Literature and Southwest

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Literary Pilgrims: The Santa Fe and Taos Writers' Colonies, 1917-1950

Lynn Cline

Fleeing a post-World War I environment marred by materialism, mechanization, and corporate corruption, American writers flocked to the inspirational landscapes of northern New Mexico. These writers discovered new muses in the Southwest. Newcomers were buoyed by the ancient traditions of the Pueblo, Navajo, and Hopi cultures and by the kinship of deeply rooted Hispanic communities. Of New Mexico, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Paul Horgan wrote, "The earth seems near to the heavens." Indeed, New Mexico was the place of poetry.

Thanks to a thriving art market, newcomers to Santa Fe and Taos were (and still are) famous for the legacy of their art colonies. However, the history of the literary scene has not received the attention shown the artists. Students of literature might recognize names like D. H. Lawrence, Mabel Dodge Luhan, and Mary Austin, but what about Haniel Long or Raymond Otis?

Lynn Cline illuminates both the well- and lesser-known literary figures of New Mexico, whose collaborative efforts created enduring literary colonies. These writers took up similar themes, jointly promoted their works, and founded regional arts advocacy groups. Cline discusses sixteen writers and concludes with walking and driving tours of Santa Fe and Taos, where interested readers can visit former homes, gathering places, and public sites talked about in the book.

Included in Literary Pilgrims:
Mary Austin
Witter Bynner
Willa Cather
Fray AngĂ©lico Chávez
Erna and Harvey Fergusson
Alice Corbin Henderson
Paul Horgan
Spud Johnson
Oliver La Farge
D. H. Lawrence
Haniel Long
Mabel Dodge Luhan
Raymond Otis
Lynn Riggs
Frank Waters


Lynn Cline of Santa Fe is the author of Romantic Days and Nights in Santa Fe. She has been an editor and staff writer for the Santa Fe New Mexican, Pasatiempo, and the Santa Fean magazine.


"...a must-read volume for aficionados of northern New Mexico art and literature."


Taos Horse Fly

"...a superlative work of literary history."


Inside/Outside Magazine

" excellent introduction to literary New Mexico, an eminently readable work that belongs on the shelves of general readers and scholars alike."


Bloomsbury Review

Literary Pilgrims shines a bright light on the colorful past, bringing these pilgrims and their work, once again, to life.


Roundup Magazine

"This engaging publication provides an illuminating look at the flourishing literary scene in northern New Mexico from the early- to mid-20th century."


New Mexico Magazine

"Anyone looking for a concise, reliable, and entertaining introduction to the literary landscape of northern New Mexico will enjoy (this book)."


Journal of Arizona History

6 x 9 in. 200 pages 31 halftones, 2 maps