“(Jane’s writing is) like a pure high alpine stream bubbling clarity…”
– Nathaniel Dorsky
“…most moving, elegant and heartful. Written in straightforward and lovely prose… quietly beautiful and full of wisdom.”
– Clay Evans, The Boulder Daily Camera
This book has been compared with Blue Highways, Desert Solitaire, and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It is a delightful account of Jane’s 1980s cross country trip and her many adventures as she and Bobo the car discover America as only Jane could do. In it, she unearths unlikely places and people, and learns how to be on her own for the first time in her life.
“Why not respect everything? It makes the world enormous, magnificent and meaningful. Much more interesting than me against the world.”
“Jane Wodening is truly a unique voice. . . so close to the land, the sun, the night, the animal life.”
“She is a secular mystic!”
Tom Bartek, artist
” [Driveabout] is so beautiful and incisive, I’m just enamored with everything that you perceive and describe.”
Carolee Schneemann, artist
ISBN # 978-1-944572-01-3
Published by Sockwood Press (Nederland, CO)
This book is meant to help anyone who is interested in animals to understand their actions and their communications. I’ve put it in narrative form because it seemed the best way to clarify the reasons for the actions of the animals. In notes at the end of each chapter, I talk over the actions of the animals and what those actions mean.
Jane Wodening, from the Preface
“Jane Wodening, where to begin? Along with D. H. Lawrence, Jack London, and Ernest Thomas Seaton, Jane is the finest writer of non-human animal life in North American lit. Her latest work, WOLF DICTIONARY, will join White Fang and Cormac McCarthy’s The Crossing as the most stunning wolf writing ever.”
Peter Warshall, naturalist par excellence
Publisher, Sockwood Press (Nederland, CO)
ORDER HERE: www.artbook.com/9781887123839.html
Brakhage’s Childhood recounts the story of visionary American filmmaker Stan Brakhage’s (1933-2003) life up to age 12. In 1983 Stan and Jane Brakhage began a series of interviews wherein Stan described his life and Jane took notes. Each session yielded a chapter and each chapter usually a place. After each interview Jane organized, wrote and edited the stories. After two years they had 23 chapters in 100,000 words. “He had the most amazing memory I had ever encountered,” says Jane, who writes: “This is a biography of a child, taken from the memory of that child grown up. I can only assume that we stopped the interviews, stopped the book, stopped the marriage, at exactly the right moment. Stan and I worked together a lot in his medium; this time, we worked together in my medium.”
From the Preface by Jane Wodening
“In the end,” writes Tony Pipolo in the afterword, “[Jane] created a masterly fiction about a fiction that reveals undeniable truths, assuming an autobiographical posture at once commanding and equivocal, a chronicle of semi-Dickensian misery offset by plainspoken observations about an American childhood bearing the mark of its author’s writing style, demonstrated in books written during and after her life with Stan Brakhage.” Brakhage’s Childhood is a remarkable achievement conceptually, intellectually and aesthetically, and provides crucial insight into the early life of one of America’s most inspired and complex experimental filmmakers.
From the Afterword by Tony Pipolo, film critic and psychiatrist
“Jane Wodening has given the nascent field of Brakhage studies a Rosetta Stone and a canonical text. Channeling her ex-husband (which is to say, taking him as a male muse) in this first-person account of his convoluted, Depression-era early life, she has produced a beautifully crafted analogue or prequel to Scenes From Under Childhood. Brakhage’s movie memories are crucial as are his memories of singing hosannas in an Episcopal church. The notion that, as an adopted child, he imagined that he might have been fathered by Thomas Wolfe, complete with circumstantial evidence, is material for a dissertation in itself. ‘We forget of what great intellectual accomplishments and of what complicated emotions a child of four years is capable,’ Freud wrote in The Psychopathology of Everyday Life. Brakhage’s Childhood helps remind us.
J. Hoberman, film critic and journalist
”Better than Thomas Wolfe.”
Since Nick has wonderfully provided this drawbridge to you through your cc’d email so I will hastily express my appreciation directly to you for dedicating yourself to the difficult labor of providing us with your book – Brakhage’s Childhood.
