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Know the West

West Obsessed: The American alpine sublime

A new collection by a turn-of-the century poet raises questions about wildness.


The Rocky Mountains have long been a source of inspiration and art. This is apparent in the works of the poet Belle Turnbull, who wrote about the mining camps of Colorado, the beauty of the mountains, and her life in the Rockies. In this episode of West Obsessed, High Country News Editor-in-Chief Brian Calvert travels to Gunnison, Colorado, to discuss Turnbull, her work, and the questions it raises about modern wildness and the sublime with two professors from Western Colorado University: David Rothman, the head of Western’s creative writing program, and John Hausdoerffer, who heads the university’s environmental studies program. 

“West Obsessed” is an occasional audio series produced in collaboration with KVNF community radio in Paonia, Colorado, where the editors and writers of High Country News discuss stories about the American West and why they matter. Subscribe to the podcast on: Google Play, iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher.

Thumbnail image: Hidden Lake in Glacier National Park, Cody Wellons/Flickr.