one man’s intellectual discovery—that’s the magic and forceful fact of The Salt Lake Papers. I remember exploring Clam Lake with Edward Lueders, nearly forty years ago, as he mapped the Wisconsin of his imagination. Now, belated and timely, playful, meditative, and brilliant, he rejoins a lineage leading down from the great Montaigne, through Franklin and Thoreau, to Bass and Tempest Williams to today. Is it a daybook, is it a poem, a political almanac, a geological map?  Edward Lueders’ new book, like his spirit, is a gift."
 —David Baker

"Edward Lueders's oracular meditation, informed by nine decades of intense observation, takes his readers on a profound journey through the intersections of mind and matter, nature and culture, humanities and science. The clarity and conundrums inspired by Utah's red rock beauty form the backdrop to a singular human story with resounding collective echoes."
—Robert Newman, president, National Humanities Center

“This will be a special book for some people. It was for me. It transfers wisdom. It inspires thought. It summarizes one man’s journey to appreciate landscapes and how they have impacted his sense of being human. Dr. Lueders, with great consideration, shares his view of the purpose of the human mind, humanities and science alike.”
—Genevieve Atwood, founder and chief education officer, Earth Science Education; and emeritus adjunct associate professor of geography, University of Utah

The Salt Lake Papers is difficult to categorize. Is it environmental writing? Science writing? Nature writing? Philosophy? Memoir? At times it is all of these. What it is, above all, is a book that challenges a reader to think. It poses questions and makes observations that call you back to re-read and re-consider. My review copy of the book boasts more than two-dozen Post-It flags marking passages that I will return to again. I can give the book no higher praise.”

“Blending Lueders’s personal experiences exploring Utah with his observations about the nuances of human communication, The Salt Lake Papers succeeds in reinforcing the value of the humanities in environmental studies.”
Western American Literature