Nick says I loved it! In as much as I opened my heart to it and it filled my heart and tore at it, yes let’s use the word love. It turned me inside out. I don’t believe I will look at Brakhage’s films again without remembering the embattled child. I have spent much time excavating my childhood there are so many keys and mysteries there. The childhood you relate is so utterly different in character from mine. The perils, disruptions the fantasies and defenses. The events differ greatly from what I experienced but somehow the emotional terrain the place the fabric within that time of life of such tender subjective perceptions is familiar and often universal. I think this stands as one of the great books on childhood no matter the properties of memory and embellishment and you have made it so. Your writing and shaping have made this a book that is painfully vivid. It is different than the characteristic writing or storytelling style that belonged to Stan. It is less encumbered with compound associations, interjections. Your rendition seems more elegant, focused and direct, appreciative of delicate balances that honor the details with a clarity that makes it possible for the reader to have a full experience.
Child is the father of the man. Our Adolescence seems the crucible the rupture that cripples and saves and propels us, the shifting of inner contents the great quake and reassembly. Other quakes follow But the child in us remains. I think every age survives inside us, age 2 4 5 11 14 17 25 30 40 and on and on and in between. These all live together in conversation through golden and red threads frayed or intact and in isolated geological like layers and fused, mixed sediments.
It must have been hard to pick up this work again and to have followed through. Thank you so much.
It was very nice to glimpse you in New York and to see and hear Rarc reading. He approached me and we had a a brief introductory conversation and he encouraged me so that I troubled you to sign my copy.
I wish you happiness in all things.
Publisher: Granary Books
Introduction by: P. Adams Sitney
Afterword by: Tony Pipolo
A volume of short stories by beloved mountain storyteller Jane Wodening, author of Lump Gulch Tales and Living Up There. 12 new, previously unpublished stories, plus 45 previously published, including several from Lump Gulch Tales, now out of print. Stories of nature, mountain living, growing up and growing old.
Jeff Smith, MMAC
“I’ve made it a point of reading at least one (but usually two) of the stories in Jane’s book every day, picking them out randomly as I go along, and have been enjoying them immensely. I envy the ease with which she tells her stories; she has a fluid style, there’s not a false note in the batch.”
Ray Grasse, author of The Waking Dream, and Signs of the Times
“More than the story, what stays with me is the sensitivity that Jane brings to her surroundings and individual beings in them. Just being with them, looking, listening so carefully that she goes deeply into them, then she perceives that they are speaking to her — and she tells us what they say.”
Don Yannacito, film studies, CU Boulder
Paperback: 308 pages
Publisher: Sockwood Press (2014)
A memoir of time lived mostly at 10,000 feet in the Colorado Rocky Mountains in a home-made cabin.
There is also an audio copy of this book read by the author (see below)
“Reality was not invented by humans.”
– Jane Wodening
“What I find so rare and immediate in this journal is the self-grown quality of the knowledge…”
– Reed Bye, from the Foreword
“Living Up There” is a sensational book, beautifully written and massive in scope, and thinking.”
— Brian Edward Price
“I keep reading parts over again because I don’t want to finish it. It’a a world I delight to be inhabiting.”
– Sally Dixon
“It was as moving, thoughtful, thought-producing, tearful in places, high-peaked, caring, respectful and lovely as it was beautiful.”
– Tim Willoughby
“When I had to put it down, I couldn’t wait to pick it up again.”
– Betsey Hassrick
“Living Up There” is so penetrating. Jane is a master of the long personal letter in book form. This city-kid is awed by her recognition of the micro-lives of nature, so many aspects, flavors, uncanny apprehensions unknown to me.”
— Ken Jacobs
“On one hand, I want to be a little jealous of the hermit’s life but on the other I realize that it’s an inside job all the way; that a parallel book could be written about my family life in NYC; it all comes down to the writer.”
– Steve Clay
“This book has an ability to put a face on growing things that one watches battling the odds of survival.”
— Barbara Lawlor, The Mountain-Ear
A collection of Jane Wodening’s dreams and fantasies while traveling in Egypt.
“This little volume is profound and funny, mischievous and lyrical. It packs a wallop. Jane is endowed with what used to be called “the sight;” she’s got the shaman’s touch; she knows ritual; she’s friends with irony.”
