O'Grady 2  

John P. O'Grady


Telephone: 907.786.4394
E-mail: jpogrady@uaa.alaska.edu


As an undergraduate, John P. O'Grady studied forestry, believing that this was a chance to dwell in deep groves and sequestered places, but when he realized that resource management is not an appropriate pursuit for one who delights less in the chainsaw than in the standing oak, he embarked upon graduate studies in English. For a number years, he served as a professor of literature and environmental studies. Along the way he lived in Maine, California, Montana, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Germany, and Ireland. Now he is back home, for good, in the Catskill Mountains of New York. There, not far from where Rip Van Winkle took his twenty-year nap, he practices writing and photography. His musings appear regularly on the Mountain Gazette (http://www.mountaingazette.com/blogs/land-in-the-sky/). 

When asked recently about his philosophy of teaching writing, especially the writing of memoir, he recalled —perhaps without precision—the wisdom of an old teacher: "To write about the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to realize myriad things. At this very moment of decomposition, composition commences. The path that appears should be traced as far as it goes. If the composition is successful, no trace of it remains. This goes on without end. Until it begins anew." 

Selected Essays by John P. O'Grady: 

"Following Directions" 


"Certain Trees" 


"To the Gods Below" 


"The Outside Lands: Astrology and Taboo" 


 Books by John P. O'Grady:

Literature and the Environment: A Reader on Nature and Culture

Exploring our relationship to nature and the role literature can play in shaping a culture responsive to environmental realities, this thematic, multi-genre anthology includes early writers such as John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, and Mary Austin, alongside contemporary voices such as Gary Snyder and Terry Tempest Williams.


Grave Goods

Just because this is a collection of essays about psychics, murderers, strange disappearances, and occult phenomena doesn't mean it isn't funny. With wit, wry curiosity, and redemptive irony John P O'Grady peels back the surface of the seemingly normal to reveal the dubious, the inexplicable, the outlandish.


Pilgrims to the Wild

Ranging in its treatment from Thoreau's important but neglected essay, 'Walking,' to the exuberant letters of the young artist Everett Ruess, this is a broadly based exploration that brings to bear Eastern and Western classical philosophy, as well as contemporary critical theory, on a distinctive tradition of American Writing-those works concerned with the human relationship to the non-human world.