This text takes as its starting point Laurie Ricou’s The Arbutus/Madrone Files (2002) in order to recount both a personal and professional return to the Pacific Northwest. In part a quest for today’s “Cascadia” and for answers to questions about cross-border regions and the emergence of a shared regional consciousness, what follows is also a Ricou-inspired dialogue with Pacific Northwest writers and writing, their triumphs and their shadows (Dillard, Doig, Guterson, Keeble, Kishkan, Lynch, Marlatt). Honouring Ricou’s unique and invaluable contribution to Canadian letters has meant following his lead, engaging in creative cross-bordering, pursuing the interdependence of coastal and interior ecologies and continually learning from his profound sense of place.
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