A Planetary Lens


A Planetary Lens

The Photo-Poetics of Western Women's Writing

Audrey Goodman

Postwestern Horizons Series

346 pages
34 photographs, index


October 2021


$65.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

October 2021


$65.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

October 2021


$65.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Thomas J. Lyon Book Award from the Western Literature Association

A Planetary Lens delves into the history of the photo-book, the materiality of the photographic image on the page, and the cultural significance of landscape to reassess the value of print, to locate the sites where stories resonate, and to listen to western women’s voices. From foundational California photographers Anne Brigman and Alma Lavenson to contemporary Native poets and writers Leslie Marmon Silko and Joy Harjo, women artists have used photographs to generate stories and to map routes across time and place. A Planetary Lens illuminates the richness and theoretical sophistication of such composite texts.

Looking beyond the ideologies of wilderness, migration, and progress that have shaped settler and popular conceptions of the region, A Planetary Lens shows how many artists gather and assemble images and texts to reimagine landscape, identity, and history in the U.S. West. Based on extensive research into the production, publication, and circulation of women’s photo-texts, A Planetary Lens offers a fresh perspective on the entangled and gendered histories of western American photography and literature and new models for envisioning regional relations.

Author Bio

Audrey Goodman is a professor of English at Georgia State University. She is the author of Lost Homelands: Ruin and Reconstruction in the Twentieth-Century Southwest and Translating Southwestern Landscapes: The Making of an Anglo Literary Region.


"A fine addition to the University of Nebraska Press 'Postwestern Horizons' series, this book will be valuable for students of US literature and photography and of feminist and gender studies."—B. Wallenstein, Choice

"Goodman's study provides a well-researched and accessible model for producing interdisciplinary scholarly writing for the humanities, environmental studies, and antiracist projects. . . . A Planetary Lens is an invitation for future scholars to further engage the important relations between regionality and planetary citizenship, meditative text and snapshot, adaptation and revision, as well as change and belonging."—Susan Kollin, American Literary History

A Planetary Lens demonstrates a new reading strategy that will serve us well as we consider the deep and ongoing effects of patriarchy and colonization on the way women and others produce creative texts and understand place. . . . Goodman’s beautiful book reveals how re-storying colonized spaces is crucial for bodies and land.”—Gioia Woods, editor of Left in the West: Literature, Culture, and Progressive Politics in the American West

A Planetary Lens advances several important scholarly conversations including environmental justice, feminist critical regionalism, local and global Indigenous studies, western American literary studies, and material ecocriticism. Goodman’s elegantly written study draws together texts from a broad array of perspectives to interrogate how artists combine image and written texts in ways that revise and reorient conceptions of region, self, and storytelling. . . . Lucid and persuasive.”—Amy T. Hamilton, author of Peregrinations: Walking in American Literature

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: Taking Pictures, Making Books
1. Photographers and Storytellers in the U.S. West: Toward a Regional Photo-Poetics
2. Western Women’s Camera Work: Reassembling California Photo-Books
3. Joan Didion’s White Albums: Notes and Snapshots from a “Native” Daughter
4. Visual Passageways: Restorying Native Portraits
5. Circling Out from Laguna: Leslie Silko’s Planetary Storytelling
6. Apertures into the Next World: Joy Harjo’s Visionary Poetics
Conclusion: Open Archives, Unbound Books



Thomas J. Lyon Book Award from the Western Literature Association

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