– Jennifer Heath, from the Introduction
Paperback: 70 pages
Introduction by: Jennifer Heath
Publisher: Baksun Books (May 6, 2013)
“Her stories are about bearings and footing. With the most elemental of elements — water, tracks in sand, hopefully shade, birds in the bushes, ants and even glimmerings of ant-law — we move simply, steadily, from fire-pit to fire-pit.”
– Merrill Gilfillan, from the Introduction
“Wodening’s prose is familiar, clean, unassuming; while she moves through the daily activities of her life, all the while weaving another level of the story – the expansive sense of a universal activity.”
– John Kellow
Paperback: 113 pages
Introduction by: Merrill Gilfillan
Publisher: Baksun/Grackle Books of Colorado (January 1, 2000)
“Her way might be defined as expanded intimacy. Closeness and its aches, ripping and transpiring in animals, compost, wind, clouds, as well as people.”
– Jack Collom, from the Introduction
“She trotted up to the fence and looked at me with that look, like when the music starts up and people look at each other and then get up to dance, kind of a bright, questioning, energetic look, so then we were off, skipping and prancing and bowing and turning this way and that, watching each other, all down the fence, back and forth. It was complicated by the difference in the number of legs each of us had, but what we did about that, we made up steps and manners, each taking into account what the other couldn’t do. For instance, I couldn’t run fast and she couldn’t pick up the two-step. We kept a close eye on each other through the fence and held our heads high mostly except when we were doing a dip, and there was quite a bit of skipping and hopping and pirouetting. It was really going good and spectators were gathering around from all over the Zoo, but I didn’t care. One mustn’t get self-conscious and ruin a rare and magical thing.”
– from The Inside Story by Jane Wodening
Paperback: 108 pages
Publisher: Rodent Press; First edition. edition (January 1, 1996)
Publisher: Baksun Books, Boulder CO (1998)
Introduction by: Jack Collom
Tales of Jane Wodening’s experiences raising her family in the Rockies and her relationships with birds and animals. Her descriptions are filled with affection, insight, and the respect of long acquaintance. The poet Bobbie Louise Hawkins says: “This book is magic.”
“Mountain people tend to be tough, daring, determined, and self-motivated. It’s unclear how this happens. It’s just there in daily living. One has to go out in a blizzard to get more firewood, or snowshoe to the store for supplies, or clamber up and down steep hillsides to get places. On mountain terrain, if someone doesn’t care to walk, then it’s time to move to the city and take a bus.”
– Jane Wodening
“I stopped crying and looked at her face and there it was. Her face, the expression, seemed to contain all of life, birth and death, dance and decay, flying and crawling. But it went beyond life. It was light and darkness. It was time relentless and the caught and savored instant. It held the idea of the lightest speck of dust at the top of the atmosphere and the heaviest jewel melted in magnum at the center of the earth. She seemed to be observing all of this with joyous fascination and passing it on to me effortlessly by simply allowing her face to reflect what she observed. What she showed me was life unseparated from death, from earth, life as energy, energy as the natural essence of being matter. She seemed to be observing all at once the whole universe, every speck, in some way or another bursting with this energy. Her death was only the end of one story.”
– from Mountain Woman Tails by Jane Wodening
Published by Baksun/Grackle Books of Colorado
“Jane Wodening’s stories [in this book] are sad and grotesque and powerful. Kurosawa said, ‘To be an artist means never having to avert one’s eyes.’ Jane Wodening doesn’t blink.”
– From the Preface by Lucia Berlin
“Poets ‘Sing of human unsuccess / in a rapture of distress.’ – W.H. Auden. The ‘unsuccess’ of Jane Wodening’s characters is not always human. The marvelous world of the Book of Gargoyles, like the marvelous world we normally live in but don’t pay much attention to, has room for a stoic beetle and for swimming chickens. Coyotes listen to dying prey and white cats solemnly observe burials.
“But most of this rapture is human and it is indeed sung. These stories are not so much narrated as voiced. Artists, cowboys, mothers, landladies, even perhaps the author–all tell their stories, each in his own impeccably individualized words and rhythms. It is the songs that move us. Often, the point is the telling, itself, the circling re-circling of word and rhythm that adds to a layer for truth that went before, or strips it bare… These characters still commonly explain their lives in language more apt than they know, in words that resonate beyond their world.
A writer in the book asks, ‘If it can’t be put into words, did anything happen?’ A great deal happens in the Book of Gargoyles. Jane Wodening has the words.”
