The Tree of Meaning: Language, Mind and Ecology


by Robert Bringhurst
Counterpoint, 2007

The Tree of Meaning presents thirteen superb and surprising lectures on language,  storytelling, mythology, comparative literature, humanity, and the breadth of oral and literate culture.

Bringhurst’s “ecological linguistics” includes studies of Native American art and illuminating essays about Haida culture, the process of translation, and the relationship between being and language. A companion collection of speeches and lectures by Bringhurst, Everywhere Being Is Dancing: TwentyPieces of Thinking, is also highly recommended.

Robert Bringhurst is a poet, translator, linguist, and typographer. He has published more than a dozen books of poetry, and his manual The Elements of Typographic Style has become one of the most influential contemporary texts on typographic design. He has worked for many years with Native American texts. He lives on Quadra Island off British Columbia.

Island World: A History of Hawai‘i and the United States

okihiro-islandBy Gary Y. Okihiro
University of California Press, 2008

In Island World, Gary Y. Okihiro reconsiders the traditional idea that the United States acts upon and dominates Hawai‘i without the Islands in turn acting upon the mainland U.S. Using geology, folklore, music, cultural commentary, and history, Okihiro reveals Hawaiians fighting in the Civil War, sailing on nineteenth-century New England ships, and living in pre-gold rush California. He points to Hawai‘i’s lingering effect on twentieth-century American culture—from surfboards, hula, sports, and films, to art, imagination, and racial perspectives—even as the islands themselves succumb slowly to the continental United States. This book not only revises the way we think about islands, oceans, and continents, but also recasts the way we write about place and history.(Publisher’s description)

Gary Y. Okihiro is Professor of International and Public Affairs and Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University. His recent works include Common Ground: Reimagining American History.