– Phil Rowe
Paperback: 89 pages
Publisher: Baksun/Grackle Books, Boulder CO (January 1, 1999)
Preface by: Lucia Berlin
Issued as Granary Books’ New Year’s greeting. The reader first approaches this story as a single paragraph. The book then extends to reveal the paragraph as a diagrammed sentence, folding out to twenty-six inches. Designed and printed letterpress by Philip Gallo at The Hermetic Press. Hand-sewn in paper wrappers at the Campbell-Logan Bindery.
Edition size: 300.
“Living alone in the car or in the cabin, my closest companions were sun and moon. In the evenings, I would talk with Moon, as if he were a friend of mine. And finally I collected these “talks” if only to see what topics came to mind on such occasions. Moon can be good company.”
– Jane Wodening
Moon Tree (from Moon Songs)
Yesterday, Moon, I looked east and over on that barren ridge was a light like someone’s yard light. “Nobody could be over there,” I thought. “It must be a planet.” Then a slender White Tree grew fast like in a mad dream of ancient days, pierced the sky then sailed up into it, saying, with open arms, “Here comes the sun!” And I watched you rise higher, turn rosy and then vanish in all that blue.
After that, I didn’t expect to see you this morning, but then, down the ridge from where you appeared yesterday, there you were, a thin thin white line, not really a light at all, a thin line of white in the early dawn.
Second edition: published by Invisible Books, London, UK http://www.invisiblebooks.co.uk
Maya Deren, Joseph Cornell, Charles Olson: all of these artists discovered and established new means for expressing their experience through forms imbued with the original powers of myth, history, and ritual. In this, her first book, Jane Brakhage (now Jane Wodening) explored the lives of these three American heroes with sensitivity, intelligence, and compassion. Drawing from the traditions of King Arthur’s Court, she arrives at a vivid style all her own in these contemporary legends of boldness and creativity.
Like Aubrey’s Brief Lives set down by Gertrude Stein, these legends of Maya Deren, Joseph Cornell and Charles Olson have the vivid force of anecdote, occupying the space between what is remembered and what actually happened.
‘”Tell me about them”, like they say, is an invitation to make in some way substantial the people who aren’t there and may well never be there again at all…No better stories will be told than these, because no one else as she was there to tell them.’
– from the preface by Robert Creeley
“Jane Wodening’s reconstruction of well-known characters is magic realism of the most delightful kind.”
– Ed Dorn
“…you feel a real imaginative accuracy at work”
– Charles Tomlinson PN Review
“Only wished there was more of it.”
– David Miller
Paperback: 48 pages
Preface by: Robert Creeley
Publisher: First edition: published by Granary Books, New York, NY (1988) – limited edition/out of print
Second edition: published by Invisible Books, London, UK (1993)
OUT OF PRINT
Knut Neversetter (from Lump Gulch Tails)
You know that tin house standing down by Mahaffie’s bridge? There was a young man lived down there, his name was Knut Neversetter. He had a snug little log cabin, he was a real nice fellow but crazy as a tick. It came into his head that what he wanted more than anything else was a tin house. The problem with that was that although he owned the house he didn’t own the land it was sitting on, I guess that’s called Squatter’s Rights. He went to the county officials and asked them if he couldn’t build another house and they told him no, he couldn’t, he’d better be content with the cabin he had.
Knut stewed about that quite a bit and then he went back to the officials and said, how about if he added on a room of tin to his cabin and again they said no, he couldn’t do that either.
So he came back and he was miserable. You could see him there, sitting on his front stoop, whittling, and the Summer was about gone and he hadn’t got any wood brought in for Winter.
Then he got another idea, he went back to those officials and he asked them if it would be all right if he simply covered the cabin he had with tin and they said sure, he could do that but he couldn’t make it any bigger or add anything.
It was then that there was a big change in Knut Neversetter. He gave over his whittling and he was hauling tin around and whistling and working on his cabin, covering it top to bottom with tin. By the time the aspens dropped their leaves, Knut’s cabin was finished and it gleamed and glittered in the sun as the snow started to pile up around it and that Winter he kept himself warm burning the log cabin in the stove.
Paperback: 88 pages
Publisher: Baksun Books (January 1, 1993)